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Did Trump Indeed Go “Coup Coup”?

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COMMENT: In a pre­vi­ous post, we chron­i­cled the abrupt changes Trump made in the Defense Depart­ment fol­low­ing his defeat.

Unnamed offi­cials in NATO coun­tries have opined that the events of 1/6/2021 were a coup attempt by Trump’s forces.

In addi­tion, there is an ongo­ing inves­ti­ga­tion of an active duty PSYOP offi­cer who oper­at­ed under the Spe­cial Forces com­mand struc­ture for lead­ing a con­tin­gent of 100 strong to the “ral­ly” on 1/6/2021.

As vet­er­an listeners/readers will no doubt real­ize, these events are to be seen against the back­ground of numer­ous pro­grams and posts high­light­ing Spe­cial­ized Knowl­edge and Abil­i­ties and Ser­pen­t’s Walk

1. “Some among America’s mil­i­tary allies believe Trump delib­er­ate­ly attempt­ed a coup and may have had help from fed­er­al law-enforce­ment offi­cials” by Mitch Prothero; Busi­ness Insid­er; 01/07/2021

* Mul­ti­ple Euro­pean secu­ri­ty offi­cials told Insid­er that Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump appeared to have tac­it sup­port among US fed­er­al agen­cies respon­si­ble for secur­ing the Capi­tol com­plex in Wednesday’s coup attempt.
* Insid­er is report­ing this infor­ma­tion because it illus­trates the seri­ous reper­cus­sions of Wednesday’s events: Even if they are mis­tak­en, some among America’s inter­na­tion­al mil­i­tary allies are now will­ing to give cre­dence to the idea that Trump delib­er­ate­ly tried to vio­lent­ly over­turn an elec­tion and had help from some fed­er­al law-enforce­ment agents.
* “We train along­side the US fed­er­al law enforce­ment to han­dle these very mat­ters, and it’s obvi­ous that large parts of any suc­cess­ful plan were just ignored,” one source told us.

The sup­port­ers of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump who stormed the Capi­tol on Wednes­day to stop the rat­i­fi­ca­tion of Pres­i­dent-elect Joe Biden’s elec­tion vic­to­ry were attempt­ing a vio­lent coup that mul­ti­ple Euro­pean secu­ri­ty offi­cials said appeared to have at least tac­it sup­port from aspects of the US fed­er­al agen­cies respon­si­ble for secur­ing the Capi­tol com­plex.

Insid­er spoke with three offi­cials on Thurs­day morn­ing: a French police offi­cial respon­si­ble for pub­lic secu­ri­ty in a key sec­tion of cen­tral Paris, and two intel­li­gence offi­cials from NATO coun­tries who direct­ly work in coun­tert­er­ror­ism and coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence oper­a­tions involv­ing the US, ter­ror­ism, and Rus­sia.

They said the cir­cum­stan­tial evi­dence avail­able point­ed to what would be open­ly called a coup attempt in any oth­er nation. None were will­ing to speak on the record because of the dire nature of the sub­ject.

While they did not fur­nish evi­dence that fed­er­al agency offi­cials facil­i­tat­ed the chaos, Insid­er is report­ing this infor­ma­tion because it illus­trates the scale and seri­ous­ness of Wednesday’s events: America’s inter­na­tion­al mil­i­tary and secu­ri­ty allies are now will­ing to give seri­ous cre­dence to the idea that Trump delib­er­ate­ly tried to vio­lent­ly over­turn an elec­tion and that some fed­er­al law-enforce­ment agents — by omis­sion or oth­er­wise — facil­i­tat­ed the attempt.

‘Today I am brief­ing my gov­ern­ment that we believe with a rea­son­able lev­el of cer­tain­ty that Don­ald Trump attempt­ed a coup’

One NATO source set the stage, using terms more com­mon­ly used to describe unrest in devel­op­ing coun­tries.

“The defeat­ed pres­i­dent gives a speech to a group of sup­port­ers where he tells them he was robbed of the elec­tion, denounces his own administration’s mem­bers and par­ty as trai­tors, and tells his sup­port­ers to storm the build­ing where the vot­ing is being held,” the NATO intel­li­gence offi­cial said.

“The sup­port­ers, many dressed in mil­i­tary attire and wav­ing rev­o­lu­tion­ary-style flags, then storm the build­ing where the fed­er­al law-enforce­ment agen­cies con­trolled by the cur­rent pres­i­dent do not estab­lish a secu­ri­ty cor­don, and the pro­test­ers quick­ly over­whelm the last line of police.

“The pres­i­dent then makes a pub­lic state­ment to the sup­port­ers attack­ing the Capi­tol that he loves them but doesn’t real­ly tell them to stop,” the offi­cial said. “Today I am brief­ing my gov­ern­ment that we believe with a rea­son­able lev­el of cer­tain­ty that Don­ald Trump attempt­ed a coup that failed when the sys­tem did not buck­le.

“I can’t believe this hap­pened.”

A law-enforce­ment offi­cial who trains with US forces believes some­one inter­fered with the prop­er deploy­ment of offi­cers around Con­gress

The French police offi­cial said they believed that an inves­ti­ga­tion would find that some­one inter­fered with the deploy­ment of addi­tion­al fed­er­al law-enforce­ment offi­cials on the perime­ter of the Capi­tol com­plex; the offi­cial has direct knowl­edge of the prop­er pro­ce­dures for secu­ri­ty of the facil­i­ty.

The secu­ri­ty of Con­gress is entrust­ed to the US Capi­tol Police, a fed­er­al agency that answers to Con­gress.

It is rou­tine for the Capi­tol Police to coor­di­nate with the fed­er­al Secret Ser­vice and the Park Police and local police in Wash­ing­ton, DC, before large demon­stra­tions. The Nation­al Guard, com­mand­ed by the Depart­ment of Defense, is often on stand­by too.

On Wednes­day, how­ev­er, that coor­di­na­tion was late or absent.

‘It’s obvi­ous that large parts of any suc­cess­ful plan were just ignored’

“You can­not tell me I don’t know what they should have done. I can fly to Wash­ing­ton tomor­row and do that job, just as any police offi­cial in Wash­ing­ton can fly to Paris and do mine,” the offi­cial said. The offi­cial directs pub­lic secu­ri­ty in a cen­tral Paris police dis­trict filled with gov­ern­ment build­ings and tourist sites.

“These are not sub­tle prin­ci­ples” for man­ag­ing demon­stra­tions, “and they trans­fer to every sit­u­a­tion,” the offi­cial said. “This is why we train along­side the US fed­er­al law enforce­ment to han­dle these very mat­ters, and it’s obvi­ous that large parts of any suc­cess­ful plan were just ignored.”

The Nation­al Guard, which was deployed heav­i­ly to quell the Black Lives Mat­ter protests in 2020, did not show up to assist the police until two hours after the action start­ed on Wednes­day, accord­ing to The Asso­ci­at­ed Press.

Video shows police doing noth­ing as riot­ers access the build­ing

One video appeared to show some police offi­cers open­ing a bar­ri­er to allow a group of pro­test­ers to get clos­er to the Capi­tol dome. Anoth­er video showed a police offi­cer allow­ing a riot­er to take a self­ie with him inside the Capi­tol while pro­test­ers milled around the build­ing unchecked.

Kim Dine, who was the chief of the Capi­tol Police from 2012 to 2016, told The Wash­ing­ton Post that he was sur­prised that the Capi­tol Police allowed demon­stra­tors on the steps of the Capi­tol. He said he was also mys­ti­fied that few riot­ers were arrest­ed on the spot.

Lar­ry Schae­fer, who worked for the Capi­tol Police for more than 30 years, told ProP­ub­li­ca some­thing sim­i­lar: “We have a planned, known demon­stra­tion that has a propen­si­ty for vio­lence in the past and threats to car­ry weapons — why would you not pre­pare your­self as we have done in the past?”

Sys­tem­at­ic fail­ures

The French police offi­cial detailed mul­ti­ple laps­es they believe were sys­tem­at­ic:

1. Large crowds of pro­test­ers need­ed to be man­aged far ear­li­er by the police, who instead con­trolled a scene at the first demon­stra­tion Trump addressed, then ignored the crowd as it streamed toward the Capi­tol.
2. “It should have been sur­round­ed, man­aged, and direct­ed imme­di­ate­ly, and that pres­sure nev­er released.”
3. Because the crowd was not man­aged and direct­ed, the offi­cial said, the pro­test­ers were able to con­gre­gate unim­ped­ed around the Capi­tol, where the next major fail­ure took place.
4. “It is unthink­able there was not a strong police cor­don on the out­skirts of the com­plex. Fences and bar­ri­cades are use­less with­out strong police enforce­ment. This is when you start mak­ing arrests, tar­get­ing key peo­ple that appear vio­lent, any­one who attacks an offi­cer, any­one who breach­es the bar­ri­cade. You have to show that cross­ing the line will fail and end in arrest.”
5. “I can­not believe the fail­ure to estab­lish a prop­er cor­don was a mis­take. These are very skilled police offi­cials, but they are fed­er­al, and that means they ulti­mate­ly report to the pres­i­dent. This needs to be inves­ti­gat­ed.”
6. “When the crowd reached the steps of the build­ing, the sit­u­a­tion was over. The police are there to pro­tect the build­ing from ter­ror­ist attacks and crime, not a bat­tal­ion of infantry. That had to be man­aged from hun­dreds of meters away unless the police were will­ing to com­plete­ly open fire, and I can respect why they were not.”

‘Thank God it didn’t work, because I can’t imag­ine how hard it would be to sanc­tion the US finan­cial sys­tem’

The third offi­cial, who works in coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence for a NATO mem­ber, agreed that the sit­u­a­tion could only be seen as a coup attempt, no mat­ter how poor­ly con­sid­ered and like­ly to fail, and said its impli­ca­tions might be too huge to imme­di­ate­ly fath­om.

“Thank God it didn’t work, because I can’t imag­ine how hard it would be to sanc­tion the US finan­cial sys­tem,” the offi­cial said. By sanc­tions, he means the impo­si­tion of the diplo­mat­ic, mil­i­tary, and trade block­ages that demo­c­ra­t­ic nations usu­al­ly reserve for dic­ta­tor­ships. . . .

2. “Army PSYOP Offi­cer Resigned Com­mis­sion Pri­or to Lead­ing Group to DC Protests” by Kyle Rempfer; Army Times; 1/11/2021.

An Army psy­cho­log­i­cal oper­a­tions offi­cer who led a group dur­ing the Jan. 6 ral­ly in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., that cul­mi­nat­ed in a dead­ly mob breach­ing the U.S. Capi­tol had resigned her com­mis­sion sev­er­al months pri­or to the event, accord­ing to a defense offi­cial famil­iar with the sit­u­a­tion.

Capt. Emi­ly Rainey, 30, was still on active duty dur­ing last week’s protests. How­ev­er, she had already been hand­ed down an adverse admin­is­tra­tive action for a sep­a­rate inci­dent and resigned her com­mis­sion, the offi­cial told Army Times.

Rainey’s involve­ment in the ral­ly is cur­rent­ly under inves­ti­ga­tion by 1st Spe­cial Forces Com­mand, which over­sees her PSYOP unit . . . .

. . . . Dur­ing last week’s events in D.C., Rainey led rough­ly 100 mem­bers of a group called Moore Coun­ty Cit­i­zens for Free­dom to the region. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump spoke at the ral­ly there and repeat­ed false claims that the 2020 elec­tion had been rigged against him.

Moore Coun­ty Cit­i­zens for Free­dom describes itself on its Face­book page as a non­par­ti­san net­work pro­mot­ing con­ser­v­a­tive val­ues through edu­ca­tion and activism.

Rainey told the Asso­ci­at­ed Press that her group and most peo­ple who trav­eled to Wash­ing­ton “are peace-lov­ing, law-abid­ing peo­ple who were doing noth­ing but demon­strat­ing our First Amend­ment rights.” . . . .

Discussion

26 comments for “Did Trump Indeed Go “Coup Coup”?”

  1. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/law-enforcement-military-probing-whether-members-took-part-capitol-riot-n1253801

    Law enforce­ment and the mil­i­tary prob­ing whether mem­bers took part in Capi­tol riot
    Some active-duty and retired mil­i­tary ser­vice mem­bers and law enforce­ment offi­cers are sus­pect­ed of hav­ing par­tic­i­pat­ed in the protest and the ensu­ing riot.

    NBC News
    Jan. 12, 2021, 7:59 PM EST
    By Janelle Grif­fith and Phil McCaus­land
    For­mer and cur­rent mem­bers of law enforce­ment agen­cies and the mil­i­tary appear to have par­tic­i­pat­ed in last week’s chaos in Wash­ing­ton, alarm­ing law­mak­ers on Capi­tol Hill and Amer­i­cans nation­wide as each day brings new video and infor­ma­tion about the riot and the riot­ers.

    Inves­ti­ga­tions by law enforce­ment agen­cies and news orga­ni­za­tions, along with a series of arrests, have exposed a widen­ing issue of domes­tic extrem­ism among the ranks of those who are meant to pro­tect Amer­i­cans.

    On Mon­day, even the U.S. Capi­tol Police announced that the agency had sus­pend­ed “sev­er­al” of its own and will inves­ti­gate at least 10 offi­cers for their actions.

    Police depart­ments in New York City, Seat­tle and Philadel­phia, as well as small­er agen­cies across the coun­try, are inves­ti­gat­ing whether their offi­cers par­tic­i­pat­ed in the pro-Trump riot, which has been tied to the deaths of five peo­ple, includ­ing a Capi­tol Police offi­cer. The inves­ti­ga­tions are based on tips, includ­ing social media posts.

    The Army said it was inves­ti­gat­ing a psy­cho­log­i­cal oper­a­tions offi­cer who led 100 Trump sup­port­ers from North Car­oli­na to Wash­ing­ton. The FBI arrest­ed a retired Air Force lieu­tenant colonel in Texas after he breached the Sen­ate cham­ber wear­ing tac­ti­cal gear and car­ry­ing zip-tie hand­cuffs known as flex cuffs. There are calls for a Penn­syl­va­nia state leg­is­la­tor, who is a retired Army colonel and taught at the Army War Col­lege for five years, to resign after he and his wife attend­ed Wednes­day’s event. Ash­li Bab­bitt, 33, the QAnon sup­port­er who was shot and killed by Capi­tol Police, was a 14-year Air Force vet­er­an.

    The Depart­ment of Jus­tice is report­ed­ly inves­ti­gat­ing 25 mem­bers of the ser­vice, though it is unclear whether they are retired or active in the mil­i­tary ranks.

    Sen. Tam­my Duck­worth, D‑Ill., said in a let­ter to Act­ing Defense Sec­re­tary Christo­pher Miller that the Pen­ta­gon need­ed to open an inves­ti­ga­tion to deter­mine if retired or cur­rent mem­bers of the mil­i­tary “engaged in insur­rec­tion against the author­i­ty of the Unit­ed States, or par­tic­i­pat­ed in a sedi­tious con­spir­a­cy that used force to: oppose the author­i­ty of the Unit­ed States; pre­vent, hin­der and delay the exe­cu­tion of the Elec­toral Count Act; and unlaw­ful­ly seize, take or pos­sess prop­er­ty of the Unit­ed States.”

    That domes­tic extrem­ist groups may have tar­get­ed for recruit­ment mem­bers of law enforce­ment agen­cies and the mil­i­tary as well as vet­er­ans is unsur­pris­ing to Eliz­a­beth Neu­mann, who was the assis­tant sec­re­tary for threat pre­ven­tion and secu­ri­ty pol­i­cy at the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty until she resigned in April.

    Neu­mann said that the mil­i­tary and law enforce­ment agen­cies have long known that active-duty recruit­ment by the far right was an issue but that they have done lit­tle to address it. The prob­lem was fur­ther depri­or­i­tized when Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump entered the White House, she said.

    “It’s a move­ment,” said Neu­mann, who said right-wing extrem­ism has devel­oped around sup­port for Trump and his dog whis­tles. “A lot of them are very decen­tral­ized, but there’s a sophis­ti­ca­tion in who and how they groom peo­ple and how they recruit peo­ple and where they try to encour­age peo­ple to go for their longer-term aims.

    “There’s no doubt in my mind that we have a prob­lem of white suprema­cy and extrem­ism in law enforce­ment and the mil­i­tary,” she said.

    Con­gres­sion­al efforts to inves­ti­gate mem­bers of the mil­i­tary and law enforce­ment agen­cies in the past, how­ev­er, have large­ly been stymied.

    Most recent­ly, a bill titled the Domes­tic Ter­ror Pre­ven­tion Act made its way through the House, although it nev­er came to a vote. Among oth­er pro­vi­sions, it would have required the sec­re­tary of home­land secu­ri­ty, the attor­ney gen­er­al and the direc­tor of the FBI to file an annu­al report that assessed “the domes­tic ter­ror­ism threat posed by White suprema­cists and neo-Nazis, includ­ing White suprema­cist and neo-Nazi infil­tra­tion of Fed­er­al, State, and local law enforce­ment agen­cies and the uni­formed ser­vices.”

    The Sen­ate nev­er con­sid­ered the leg­is­la­tion after it was intro­duced by Sen. Dick Durbin, D‑Ill., with 13 Demo­c­ra­t­ic co-spon­sors. Durbin’s office did­n’t respond to a request for com­ment.

    A for­mer House staffer who worked on the leg­is­la­tion said Democ­rats and Repub­li­cans strug­gled to sup­port the bil­l’s pro­vi­sion to require a domes­tic ter­ror­ism assess­ment of extrem­ist groups’ poten­tial infil­tra­tion of law enforce­ment agen­cies and uni­formed ser­vices.

    The mil­i­tary and law enforce­ment agen­cies were con­sid­ered a dan­ger­ous third rail.

    “Before Wednes­day, a politi­cian could­n’t even pub­licly acknowl­edge that this could be a prob­lem. Two years ago, we were just try­ing to get a report to see if these were just one-offs, because we kept see­ing grow­ing domes­tic ter­ror plots,” the staffer said about the work on the bill. “But every­body was like, ‘Dear God, whose boss is going to lose their seat over this?’ ”

    Law enforce­ment at issue
    Police depart­ments across the coun­try are inves­ti­gat­ing their own mem­bers’ involve­ment in the Capi­tol riot.

    The mob showed up at Trump’s behest to march on Wash­ing­ton in sup­port of his false claim that the Novem­ber elec­tion was stolen and to stop law­mak­ers from con­firm­ing Pres­i­dent-elect Joe Biden’s vic­to­ry.

    New York City’s may­or and police com­mis­sion­er have said they intend to fire any­one who stormed the Capi­tol.

    “This is a group of peo­ple who attacked our Con­gress, attacked it to dis­rupt the pres­i­den­tial vote count,” May­or Bill de Bla­sio said. “Any­one who par­tic­i­pat­ed in that, any­one who stormed that build­ing try­ing to dis­rupt the work­ings of gov­ern­ment, should not be allowed to serve in gov­ern­ment.”

    Police Com­mis­sion­er Der­mot Shea said Mon­day on the NY1 news chan­nel that so far, one New York police offi­cer is alleged to have par­tic­i­pat­ed in the attack and that “any­one com­mit­ting crimes cer­tain­ly would have a very short shelf life with the NYPD.”

    Shea said the offi­cer’s name was­n’t being released “because we don’t know if it’s true or not.”

    Over the week­end, the Philadel­phia Police Depart­ment said it was made aware of social media posts that alleged that one of its detec­tives “may have been in atten­dance at the events.”

    A police spokesman, Sgt. Eric Gripp, said an inter­nal affairs inves­ti­ga­tion had been launched to deter­mine whether any of the depart­men­t’s poli­cies “were vio­lat­ed by the detec­tive, and if they par­tic­i­pat­ed in any ille­gal activ­i­ties while in atten­dance.”

    Philadel­phia police declined Mon­day to iden­ti­fy the detec­tive, cit­ing the inter­nal inves­ti­ga­tion. Gripp said the detec­tive’s assign­ment has been changed pend­ing the out­come.

    The Philadel­phia Inquir­er, cit­ing sources with­in the police depart­ment, iden­ti­fied the offi­cer as Detec­tive Jen­nifer Gug­ger, a mem­ber of the Recruit Back­ground Inves­ti­ga­tions Unit. Gug­ger could­n’t be reached for com­ment at num­bers list­ed for her.

    The police depart­ment in the town of Rocky Mount, Vir­ginia, said in a state­ment Sun­day that it was aware that “two off-duty offi­cers were present at an event in Wash­ing­ton, D.C. on Wednes­day.”

    Rocky Mount police said that they had noti­fied fed­er­al author­i­ties and that the offi­cers are on admin­is­tra­tive leave pend­ing review.

    “The Town of Rocky Mount ful­ly sup­ports all law­ful expres­sions of free­dom of speech and assem­bly by its employ­ees but does not con­done the unlaw­ful acts that occurred that day,” the state­ment said.

    Rocky Mount police did­n’t return an emailed request for com­ment. NBC affil­i­ate WSLS of Roanoke, Vir­ginia, iden­ti­fied the offi­cers through social media posts as Thomas Robert­son and Jacob Frack­er, nei­ther of whom could be reached for com­ment.

    Posted by Mary Benton | January 14, 2021, 6:53 pm
  2. If Trump actu­al­ly attempt­ed a coup it would have been far bet­ter orga­nized since every­thing he has done with crowds has always been done effi­cient­ly.

    Remem­ber the Reich­stag fire !

    Posted by Robert Severin | January 14, 2021, 9:52 pm
  3. @Robert Sev­erin–

    Bull­shit.

    This is like say­ing if the Nazi Par­ty and Hitler had launched the Beer Hall Putsch (a bet­ter com­par­i­son than the Reich­stag Fire or Kristall­nacht), it would have been bet­ter orga­nized and suc­ceed­ed.

    Why do you think NATO secu­ri­ty offi­cials have said it was a coup attempt?

    Get Real,

    Dave Emory

    Posted by Dave Emory | January 15, 2021, 6:24 pm
  4. This next AP arti­cle talks about how the “riot­ers” includ­ed a well orga­nized and pre­pared group of men wear­ing olive-drab hel­mets and body armor trudged pur­pose­ful­ly up the mar­ble stairs in a sin­gle-file line, each man hold­ing the jack­et col­lar of the one ahead in a for­ma­tion, known as “Ranger File,” which is a is stan­dard U.S. mil­i­tary oper­at­ing pro­ce­dure for a com­bat team that is “stack­ing up” to breach a build­ing. They had body armor and tech­nol­o­gy such as two-way radio head­sets that were sim­i­lar to those of the very police they were con­fronting.

    Oth­ers at the ral­ly were wear­ing patch­es and insignias rep­re­sent­ing far-right mil­i­tant groups, includ­ing the Proud Boys, the Three Per­centers and var­i­ous self-styled state mili­tias.

    Par­tic­i­pants includ­ed:
    — an active-duty psy­cho­log­i­cal war­fare cap­tain from North Car­oli­na who orga­nized three bus­loads of peo­ple. A
    — - a dec­o­rat­ed Navy Seal that as a result of his par­tic­i­pa­tion was forced to resign resigned from a pro­gram that helps pre­pare poten­tial SEAL appli­cants (i.e.t to recruit and pro­gram new extrem­ists into the SEALS from the time they join.
    — “Marine vet/ boxer/ patriot/ Proud Boy.” who was with a group at the Capi­tol whose mem­bers said they would have killed “any­one they got their hands on,” includ­ing House Speak­er Nan­cy Pelosi. The wit­ness fur­ther stat­ed that mem­bers of this group said they would have killed (Vice Pres­i­dent) Mike Pence if giv­en the chance,”

    The arti­cle also men­tions that experts in home­grown extrem­ism have warned for years about efforts by far-right mil­i­tants and white-suprema­cist groups to rad­i­cal­ize and recruit peo­ple with mil­i­tary and law enforce­ment train­ing. They wore mil­i­tary-style patch­es that read “MILITIA” and “OATHKEEPER.”

    https://apnews.com/article/ex-military-cops-us-capitol-riot-a1cb17201dfddc98291edead5badc257

    Capi­tol riot­ers includ­ed high­ly trained ex-mil­i­tary and cops

    Jan­u­ary 15, 2021
    By MICHAEL BIESECKER, JAKE BLEIBERG and JAMES LAPORTA

    WASHINGTON (AP) — As Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s sup­port­ers massed out­side the Capi­tol last week and sang the nation­al anthem, a line of men wear­ing olive-drab hel­mets and body armor trudged pur­pose­ful­ly up the mar­ble stairs in a sin­gle-file line, each man hold­ing the jack­et col­lar of the one ahead.

    The for­ma­tion, known as “Ranger File,” is stan­dard oper­at­ing pro­ce­dure for a com­bat team that is “stack­ing up” to breach a build­ing — instant­ly rec­og­niz­able to any U.S. sol­dier or Marine who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. It was a chill­ing sign that many at the van­guard of the mob that stormed the seat of Amer­i­can democ­ra­cy either had mil­i­tary train­ing or were trained by those who did.

    An Asso­ci­at­ed Press review of pub­lic records, social media posts and videos shows at least 22 cur­rent or for­mer mem­bers of the U.S. mil­i­tary or law enforce­ment have been iden­ti­fied as being at or near the Capi­tol riot, with more than a dozen oth­ers under inves­ti­ga­tion but not yet named. In many cas­es, those who stormed the Capi­tol appeared to employ tac­tics, body armor and tech­nol­o­gy such as two-way radio head­sets that were sim­i­lar to those of the very police they were con­fronting.

    Experts in home­grown extrem­ism have warned for years about efforts by far-right mil­i­tants and white-suprema­cist groups to rad­i­cal­ize and recruit peo­ple with mil­i­tary and law enforce­ment train­ing, and they say the Jan. 6 insur­rec­tion that left five peo­ple dead saw some of their worst fears real­ized.

    “ISIS and al-Qai­da would drool over hav­ing some­one with the train­ing and expe­ri­ence of a U.S. mil­i­tary offi­cer,” said Michael Ger­man, a for­mer FBI agent and fel­low with the Bren­nan Cen­ter for Jus­tice at New York Uni­ver­si­ty. “These peo­ple have train­ing and capa­bil­i­ties that far exceed what any for­eign ter­ror­ist group can do. For­eign ter­ror­ist groups don’t have any mem­bers who have badges.”

    Among the most promi­nent to emerge is a retired Air Force lieu­tenant colonel and dec­o­rat­ed com­bat vet­er­an from Texas who was arrest­ed after he was pho­tographed wear­ing a hel­met and body armor on the floor of the Sen­ate, hold­ing a pair of zip-tie hand­cuffs.

    Anoth­er Air Force vet­er­an from San Diego was shot and killed by a Capi­tol Police offi­cer as she tried to leap through a bar­ri­cade near the House cham­ber. A retired Navy SEAL, among the most elite spe­cial war­fare oper­a­tors in the mil­i­tary, post­ed a Face­book video about trav­el­ing from his Ohio home to the ral­ly and seem­ing­ly approv­ing of the inva­sion of “our build­ing, our house.”

    Two police offi­cers from a small Vir­ginia town, both of them for­mer infantry­men, were arrest­ed by the FBI after post­ing a self­ie of them­selves inside the Capi­tol, one flash­ing his mid­dle fin­ger at the cam­era.

    Also under scruti­ny is an active-duty psy­cho­log­i­cal war­fare cap­tain from North Car­oli­na who orga­nized three bus­loads of peo­ple who head­ed to Wash­ing­ton for the “Save Amer­i­ca” ral­ly in sup­port the president’s false claim that the Novem­ber elec­tion was stolen from him.

    While the Pen­ta­gon declined to pro­vide an esti­mate for how many oth­er active-duty mil­i­tary per­son­nel are under inves­ti­ga­tion, the military’s top lead­ers were con­cerned enough ahead of Pres­i­dent-elect Joe Biden’s inau­gu­ra­tion that they issued a high­ly unusu­al warn­ing to all ser­vice mem­bers this week that the right to free speech gives no one the right to com­mit vio­lence.

    The chief of the U.S. Capi­tol Police was forced to resign fol­low­ing the breach and sev­er­al offi­cers have been sus­pend­ed pend­ing the out­come of inves­ti­ga­tions into their con­duct, includ­ing one who posed for a self­ie with a riot­er and anoth­er who was seen wear­ing one of Trump’s red “Make Amer­i­ca Great Again” caps.

    The AP’s review of hun­dreds of videos and pho­tos from the insur­rec­tion­ist riot shows scores of peo­ple mixed in the crowd who were wear­ing mil­i­tary-style gear, includ­ing hel­mets, body armor, ruck­sacks and two-way radios. Dozens car­ried can­is­ters of bear spray, base­ball bats, hock­ey sticks and pro-Trump flags attached to stout poles lat­er used to bash police offi­cers.

    A close exam­i­na­tion of the group march­ing up the steps to help breach the Capi­tol shows they wore mil­i­tary-style patch­es that read “MILITIA” and “OATHKEEPER.” Oth­ers were wear­ing patch­es and insignias rep­re­sent­ing far-right mil­i­tant groups, includ­ing the Proud Boys, the Three Per­centers and var­i­ous self-styled state mili­tias.

    The Oath Keep­ers, which claims to count thou­sands of cur­rent and for­mer law enforce­ment offi­cials and mil­i­tary vet­er­ans as mem­bers, have become fix­tures at protests and counter-protests across the coun­try, often heav­i­ly armed with semi-auto­mat­ic car­bines and tac­ti­cal shot­guns.

    Stew­art Rhodes, an Army vet­er­an who found­ed the Oath Keep­ers in 2009 as a reac­tion to the pres­i­den­cy of Barack Oba­ma, had been say­ing for weeks before the Capi­tol riot that his group was prepar­ing for a civ­il war and was “armed, pre­pared to go in if the pres­i­dent calls us up.”

    Adam New­bold, the retired Navy SEAL from Lis­bon, Ohio, whose more than two-decade mil­i­tary career includes mul­ti­ple com­bat awards for val­or, said in a Jan. 5 Face­book video, “We are just very pre­pared, very capa­ble and very skilled patri­ots ready for a fight.”

    He lat­er post­ed a since-delet­ed fol­low-up video after the riot say­ing he was “proud” of the assault.

    New­bold, 45, did not respond to mul­ti­ple mes­sages from the AP but in an inter­view with the Task & Pur­pose web­site he denied ever going inside the Capi­tol. He added that because of the fall­out from the videos he has resigned from a pro­gram that helps pre­pare poten­tial SEAL appli­cants.

    Retired Air Force Lt. Col. Lar­ry Ren­dall Brock Jr. of Texas was released to home con­fine­ment Thurs­day after a pros­e­cu­tor alleged the for­mer fight­er pilot had zip-tie hand­cuffs on the Sen­ate floor because he planned to take hostages.

    “He means to kid­nap, restrain, per­haps try, per­haps exe­cute mem­bers of the U.S. gov­ern­ment,” Assis­tant U.S. Attor­ney Jay Weimer said. “His pri­or expe­ri­ence and train­ing make him all the more dan­ger­ous.”

    Fed­er­al author­i­ties on Fri­day also arrest­ed Dominic Pez­zo­la, a 43-year-old for­mer Marine from New York who iden­ti­fied him­self on social media as being a mem­ber of the Proud Boys.

    The FBI iden­ti­fied Pez­zo­la as the beard­ed man seen in wide­ly shared video shat­ter­ing an exte­ri­or Capi­tol win­dow with a stolen Capi­tol Police riot shield before he and oth­ers climbed inside. He also appears in a sec­ond video tak­en inside the build­ing that shows him smok­ing a cig­ar in what he calls a “vic­to­ry smoke,” accord­ing to a court fil­ing.

    In an online biog­ra­phy, Pez­zo­la, whose nick­name is “Spaz­zo,” describes him­self as “Marine vet/ boxer/ patriot/ Proud Boy.” Ser­vice records show he served six years state­side as an infantry­man and was dis­charged in 2005 at the rank of cor­po­ral.

    Accord­ing to court fil­ings, an uniden­ti­fied wit­ness told the FBI that Pez­zo­la was with a group at the Capi­tol whose mem­bers said they would have killed “any­one they got their hands on,” includ­ing House Speak­er Nan­cy Pelosi. The wit­ness fur­ther stat­ed that mem­bers of this group said they would have killed (Vice Pres­i­dent) Mike Pence if giv­en the chance,” the affi­davit said.

    Army com­man­ders at Fort Bragg in North Car­oli­na are inves­ti­gat­ing the pos­si­ble involve­ment of Capt. Emi­ly Rainey, the 30-year-old psy­cho­log­i­cal oper­a­tions offi­cer and Afghanistan war vet­er­an who told the AP she trav­eled with 100 oth­ers to Wash­ing­ton to “stand against elec­tion fraud.” She insist­ed she act­ed with­in Army reg­u­la­tions and that no one in her group entered the Capi­tol or broke the law.

    “I was a pri­vate cit­i­zen and doing every­thing right and with­in my rights,” Rainey said.

    More than 125 peo­ple have been arrest­ed so far on charges relat­ed to the Capi­tol riot, rang­ing from cur­few vio­la­tions to seri­ous fed­er­al felonies relat­ed to theft and weapons pos­ses­sion.

    Bri­an Har­rell, who served as the assis­tant sec­re­tary for infra­struc­ture pro­tec­tion at the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty until last year, said it is “obvi­ous­ly prob­lem­at­ic” when “extrem­ist bad actors” have mil­i­tary and law enforce­ment back­grounds.

    “Many have spe­cial­ized train­ing, some have seen com­bat, and near­ly all have been fed dis­in­for­ma­tion and pro­pa­gan­da from ille­git­i­mate sources,” Har­rell said. “They are fueled by con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries, feel as if some­thing is being stolen from them, and they are not inter­est­ed in debate. This is a pow­der keg cock­tail wait­ing to blow.”

    The FBI is warn­ing of the poten­tial for more blood­shed. In an inter­nal bul­letin issued Sun­day, the bureau warned of plans for armed protests at all 50 state cap­i­tals and in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., in the com­ing weeks.

    Mean­while, police depart­ments in such major cities as New York, Los Ange­les, Las Vegas, Hous­ton and Philadel­phia announced they were inves­ti­gat­ing whether mem­bers of their agen­cies par­tic­i­pat­ed in the Capi­tol riot. The Philadel­phia area’s tran­sit author­i­ty is also inves­ti­gat­ing whether sev­en of its police offi­cers who attend­ed Trump’s ral­ly in Wash­ing­ton broke any laws.

    A Texas sher­iff announced last week that he had report­ed one of his lieu­tenants to the FBI after she post­ed pho­tos of her­self on social media with a crowd out­side the Capi­tol. Bexar Coun­ty Sher­iff Javier Salazar said Lt. Rox­anne Math­ai, a 46-year-old jail­er, had the right to attend the ral­ly but he’s inves­ti­gat­ing whether she may have bro­ken the law.

    One of the posts Math­ai shared was a pho­to that appeared to be tak­en Jan. 6 from among the mass of Trump sup­port­ers out­side the Capi­tol, cap­tioned: “Not gonna lie. ... aside from my kids, this was, indeed, the best day of my life. And it’s not over yet.”

    A lawyer for Math­ai, a moth­er and long­time San Anto­nio res­i­dent, said she attend­ed the Trump ral­ly but nev­er entered the Capi­tol.

    In Hous­ton, Police Chief Art Aceve­do said an 18-year vet­er­an of the depart­ment sus­pect­ed of join­ing the mob that breached the Capi­tol resigned before a dis­ci­pli­nary hear­ing that was set for Fri­day.

    “There is no excuse for crim­i­nal activ­i­ty, espe­cial­ly from a police offi­cer,” Aceve­do said. “I can’t tell you the anger I feel at the thought of a police offi­cer, and oth­er police offi­cers, think­ing they get to storm the Capi­tol.”
    ___
    Bleiberg report­ed from Dal­las and LaPor­ta from in Del­ray Beach, Flori­da. Robert Burns and Michael Bal­samo in Wash­ing­ton; Jim Mus­t­ian, Michael R. Sisak and Thalia Beaty in New York; Michael Kun­zel­man in Col­lege Park, Mary­land; Juan A. Lozano in Hous­ton; Clau­dia Lauer in Philadel­phia; Martha Bel­lisle in Seat­tle; Ste­fanie Dazio in Los Ange­les; and Car­olyn Thomp­son in Buf­fa­lo, New York, con­tributed.
    ___
    Fol­low Asso­ci­at­ed Press Inves­tiga­tive Reporter Michael Bieseck­er at http://twitter.com/mbieseck; Jake Bleiberg at http://twitter.com/JZBleiberg; and James LaPor­ta at http://twitter.com/JimLaPorta
    ___
    Con­tact AP’s glob­al inves­tiga­tive team at Investigative@ap.org

    Posted by Mary Benton | January 15, 2021, 9:17 pm
  5. This next arti­cle shows sur­pris­ing knowl­edge of White House per­son­nel by the good old Amer­i­can Patri­ot who sells MyP­il­low Mike Lin­dell. How­ev­er, he may have been sim­ply a mes­sanger pass­ing along a mes­sage. Mr. Lin­dell had a meet­ing with Don Trump and tried to per­suade him to declare mar­tial law, uti­lize the Insur­rec­tion Act for his pur­pos­es and exe­cute CIA lead­er­ship shake­up in his last few days start­ing with Kash Patel to lead it. The arti­cle does not men­tion that before work­ing in the Unit­ed States Depart­ment of Jus­tice Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Divi­sion, where he simul­ta­ne­ous­ly served as a legal liai­son to the Joint Spe­cial Oper­a­tions Com­mand, Mr. Patel ws a pub­lic defend­er he rep­re­sent­ed clients charged with felonies includ­ing inter­na­tion­al drug traf­fick­ing, mur­der, firearms vio­la­tions, and bulk cash smug­gling.

    For a pil­low com­pa­ny own­er and sales­man, Mr. Lin­dell has an uncan­ny under­stand­ing of White House oper­a­tions and who needs to be replaced before the Pres­i­den­cy expires.

    Lin­dell made claims of elec­tion fraud claims on the Far Right wing Media Sta­tion News­max and they cut him off while he was on the air. On the day of the MAGA riots he was in D.C., and after it he assert­ed the event was staged by Antifa. He pushed the mes­sage that Trump sup­port­ers ‘broke the algo­rithms.’ These rant­i­ngs are con­sis­tent with the far right pro­pa­gan­da that ral­lied the riot­ers to their cause.

    Lin­dell also a rela­tion­ship with Mike Fly­nn, the nation­al secu­ri­ty advi­sor who lied to the FBI, got a par­don, then went to the Oval Office and advo­cat­ed mar­tial law.

    If one were try­ing to get a bet­ter night of sleep, I would rec­om­mend that they spend their mon­ey on a bet that pil­low sales­man Mike Lin­dell is a deep cov­er agent serv­ing fas­cist objec­tives rather than on his pil­low, even if it is made in Amer­i­ca.

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9153263/Donald-Trump-holds-talks-MyPillow-CEO-Mike-Lindell-brandishes-notes-MARTIAL-LAW.html

    Don­ald Trump holds talks with MyP­il­low CEO Mike Lin­dell who bran­dish­es notes about ‘MARTIAL LAW’

    By GEOFF EARLE, DEPUTY U.S. POLITICAL EDITOR and KEITH GRIFFITH FOR DAILYMAIL.COM
    PUBLISHED: 17:41 EST, 15 Jan­u­ary 2021 | UPDATED: 22:15 EST, 15 Jan­u­ary 2021

    Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump report­ed­ly cut short his meet­ing with MyP­il­low CEO Mike Lin­dell with­in min­utes, after the entre­pre­neur was spot­ted at the White House bran­dish­ing notes ref­er­enc­ing mar­tial law, the Insur­rec­tion Act and a CIA lead­er­ship shake­up.

    Lin­dell said that Trump appeared ‘dis­in­ter­est­ed’ in his notes, and offi­cials say Trump quick­ly dis­missed him and sent him to the White House Coun­sel’s office, accord­ing to New York Times reporter Mag­gie Haber­man. 

    Lin­dell, an infor­mal Trump advi­sor who enthu­si­as­ti­cal­ly backed con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries about mas­sive elec­tion fraud, appeared unex­pect­ed­ly at the White House Fri­day after­noon. A Marine was sta­tioned out­side the West Wing, indi­cat­ing Trump was most like­ly there.

    The MyP­il­low CEO claimed to Haber­man that the notes he was car­ry­ing were on behalf of an unnamed attor­ney he’s been work­ing with to ‘prove’ that Trump real­ly won the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion. 

    Lin­dell denied that the notes ref­er­enced ‘mar­tial law,’ but an admin­is­tra­tion offi­cial said that they def­i­nite­ly con­tained the phrase, and pho­tos of his notes appear to show it. 

    Once Trump dis­missed him, Lin­dell insist­ed on meet­ing White House Coun­sel Pat Cipol­lone, and the meet­ing turned awk­ward in part because the blacked-out part of his notes relat­ed to call­ing for Cipol­lone to be fired, Haber­man report­ed. 

    PHOTO CAPTION: Mike Lin­dell, CEO of My Pil­low, stands out­side the West Wing of the White House in Wash­ing­ton, U.S., Jan­u­ary 15, 2021. A close­up of his notes revealed tense top­ics rang­ing from mar­tial law to the Insur­rec­tion Act and the lead­er­ship of the CIA

    PHOTO CAPTION: A Wash­ing­ton Post pho­tog­ra­ph­er snagged an image of Lin­del­l’s notes, which he did not con­ceal out­side the West Wing

    Amid a huge Nation­al Guard pres­ence in D.C. after last week’s MAGA riots in the Capi­tol, close-up of Lin­del­l’s notes revealed some bizarre snip­pets about what may be on his mind. 

    Lin­dell, like Trump, spoke to the Jan­u­ary 6 ral­ly crowd out­side the White House before Trump sup­port­ers stormed the U.S. Capi­tol. 

    A Wash­ing­ton Post pho­tog­ra­ph­er obtained a close-up of papers car­ried by Lin­dell. 

    One omi­nous line said ‘mar­tial law if nec­es­sary upon the first hint of any....’ The term does not come with­out prece­dent. For­mer Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Advi­sor Mike Fly­nn spoke open­ly about it while par­rot­ing Trump’s claims of a ‘rigged’ elec­tion – and scored his own White House meet­ing after­ward.’

    Anoth­er line, part­ly obscured by Lin­del­l’s hand, most like­ly ref­er­enced the ‘Insur­rec­tion Act’ – the sub­ject of dis­cus­sion before after the elec­tion about use of forces inside the coun­try. It said to ‘Act now as a result of the assault on the  ...’

    Oth­er lines hint­ed at rec­om­mend­ed staff moves. One reads ‘Colon NOW as Act­ing Nation­al Secu­ri­ty...’ – sug­gest­ing a staff move atop the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agency or a new Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Advi­sor. 

    The fol­low­ing lines ref­er­ence Fort Mead and a top cyber­se­cu­ri­ty lawyer, which could iden­ti­fy Frank Colon, who accord­ing to his LinkedIn page is an attor­ney with Cyber Oper­a­tions 780th Mil­i­tary Intel­li­gence Brigade.
    Colon said he had nev­er met Lin­dell and was baf­fled by the pro­pos­al to install him in a high-rank­ing posi­tion, accord­ing to New York Mag­a­zine.

    He described him­self as ‘just a gov­ern­ment employ­ee who does work for the Army.’ 

    PHOTO CAPTION: Lin­dell claimed that the notes he was car­ry­ing were on behalf of an unnamed attor­ney he’s been work­ing with to ‘prove’ that Trump real­ly won the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion

    PHOTO CAPTION: The notes also appear to ref­er­ence poten­tial cab­i­net moves just days before Trump is to leave office

    PHOTO CAPTION: MyP­il­low CEO speaks at ‘Stop the Steal’ ral­ly, accus­es Fox News of try­ing to over­throw Trump admin­is­tra­tion. Fol­low­ing the ral­ly, a MAGA mob ran­sacked the Capi­tol
    There are also ref­er­ences to ‘Krak­en’ lawyer Sid­ney Pow­ell, who over­saw failed elec­tion chal­lenges in court and who has been at the White House post-elec­tion. 

    ‘Move Kash Patel to CIA Act­ing,’ it says, in a line which could indi­cate a pro­pos­al to oust CIA Direc­tor Gina Haspel, and put in her place a Trump loy­al­ist recent­ly moved to the Pen­ta­gon. 

    ‘I ordered the DOD to ful­ly coop­er­ate with Pres­i­dent-elect Joe Biden,’ Patel wrote in an op-ed post­ed by Fox News Thurs­day – after the Biden tran­si­tion com­plained for weeks it was not get­ting the brief­in­gs it request­ed.  

    Oth­er lines are mere snip­pets, but they sug­gest Trump’s obses­sion with a ‘stolen’ elec­tion – although Joe Biden beat him by 7 mil­lion votes, or 306 to 232 in the Elec­toral Col­lege.

    ‘Been with get­ting the evi­dence of ALL the ... as the elec­tion and all infor­ma­tion regard­ing ... among peo­ple he knows who already have secu­ri­ty ... done mas­sive research on these issues,’ the notes say.   

    ‘For­eign Inter­fer­ence in the elec­tion Trig­ger ... pow­ers, make clear this is a China/Iran ... domes­tic actors. Instruct Frank,’ it says. 

    PHOTO CAPTION: The notes men­tion ‘Krak­en’ lawyer Sid­ney Pow­ell, as well as oth­er indi­vid­u­als

    The meet­ing comes days after Trump took part in a script­ed video where he final­ly said: ‘A new admin­is­tra­tion will be inau­gu­rat­ed on Jan­u­ary 20.’ But he has­n’t said out­right that Joe Biden won, even as Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence final­ly called Vice Pres­i­dent-elect Kamala Har­ris and began what appears to be a farewell tour.

    Trump has been hun­kered down in office, with bizarre White House sched­ules say­ing only that: ‘Pres­i­dent Trump will work from ear­ly in the morn­ing until late in the evening. He will make many calls and have many meet­ings.’

    A mes­sage to Lin­dell was not imme­di­ate­ly returned. The White House did not imme­di­ate­ly respond to a request for com­ment about the meet­ing.
    Trump’s obses­sion with over­turn­ing the results are also reflect­ed in charts that could be seen as trade advi­sor Peter Navar­ro walked on White House grounds. It said ‘Vote Irreg­u­lar­i­ties and Ille­gal­i­ties by Cat­e­go­ry and State.’ 
    Trump him­self is expect­ed to leave D.C. on Jan­u­ary 20th, with no plans for the tra­di­tion­al meet­ing with Pres­i­dent-elect Joe Biden. 

    The omi­nous snip­pets in Lin­del­l’s notes about the elec­tion were con­tra­dict­ed by real­i­ty on the ground at the White House Fri­day after­noon. A pro­ces­sion of aides left the build­ing with box­es, even pack­ing away large framed pho­tos that have adorned the build­ing.

    HOW MIKE LINDELL WENT FROM CRACK ADDICT TO CHRISTIAN PILLOW PITCHMAN TO QANON SPOUTING TRUMP ADVISER
    With his preter­nat­u­ral­ly dark hair and mus­tache, ubiq­ui­tous TV ads and tri­umph-over-tragedy per­son­al sto­ry, Mike Lin­dell should be the per­fect pitch­man for his pil­lows.

    But his advo­ca­cy of Don­ald Trump appears to have tak­en him into dark­er and more dan­ger­ous ter­ri­to­ry, car­ry­ing notes about ‘mar­tial law’ to the Oval Office for a meet­ing with Trump on his last Fri­day in the White House.

    Lin­dell, 59, was a small-time Min­neso­ta busi­ness­man who became addict­ed to crack cocaine and alco­hol, los­ing his wife with whom he had four chil­dren to divorce because of it, but — accord­ing to his often-told sto­ry — still man­aged to invent his MyP­il­low in 2004 and turn it into a suc­cess.

    The pil­low itself is a patent­ed foam design and from the begin­ning Lin­dell man­u­fac­tured it in his native state and put its Made in Amer­i­ca cre­den­tials in the pitch.

    In its first years Lin­dell sold it at mall kiosks and state fairs but his own life had a dra­mat­ic change, he says, in 2009, when he became sober, putting it down to the pow­er of prayer.

    Cleaned up, he record­ed a 30-minute live-audi­ence infomer­cial at the cost of $500,000 in 2011 and watched the suc­cess take off — with Lin­dell the focal point as much as the pil­lows.

    With tranch­es of TV ads Lin­dell made a for­tune — not with­out bumps on te way includ­ing set­tling a law­suit for claims the pil­lows helped with snor­ing and divorc­ing his sec­ond wife after less than two months of mar­riage — and made his evan­gel­i­cal faith and then his alle­giance to Trump as much part of his pitch as his prod­ucts.

    They appear to have first met in August 2016 and he jumped on the Trump train, going to the first pres­i­den­tial debate in Octo­ber, and speak­ing at a ral­ly that Novem­ber.

    Since then he has become a reg­u­lar ral­ly per­former, even pitch­ing a run for Min­neso­ta gov­er­nor in 2022 — which he has not men­tioned recent­ly — and chair­ing the state’s Trump cam­paign.

    At the ral­lies he would be intro­duced as ‘the MyP­il­low guy’ to cheers and  describe Trump as ‘cho­sen by God,’ tout his own faith and soak up the applause.

    A fair­ly reg­u­lar White House pres­ence, he tout­ed to Trump an unproven COVID ‘cure,’ ole­an­drin, whose man­u­fac­tur­er he had a stake in. 

    Ben Car­son, a dis­tin­guished neu­ro­sur­geon turned Trump cab­i­net mem­ber, took it. He suc­cumbed bad­ly to the infec­tion; Car­son has not main­tained a med­ical reg­is­tra­tion for some years. 

    Lin­dell devot­ed him­self to Trump in the weeks before the 2020 elec­tion, appear­ing at mul­ti­ple ral­lies and con­vinc­ing the pres­i­dent he would win Min­neso­ta, which he lost hand­i­ly. 

    But after the elec­tion defeat Lin­dell became obsessed by Trump’s claims of vot­er fraud and has pushed them at every turn, includ­ing on the Right Side Broad­cast­ing Net­work YouTube chan­nel which he has a finan­cial stake in.

    He lam­bast­ed Fox News for its cov­er­age even though he is thought to be its biggest sin­gle adver­tis­er, and he pushed the out­er fringes of con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries from dis­cred­it­ed ‘Krak­en’ attor­ney Sid­ney Pow­ell. 

    He appears to have fund­ed the Right Side Broad­cast­ing Net­work, a YouTube chan­nel which aired ral­lies from the March for Trump bus tour whose speak­ers includ­ed Lin­dell and Lin Wood, the even more fringe attor­ney who sug­gest­ed Mike Pence should be exe­cut­ed.

    Among the cast of ‘reporters’ on RSB­N’s cov­er­age were oth­er Trump ral­ly reg­u­lars includ­ing the ‘wall guy’ who wears a suit which rep­re­sents the Mex­i­can bor­der wall. The suit is designed to look like it is made of bricks, when the wall is in fact steel and rebar. The ads were inevitably for MyP­il­low.

    Lin­dell also appears to gave devel­oped a rela­tion­ship with Mike Fly­nn, the nation­al secu­ri­ty advi­sor who lied to the FBI, got a par­don, then went to the Oval Office and advo­cat­ed mar­tial law.

    So dis­cred­it­ed were Lin­del­l’s fraud claims that News­max had to cut him off live on air but he was unstop­pable: on the day of the MAGA riots he was in D.C., then after they hap­pened he spout­ed claims that the whole event was staged by Antifa. 

    From a pri­vate jet a few days lat­er he record­ed a mes­sage that ‘Don­ald Trump will be our pres­i­dent for the next four years.’ 

    On Jan­u­ary 20 he will find out if his faith in Trump has been reward­ed or if his claims get the same F rat­ing from real­i­ty which his com­pa­ny did from the Bet­ter Busi­ness Bureau.

    PHOTO CAPTION: A Marine out­side the door indi­cat­ed the pres­i­dent was most like­ly there

    PHOTO CAPTION: US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump lis­tens as Michael J. Lin­dell, CEO of MyP­il­low Inc., speaks dur­ing the dai­ly brief­ing on the nov­el coro­n­avirus, COVID-19, in the Rose Gar­den of the White House in Wash­ing­ton, DC, on March 30, 2020

    PHOTO CAPTION: Lin­del­l’s pil­low com­pa­ny reg­u­lar­ly adver­tis­es on Fox News

    PHOTO CAPTION: For­mer U.S. nation­al secu­ri­ty advis­er Michael Fly­nn speaks dur­ing a ral­ly to protest the results of the elec­tion, in Wash­ing­ton, U.S., Decem­ber 12, 2020. He urged mar­tial law in a post-elec­tion video

    A view­ing plat­form for the inau­gu­ra­tion already has print­ed sig­nage for Joe Biden and Kamala Har­ris. Biden spoke in Delaware about changes he plans to insti­tute for vac­cine roll­out, fol­low­ing reports that the Trump Admin­is­tra­tion Oper­a­tion Warp Speed name will be one of the first things jet­ti­soned. 

    Even low­er lev­el aides in the West Wing have already depart­ed, leav­ing a skele­ton crew – even as the nation faced a relent­less surge of coro­n­avirus infec­tions and deaths. 

    Lin­dell post­ed even after the riots with claims about ways to ‘sup­press the evil’ and ‘beat the evil’ with claims that Trump sup­port­ers ‘broke the algo­rithms.’

    He post­ed brief com­ments, which appear to be made aboard a pri­vate jet, where he wrote that ‘Don­ald Trump is going to be your pres­i­dent for the next 4 years.’

    Lin­dell retweet­ed a tweet by Right Side Broad­cast­ing Net­work Jan­u­ary 10 which bashed the idea of impeach­ment as point­less. ‘Seems like a whole lot of trou­ble to go through to impeach some­one who, if tra­di­tion has its way, will be gone from office in 10 days. What is going on here, Nan­cy? Seems a lit­tle des­per­ate. There must be...other fac­tors at play,’ it said. 

    Posted by Mary Benton | January 15, 2021, 10:00 pm
  6. Was the insur­rec­tion an inside job? That’s the ques­tion a group of con­gres­sion­al Democ­rats are demand­ing be inves­ti­gat­ed fol­low­ing a con­stel­la­tion of reports point­ing towards exact­ly that sce­nario. Pres­i­dent Trump’s role in foment­ing the the vio­lent mob was out in the open at the “Stop the Steal” ral­ly that imme­di­ate­ly pre­ced­ed the storm­ing. He open­ly called on his audi­ence to go to the Capi­tol and ‘fight like hell’.

    It’s the poten­tial role of mem­bers of Con­gress that has Democ­rats howl­ing for an inves­ti­ga­tion under the grow­ing pile of inves­ti­ga­tion of col­lab­o­ra­tion between Repub­li­can mem­bers of Con­gress and the riot­ers. Secret col­lab­o­ra­tion that they don’t want to pub­licly dis­cuss. That’s the pic­ture that’s emerg­ing now that we have oth­er mem­bers of the House, notably Mikie Sher­rill, who have pub­licly come for­ward claim­ing they wit­nessed riot­ers being giv­en what appeared to be “recon­nais­sance” tours of the con­gres­sion­al com­plex on Jan­u­ary 5 by Repub­li­can mem­bers of Con­gress. House Speak­er Nan­cy Pelosi is already talk­ing about pos­si­ble pros­e­cu­tion of mem­bers of Con­gress who were found to have “aid­ed and abet­ted the crime”.

    As the fol­low­ing USA Today piece notes, the Capi­tol Police admit­ted on Fri­day that they had launched their own inquiry into these mys­te­ri­ous tours so some sort of inves­ti­ga­tion has appar­ent­ly been start­ed that could reveal Repub­li­can con­gres­sion­al mem­bers aid­ing and abet­ting the insur­rec­tion with aid that includes Jan 5 tours of the Capi­tol.

    And as the fol­low­ing piece also dis­turbing­ly notes, the nature of the intent behind those mys­tery tours of the Capi­tol has become some­thing of an area of dis­pute between fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tors pur­su­ing charges. On Thurs­day, fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tors in Ari­zona told judges that there was “strong evi­dence” that riot­ers had intend­ed to appre­hend and “assas­si­nate elect­ed offi­cials.”

    But on Fri­day, the fed­er­al attor­ney in D.C. over­see­ing the inves­ti­ga­tion, Michael Sher­win, said that author­i­ties have so far found only “bread crumbs” of evi­dence sug­gest­ing that the insur­rec­tion was coor­di­nat­ed. Sher­win also not­ed that the search for pos­si­ble “com­mand and con­trol” of the vio­lent mob rep­re­sent­ed a “top-tier” pri­or­i­ty for inves­ti­ga­tors. And regard­ing the claims by fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tors in Ari­zona that strong evi­dence planned on assas­si­nat­ing elect­ed offi­cials, Sher­win stat­ed on Fri­day that there was “no direct evi­dence of kill and cap­ture teams” so far. So we saw a dis­tinct walk-back by fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tors on Fri­day of the explo­sive claims made by fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tors in Ari­zona on Thurs­day.

    While it will be very inter­est­ing to see if a com­mand and con­trol mech­a­nism was indeed direct­ing at least some of that mob, it’s also the kind of inves­tiga­tive angle that ignores the nature of how ‘lead­er­less resis­tance’ works, where avoid­ing the need for com­mand and con­trol mech­a­nisms is half the point. Trump’s exhor­ta­tions at the ral­ly were enough. Trump’s words were the com­mand and con­trol mech­a­nism. It’s one of the con­cern­ing aspects of Sher­win sug­gest­ing there’s only “bread crumbs” of evi­dence that the insur­rec­tion involved coor­di­na­tion. Indi­rect coor­di­na­tion by vague inflam­ma­to­ry rhetoric is how the far right would like­ly pull off an insur­rec­tion. So either Sher­win was being diplo­mat­ic, or we’re already look­ing at sign of anoth­er ques­tion­able inves­ti­ga­tion into Repub­li­can high crimes that ignores how the far right real­ly oper­ates and coor­di­nates:

    USA TODAY

    Feds: Capi­tol riot cas­es to soar past 300; ‘bread crumbs’ of evi­dence so far point to coor­di­nat­ed assault

    Kevin John­son and Nicholas Wu
    Pub­lished 4:09 p.m. ET Jan. 15, 2021 | Updat­ed 5:46 p.m. ET Jan. 15, 2021

    The soar­ing num­ber of Capi­tol riot inves­ti­ga­tions was expect­ed to top 300 by Fri­day, as the sprawl­ing inquiry con­tin­ued to be aid­ed by a del­uge of pho­tographs and video evi­dence, fed­er­al author­i­ties said Fri­day.

    While offi­cials said they were “mak­ing progress on all fronts,” D.C. U.S. Attor­ney Michael Sher­win said that author­i­ties have so far found only “bread crumbs” of evi­dence sug­gest­ing that the assault was coor­di­nat­ed.

    Sher­win, who is over­see­ing the inves­ti­ga­tion, said the search for pos­si­ble “com­mand and con­trol” of the vio­lent mob rep­re­sent­ed a “top-tier” pri­or­i­ty for inves­ti­ga­tors, adding that a full review of the group’s orga­ni­za­tion could “take weeks, if not months.”

    Late Thurs­day, fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tors in Ari­zona had con­tend­ed in court doc­u­ments that there was “strong evi­dence” that riot­ers had intend­ed to appre­hend and “assas­si­nate elect­ed offi­cials.” But Sher­win walked back that claim Fri­day, say­ing there was “no direct evi­dence of kill and cap­ture teams” so far.

    With the riot­ers being pur­sued across the coun­try, Sher­win said author­i­ties were begin­ning to see sus­pects turn them­selves in. Some of them, he said, had hired attor­neys and were offer­ing to pro­vide infor­ma­tion on fel­low attack­ers.

    In some instances, inves­ti­ga­tors have been receiv­ing tips from fam­i­ly mem­bers and friends with infor­ma­tion about sus­pects’ involve­ment.

    “Yes, some are pro­vid­ing coop­er­a­tion,” Sher­win said, “but we’re not cut­ting deals with any­one.”

    Asked whether author­i­ties are review­ing whether law­mak­ers may have aid­ed riot­ers by pro­vid­ing tours of the Capi­tol pri­or to the assault, Assis­tant FBI Direc­tor Steven D’An­tuono said only that inves­ti­ga­tors are “look­ing at every piece of the puz­zle.”

    In the days since the insur­rec­tion, Democ­rats have called for for­mal inves­ti­ga­tions, cit­ing an unusu­al uptick in vis­i­tors sport­ing Trump gear the day before the assault.

    On Fri­day, the U.S. Capi­tol Police acknowl­edged that had launched their own inquiry.

    “The mat­ter is under inves­ti­ga­tion,” Capi­tol Police spokesper­son Eva Malec­ki said.

    The inves­ti­ga­tion comes after a group of more than 30 House Democ­rats sent a let­ter to Capi­tol Hill law enforce­ment offi­cials on Jan. 13, ask­ing for them review what they deemed as sus­pi­cious groups in the Capi­tol lead­ing up to the riot.

    The riot­ers at the Capi­tol on Jan. 6 had an “unusu­al­ly detailed” knowl­edge of the Capi­tol’s lay­out, the law­mak­ers said in their let­ter, and they want­ed poten­tial ties between the tour groups and the riot to be inves­ti­gat­ed.

    House Speak­er Nan­cy Pelosi said Fri­day mem­bers of Con­gress could face charges if it were found they “aid­ed and abet­ted” the riot.

    “Let’s be clear, there’s no way those groups could have got­ten into the Capi­tol with­out a Mem­ber of Con­gress or a staff mem­ber of a mem­ber of Con­gress,” said U.S. Rep. Mikie Sher­rill, a Demo­c­rat from New Jer­sey.

    ...

    ———–

    “Feds: Capi­tol riot cas­es to soar past 300; ‘bread crumbs’ of evi­dence so far point to coor­di­nat­ed assault” by Kevin John­son and Nicholas Wu; USA TODAY; 01/15/2021

    “While offi­cials said they were “mak­ing progress on all fronts,” D.C. U.S. Attor­ney Michael Sher­win said that author­i­ties have so far found only “bread crumbs” of evi­dence sug­gest­ing that the assault was coor­di­nat­ed.”

    The over­see­ing inves­ti­ga­tor in DC has only found bread crumbs point­ing towards coor­di­na­tion between the riot­ers and oth­ers. And yet this came a day after fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tors in Ari­zona told a judge that “strong evi­dence” showed riot­ers intend­ed to appre­hend and “assas­si­nate elect­ed offi­cials.” Why the backpedal­ing? Are inves­ti­ga­tors going to be allowed to ask dif­fi­cult ques­tions or is this the kind of ‘inves­ti­ga­tion’ tasked with com­ing up with an ‘answer’ that isn’t over­ly polit­i­cal­ly explo­sive. After all, if it turns out Repub­li­cans in con­gress did col­lude with the riot­ers, those fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tors are going to prob­a­bly face the death threats:

    ...
    Sher­win, who is over­see­ing the inves­ti­ga­tion, said the search for pos­si­ble “com­mand and con­trol” of the vio­lent mob rep­re­sent­ed a “top-tier” pri­or­i­ty for inves­ti­ga­tors, adding that a full review of the group’s orga­ni­za­tion could “take weeks, if not months.”

    Late Thurs­day, fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tors in Ari­zona had con­tend­ed in court doc­u­ments that there was “strong evi­dence” that riot­ers had intend­ed to appre­hend and “assas­si­nate elect­ed offi­cials.” But Sher­win walked back that claim Fri­day, say­ing there was “no direct evi­dence of kill and cap­ture teams” so far.
    ...

    But fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tors aren’t the only ones inves­ti­gat­ing the ques­tion of whether or not mem­bers of con­gress helped orches­trate the riot. The Capi­tol Hill police opened up an inves­ti­ga­tion too fol­low­ing a let­ter from 30 House Democ­rats call­ing for an inves­ti­ga­tion of the Jan 5 mys­tery tours:

    ...
    On Fri­day, the U.S. Capi­tol Police acknowl­edged that had launched their own inquiry.

    “The mat­ter is under inves­ti­ga­tion,” Capi­tol Police spokesper­son Eva Malec­ki said.

    The inves­ti­ga­tion comes after a group of more than 30 House Democ­rats sent a let­ter to Capi­tol Hill law enforce­ment offi­cials on Jan. 13, ask­ing for them review what they deemed as sus­pi­cious groups in the Capi­tol lead­ing up to the riot.

    The riot­ers at the Capi­tol on Jan. 6 had an “unusu­al­ly detailed” knowl­edge of the Capi­tol’s lay­out, the law­mak­ers said in their let­ter, and they want­ed poten­tial ties between the tour groups and the riot to be inves­ti­gat­ed.

    House Speak­er Nan­cy Pelosi said Fri­day mem­bers of Con­gress could face charges if it were found they “aid­ed and abet­ted” the riot.

    “Let’s be clear, there’s no way those groups could have got­ten into the Capi­tol with­out a Mem­ber of Con­gress or a staff mem­ber of a mem­ber of Con­gress,” said U.S. Rep. Mikie Sher­rill, a Demo­c­rat from New Jer­sey.
    ...

    So while the back and forth mes­sag­ing from the fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tors is trou­bling, at least it looks like there are mul­ti­ple inves­ti­ga­tions ask­ing the ques­tion of whether or not con­gres­sion­al Repub­li­cans col­lud­ed with the insur­rec­tionary mob in advance.

    Then again, it’s not like we should expect the Capi­tol police to pro­duce a thor­ough inves­ti­ga­tion either. The Capi­tol police are also one of the many insti­tu­tions charged with ignor­ing the warn­ings that some­thing like this was in the works, after all and Con­gres­sion­al Democ­rats are call­ing for inves­ti­ga­tions into the House and Sen­ate Sargeants at Arms too. If there real­ly was a larg­er plot involv­ing mem­bers of Con­gress it would­n’t be sur­pris­ing if some ele­ment of the Capi­tol police forces were in on it too.

    So we’ll see what con­clu­sions these par­al­lel inves­ti­ga­tions by fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tors and Capi­tol police. Will the con­clu­sions rough­ly align? And what about col­lu­sion between the riot­ers and the White House? Is that be inves­ti­gat­ed too? Let’s hope so, because as the fol­low­ing ProP­ub­li­ca arti­cle describes, the col­lu­sion between the “Stop the Steal” orga­ni­za­tion and the riot­ers, and allu­sions to vio­lence, was right out in the open for weeks. And “Stop the Steal” — which was found­ed by Roger Stone in 2016 to help Trump secure the GOP nom­i­na­tionis basi­cal­ly a Trump White House oper­a­tion and cre­ation of Roger Stone and Steve Ban­non, even if it’s tech­ni­cal­ly run by Roger Stone acolyte Ali Alexan­der. That’s why Recall how ‘Alt Right’ per­son­al­i­ty Nick Fuenteswho spoke at the Decem­ber 12 Stop the Steal ral­ly where Trump did mul­ti­ple Marine One fly­overswas open­ly rumi­nat­ing about killing state leg­is­la­tors who don’t sup­port the efforts to over­turn the elec­tion for Trump. So if these inves­ti­ga­tions into col­lu­sion with the riot­ers does­n’t find col­lu­sion by the White House, we’ll prob­a­bly need an inves­ti­ga­tion of the inves­ti­ga­tions because this is the kind of col­lu­sion that no one was hid­ing:

    ProP­ub­li­ca

    Capi­tol Riot­ers Planned for Weeks in Plain Sight. The Police Weren’t Ready.

    Insur­rec­tion­ists made no effort to hide their inten­tions, but law enforce­ment pro­tect­ing Con­gress was caught flat-foot­ed.

    by Logan Jaffe, Lydia DePil­lis, Isaac Arns­dorf and J. David McSwane
    Jan. 7, 2021 12:24 a.m. EST

    The inva­sion of the U.S. Capi­tol on Wednes­day was stoked in plain sight. For weeks, the far-right sup­port­ers of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump railed on social media that the elec­tion had been stolen. They open­ly dis­cussed the idea of vio­lent protest on the day Con­gress met to cer­ti­fy the result.

    “We came up with the idea to occu­py just out­side the CAPITOL on Jan 6th,” lead­ers of the Stop the Steal move­ment wrote on Dec. 23. They called their Wednes­day demon­stra­tion the Wild Protest, a name tak­en from a tweet by Trump that encour­aged his sup­port­ers to take their griev­ances to the streets of Wash­ing­ton. “Will be wild,” the pres­i­dent tweet­ed.

    Ali Alexan­der, the founder of the move­ment, encour­aged peo­ple to bring tents and sleep­ing bags and avoid wear­ing masks for the event. “If D.C. esca­lates… so do we,” Alexan­der wrote on Par­ler last week — one of scores of social media posts wel­com­ing vio­lence that were reviewed by ProP­ub­li­ca in the weeks lead­ing up to Wednesday’s attack on the capi­tol.

    Thou­sands of peo­ple heed­ed that call.

    For rea­sons that remained unclear Wednes­day night, the law enforce­ment author­i­ties charged with pro­tect­ing the nation’s entire leg­isla­tive branch — near­ly all of the 535 mem­bers of Con­gress gath­ered in a joint ses­sion, along with Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence — were ill-pre­pared to con­tain the forces massed against them.

    On Wednes­day after­noon, a thin line of U.S. Capi­tol Police, with only a few riot shields between them and a knot of angry pro­test­ers, engaged in hand-to-hand com­bat with riot­ers on the steps of the West Front. They strug­gled with a flim­sy set of bar­ri­cades as a mob in hel­mets and bul­let­proof vests pushed its way toward the Capi­tol entrance. Videos showed offi­cers step­ping aside, and some­times tak­ing self­ies, as if to ush­er Trump’s sup­port­ers into the build­ing they were sup­posed to guard.

    A for­mer Capi­tol police­man well-versed in his agency’s pro­ce­dures was mys­ti­fied by the scene he watched unfold on live tele­vi­sion. Lar­ry Schae­fer, a 34-year Capi­tol Police vet­er­an who retired in Decem­ber 2019, said his for­mer col­leagues were expe­ri­enced in deal­ing with aggres­sive crowds.

    “It’s not a spur-of-the-moment demon­stra­tion that just popped up,” Schae­fer said. “We have a planned, known demon­stra­tion that has a propen­si­ty for vio­lence in the past and threats to car­ry weapons — why would you not pre­pare your­self as we have done in the past?”

    A spokesper­son for the Capi­tol Police did not respond to a request for com­ment.

    In recent years, fed­er­al law enforce­ment agen­cies have stepped up their focus on far-right groups, result­ing in a spate of arrests. In Octo­ber, the FBI arrest­ed a group of Michi­gan extrem­ists and charged them with plot­ting to kid­nap the state’s gov­er­nor. On Mon­day, Wash­ing­ton police arrest­ed Enrique Tar­rio, the leader of the far-right group the Proud Boys, on charges of burn­ing a Black Lives Mat­ter ban­ner.

    Con­ver­sa­tions on right-wing plat­forms are mon­i­tored close­ly by fed­er­al intel­li­gence. In Sep­tem­ber, a draft report by the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty sur­faced, iden­ti­fy­ing white suprema­cists as the biggest threat to nation­al secu­ri­ty.

    The warn­ings of Wednesday’s assault on the Capi­tol were every­where — per­haps not entire­ly spe­cif­ic about the planned time and exact loca­tion of an assault on the Capi­tol, but enough to clue in law enforce­ment about the poten­tial for civ­il unrest.

    On Dec. 12, a poster on the web­site MyMilitia.com urged vio­lence if sen­a­tors made offi­cial the vic­to­ry of Pres­i­dent-elect Joe Biden.

    “If this does not change, then I advo­cate, Rev­o­lu­tion and adher­ence to the rules of war,” wrote some­one iden­ti­fy­ing them­selves as I3DI. “I say, take the hill or die try­ing.”

    Wrote anoth­er per­son: “It’s already appar­ent that lit­er­al­ly mil­lions of Amer­i­cans are on the verge of acti­vat­ing their Sec­ond Amend­ment duty to defeat tyran­ny and save the repub­lic.”

    The eas­i­ly over­pow­ered police force guard­ing the Capi­tol on Wednes­day posed a stark con­trast to the tac­tics deployed by local police dur­ing this summer’s Black Lives Mat­ter protests. Then, the city felt besieged by law enforce­ment.

    On June 1, fol­low­ing a few days of most­ly peace­ful protests, the Nation­al Guard, the Secret Ser­vice and the U.S. Park Police fired tear gas and rub­ber bul­lets to dis­perse a non­vi­o­lent crowd in Lafayette Square out­side the White House to allow Trump to pose with a Bible in front of a near­by church.

    “We need to dom­i­nate the bat­tle­space,” then-Sec­re­tary of Defense Mark Esper said on a call with dozens of gov­er­nors, ask­ing them to send their Nation­al Guard forces to the cap­i­tal.

    On June 2 — the day of the pri­ma­ry elec­tion in Wash­ing­ton — law enforce­ment offi­cers appeared on every cor­ner, heav­i­ly armed in fatigues and body armor. Humvees blocked inter­sec­tions. Bus­es full of troops deployed into mil­i­tary columns and mar­shaled in front of the Lin­coln Memo­r­i­al in a raw show of force. Police ket­tled pro­test­ers in alleys. Chop­pers thud­ded over­head for days and sank low enough over pro­test­ers to gen­er­ate gale-force winds.

    Such dom­i­nance was nowhere in evi­dence Wednes­day, despite a near-lock­down of the down­town area on Tues­day night. Trump sup­port­ers drove to the Capi­tol and parked in spaces nor­mal­ly reserved for con­gres­sion­al staff. Some vehi­cles stopped on the lawns near the Tidal Basin.

    The con­trast shook Washington’s attor­ney gen­er­al, Karl Racine, who seemed to be almost in dis­be­lief on CNN Wednes­day evening.

    “There was zero intel­li­gence that the Black Lives Mat­ter pro­test­ers were going to ‘storm the capi­tol,’” he remem­bered, after tick­ing down the many police forces present in June. “Jux­ta­pose that with what we saw today, with hate groups, mili­tia and oth­er groups that have no respect for the rule of law go into the capi­tol. ... That dichoto­my is shock­ing.”

    The ques­tion of how law enforce­ment and the nation­al secu­ri­ty estab­lish­ment failed so spec­tac­u­lar­ly will like­ly be the sub­ject of intense focus in com­ing days.

    ...

    ———–

    “Capi­tol Riot­ers Planned for Weeks in Plain Sight. The Police Weren’t Ready.” by Logan Jaffe, Lydia DePil­lis, Isaac Arns­dorf and J. David McSwane; ProP­ub­li­ca; 01/07/2021

    “The warn­ings of Wednesday’s assault on the Capi­tol were every­where — per­haps not entire­ly spe­cif­ic about the planned time and exact loca­tion of an assault on the Capi­tol, but enough to clue in law enforce­ment about the poten­tial for civ­il unrest.”

    The warn­ings of planned vio­lence were every­where. Include com­ing from the mouth of Ali Alexan­der, the Stop the Steal founder who was telling fol­low­ers to bring sleep­ing bags and plan to occu­py the area out­side of the Capi­tol. But at the same time Alexan­der was telling sup­port­ers to get ready for an occu­pa­tion — some­thing that could at least in the­o­ry be rel­a­tive­ly peace­ful — he was also mak­ing state­ments on Par­ler like ““If D.C. esca­lates… so do we.” And Trump was back­ing this up with calls for his sup­port­ers to take their griev­ances to the streets in a “wild” protest:

    ...
    “We came up with the idea to occu­py just out­side the CAPITOL on Jan 6th,” lead­ers of the Stop the Steal move­ment wrote on Dec. 23. They called their Wednes­day demon­stra­tion the Wild Protest, a name tak­en from a tweet by Trump that encour­aged his sup­port­ers to take their griev­ances to the streets of Wash­ing­ton. “Will be wild,” the pres­i­dent tweet­ed.

    Ali Alexan­der, the founder of the move­ment, encour­aged peo­ple to bring tents and sleep­ing bags and avoid wear­ing masks for the event. “If D.C. esca­lates… so do we,” Alexan­der wrote on Par­ler last week — one of scores of social media posts wel­com­ing vio­lence that were reviewed by ProP­ub­li­ca in the weeks lead­ing up to Wednesday’s attack on the capi­tol.

    Thou­sands of peo­ple heed­ed that call.

    ...

    Con­ver­sa­tions on right-wing plat­forms are mon­i­tored close­ly by fed­er­al intel­li­gence. In Sep­tem­ber, a draft report by the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty sur­faced, iden­ti­fy­ing white suprema­cists as the biggest threat to nation­al secu­ri­ty.
    ...

    Was the wild nature of the Jan 6 insur­rec­tion the same “wild” protest Trump had in mind? Was it not wild enough? Were tar­get­ed kid­nap­pings and assas­si­na­tions part of the wild­ness that Trump and the Stop the Steal team planned? These are the ques­tion inves­ti­ga­tors need to be ask­ing. So with mul­ti­ple inves­ti­ga­tions already under­way into offi­cial col­lu­sion with the riot­ers, and mul­ti­ple ver­sions of events already being por­trayed by fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tors, it’s look­ing like we’re in store for a pret­ty wild legal inves­ti­ga­tion. A wild legal inves­ti­ga­tion that’s either going to result in a wild set of high-lev­el pros­e­cu­tions or, more like­ly, a wild cov­er-up.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 16, 2021, 2:45 pm
  7. This next Jan. 15, 2021 Guardian U.K. arti­cle by Stephanie Kirch­gaess­ner, talks about a pos­si­ble source of fund­ing for the efforts to over­turn the U.S. 2020 Pres­i­den­tial Elec­tions.

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/jan/15/trump-republicans-election-defeat-club-for-growth?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

    Some por­tions from the arti­cle are includ­ed below with com­men­tary where not­ed, but does not includ­ed the entire arti­cle:

    The Club for Growth has sup­port­ed the cam­paigns of 42 of the rightwing Repub­li­cans sen­a­tors and mem­bers of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives who vot­ed last week to chal­lenge US elec­tion results, dol­ing out an esti­mat­ed $20m to direct­ly and indi­rect­ly sup­port their cam­paigns in 2018 and 2020, accord­ing to data com­piled by the Cen­ter for Respon­sive Pol­i­tics.

    About 30 of the Repub­li­can hard­lin­ers received more than $100,000 in indi­rect and direct sup­port from the group.

    The Club for Growth’s biggest ben­e­fi­cia­ries include Josh Haw­ley and Ted Cruz, the two Repub­li­can sen­a­tors who led the effort to inval­i­date Joe Biden’s elec­toral vic­to­ry, and the new­ly elect­ed far-right gun-rights activist Lau­ren Boe­bert, a QAnon con­spir­a­cy the­o­rist. Boe­bert was crit­i­cised last week for tweet­ing about the House speak­er Nan­cy Pelosi’s loca­tion dur­ing the attack on the Capi­tol, even after law­mak­ers were told not to do so by police.

    Pub­lic records show the Club for Growth’s largest fun­ders are the bil­lion­aire Richard Uih­lein, the Repub­li­can co-founder of the Uline ship­ping sup­ply com­pa­ny in Wis­con­sin, and Jef­frey Yass, the co-founder of Susque­han­na Inter­na­tion­al Group, an options trad­ing group based in Philadel­phia that also owns a sports bet­ting com­pa­ny in Dublin.

    While Uih­lein and Yass have kept a low­er pro­file than oth­er bil­lion­aire donors such as Michael Bloomberg and the late Shel­don Adel­son, their back­ing of the Club for Growth has helped to trans­form the orga­ni­za­tion from one tra­di­tion­al­ly known as an anti-reg­u­la­to­ry and anti-tax pro-busi­ness pres­sure group to one that backs some of the most rad­i­cal and anti-demo­c­ra­t­ic Repub­li­can law­mak­ers in Con­gress.

    Here’s the thing about the hyper wealthy. They believe that their hyper-wealth grants them the abil­i­ty to not be account­able Reed Galen

    The Club for Growth has so far escaped scruti­ny for its role sup­port­ing the anti-demo­c­ra­t­ic Repub­li­cans because it does not pri­mar­i­ly make direct con­tri­bu­tions to can­di­dates. Instead, it uses its funds to make “out­side” spend­ing deci­sions, like attack­ing a candidate’s oppo­nents.

    In 2018, Club for Growth spent near­ly $3m attack­ing the Demo­c­ra­t­ic sen­a­tor Claire McCaskill in Mis­souri, a race that was ulti­mate­ly won by Haw­ley, the 41-year-old Yale law grad­u­ate with pres­i­den­tial ambi­tions who has ampli­fied Don­ald Trump’s base­less lies about elec­tion fraud.

    That year, it also spent $1.2m to attack the Texas Demo­c­rat Beto O’Rourke, who chal­lenged – and then nar­row­ly lost – against Cruz.

    Oth­er leg­is­la­tors sup­port­ed by Club for Growth include Matt Rosendale, who this week called for the res­ig­na­tion of fel­low Repub­li­can Liz Cheney after she said she would sup­port impeach­ment of the pres­i­dent, and Lance Good­en, who accused Pelosi of being just as respon­si­ble for last week’s riot as Trump.

    Dozens of the Repub­li­cans sup­port­ed by Club for Growth vot­ed to chal­lenge the elec­tion results even after insur­rec­tion­ist stormed the Capi­tol, which led to five deaths, includ­ing the mur­der of a police offi­cer.

    Pub­lic records show that Richard Uih­lein, whose fam­i­ly found­ed Schlitz beer, donat­ed $27m to the Club for Growth in 2020, and $6.7m in 2018. Uih­lein and his wife, Liz, have been called “the most pow­er­ful con­ser­v­a­tive cou­ple you’ve nev­er heard of” by the New York Times. Richard Uih­lein, the New York Times said, was known for under­writ­ing “fire­brand anti-estab­lish­ment” can­di­dates like Roy Moore, who Uih­lein sup­port­ed in a Sen­ate race even after it was alleged he had sex­u­al­ly abused under­age girls. Moore denied the alle­ga­tions.

    Yass of Susque­han­na Inter­na­tion­al, who is list­ed on pub­lic doc­u­ments as hav­ing donat­ed $20.7m to the Club for Growth in 2020 and $3.8m in 2018, also declined to com­ment. Yass is one of six founders of Susque­han­na, called a “cru­cial engine of the $5tn glob­al exchange-trad­ed fund mar­ket” in a 2018 Bloomberg News pro­file. The com­pa­ny was ground­ed on the basis of the six founders mutu­al love of pok­er and the notion that train­ing for “prob­a­bil­i­ty-based” deci­sions could be use­ful in trad­ing mar­kets. Susquehanna’s Dublin-based com­pa­ny, Nel­lie Ana­lyt­ics, wagers on sports. [Edi­to­r­i­al ques­tion: Could some of these “prob­a­bil­i­ty-based” deci­sions be relat­ed to trad­ing on infor­ma­tion with advanced knowl­edge of Trumps “crazy” or improp­er mar­ket mov­ing Tweets?}

    A 2009 pro­file of Yass in Philadel­phia mag­a­zine described how secre­cy per­vades Susque­han­na, and that peo­ple who know the com­pa­ny say “stealth” is a word often used to describe its modus operan­di. The arti­cle sug­gest­ed Yass was large­ly silent about his com­pa­ny because he does not like to share what he does and how, and that those who know him believe he is “very ner­vous” about his own secu­ri­ty.

    Yass, who is described in some media accounts as a lib­er­tar­i­an, also donat­ed to the Pro­tect Amer­i­ca Pac, an organ­i­sa­tion affil­i­at­ed with Repub­li­can sen­a­tor Rand Paul. The Pac’s web­site false­ly claims that Democ­rats stole the 2020 elec­tion. [Ed. Note: low pro­file and asso­ci­a­tion with Rand Paul may sug­gest under­ground fas­cist links].

    Posted by Mary Benton | January 17, 2021, 8:59 pm
  8. This Wash­ing­ton Post Arti­cle pro­vides and inter­est­ing fact that Par­doned Gen­er­al and Trump Riot sup­port­er Mike Flynn’s broth­er, Charles was part of the delayed Nation­al Guard Response and the orig­i­nal­ly denied this. “Army false­ly denied Flynn’s broth­er was involved in key part of mil­i­tary response to Capi­tol riot. Lt. Gen. Charles A. Fly­nn is the Army’s deputy chief of staff for oper­a­tions, plans and train­ing. Why would a Con­sti­tu­tion­al­ly Sworn Mil­i­tary Per­son­nel lie about this and vio­late the Mil­i­tary Code of Con­duct? I rec­om­mend that you read the arti­cle and come to your own con­clu­sion if there was influ­ence with this Coup by infil­tra­tions at the high­est lev­el of the mil­i­tary or not. Also if both Flynn’s became Gen­er­als, is this more than a coin­ci­dence. We need more infor­ma­tion to deter­mine if Mike and Charles Fly­nn be sim­i­lar ide­o­log­i­cal­ly with sim­i­lar fas­cist loy­al­ties?

    On a sep­a­rate note, As I read this I real­ized that QAnon was cre­at­ed in part to mobi­lize what is referred to in the Nazi Book by Nation­al Alliance “Ser­pents Walk” as “Chris­t­ian Fas­cists” in what they believe is a fight with Satan (the Democ­rats).

    By Dan Lamothe, Paul Sonne, Car­ol D. Leon­nig and Aaron C. Davis
    Jan­u­ary 20 at 10:42 PM ET

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/flynn-national-guard-call-riot/2021/01/20/7f4f41ba-5b4c-11eb-aaad-93988621dd28_story.html

    High­lights state:
    The Army false­ly denied for days that Lt. Gen. Charles A. Fly­nn, the broth­er of dis­graced for­mer nation­al secu­ri­ty advis­er Michael Fly­nn, was involved in a key meet­ing dur­ing its heav­i­ly scru­ti­nized response to the dead­ly assault on the U.S. Capi­tol.

    Charles Fly­nn con­firmed in a state­ment issued to The Wash­ing­ton Post on Wednes­day that he was in the room for a tense Jan. 6 phone call dur­ing which the Capi­tol Police and D.C. offi­cials plead­ed with the Pen­ta­gon to dis­patch the Nation­al Guard urgent­ly, but top Army offi­cials expressed con­cern about hav­ing the Guard at the Capi­tol.

    Fly­nn left the room before the meet­ing was over, antic­i­pat­ing that then-Army Sec­re­tary Ryan McCarthy, who was in anoth­er meet­ing, would soon take action to deploy more guard mem­bers, he said. “I entered the room after the call began and depart­ed pri­or to the call end­ing as I believed a deci­sion was immi­nent from the Sec­re­tary and I need­ed to be in my office to assist in exe­cut­ing the deci­sion,” Fly­nn said.

    The general’s pres­ence dur­ing the call — which has not pre­vi­ous­ly been report­ed — came weeks after his broth­er pub­licly sug­gest­ed that Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump declare mar­tial law and have the U.S. mil­i­tary over­see a redo of the elec­tion.

    The episode high­lights the chal­lenge for the Army in hav­ing an influ­en­tial senior offi­cer whose broth­er has become a cen­tral fig­ure in QAnon, the extreme ide­ol­o­gy that alleges Trump was wag­ing a bat­tle with Satan-wor­ship­ing Democ­rats who traf­fic chil­dren. Michael Fly­nn, who pre­vi­ous­ly ran the Defense Intel­li­gence Agency and left the Army as a three-star gen­er­al, has espoused QAnon mes­sages, and QAnon adher­ents are among those who have been charged in con­nec­tion with the attempt­ed insur­rec­tion. In Novem­ber, Trump announced he had par­doned Fly­nn, who had plead­ed guilty to lying to the FBI.
    The night before the Capi­tol siege, Michael Fly­nn addressed a crowd of Trump sup­port­ers at Free­dom Plaza near the White House, say­ing: “This coun­try is awake tomor­row. . . . The mem­bers, the mem­bers of Con­gress, the mem­bers of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, the mem­bers of the Unit­ed States Sen­ate, those of you who are feel­ing weak tonight . . . we the peo­ple are going to be here, and we want you to know that we will not stand for a lie.”

    “Char­lie Fly­nn is an offi­cer of an incred­i­bly high integri­ty,” McCarthy said

    The tele­con­fer­ence, orga­nized by D.C. offi­cials after author­i­ties already had declared a riot at the Capi­tol, focused on what actions the mil­i­tary could take in response to the vio­lence, with the Capi­tol Police chief plead­ing for help and the act­ing D.C. police chief grow­ing incred­u­lous at the Army’s reluc­tance to engage. The call includ­ed senior Army offi­cials at the urg­ing of Maj. Gen. William J. Walk­er, the com­mand­ing gen­er­al of the D.C. Nation­al Guard, accord­ing to one per­son with direct knowl­edge of the sit­u­a­tion.

    It was at times dif­fi­cult for the par­tic­i­pants of the call to dis­cern which top Army offi­cial was speak­ing. Offi­cials on the call recalled hear­ing two Army lead­ers dis­cussing the “optics” and “visu­al” of hav­ing Nation­al Guard mem­bers respond at the Capi­tol. One of the Army lead­ers described the pro­test­ers as “peace­ful,” and Con­tee respond­ed that “they’re not peace­ful any­more,” two of the offi­cials said.

    One offi­cial direct­ly famil­iar with the sit­u­a­tion said there was con­cern in both the Army and Nation­al Guard about pos­si­ble polit­i­cal fall­out if it was dis­cov­ered that Fly­nn was involved in the Army’s delib­er­a­tions. That is despite it being com­mon­place that the per­son in Flynn’s role would have been involved

    Army offi­cials declined to answer sev­er­al ques­tions about Flynn’s state­ment, includ­ing how long he was in the room dur­ing the call, whether he said any­thing, and if he was the one who described the crowd at the Capi­tol as most­ly peace­ful.

    The Army also declined to answer why it false­ly said for days that Fly­nn, who already has been con­firmed by the Sen­ate for a pro­mo­tion to four-star gen­er­al, was not involved.

    Posted by Mary Benton | January 21, 2021, 3:46 pm
  9. This next CNN Arti­cle from 1-18-2021 by Nel­li Black, Scott Bron­stein, Bob Orte­ga, Ben­jamin Naughton and Yahya Abou-Ghaz­a­la shows how peo­ple who were par­doned by Trump were part of the plot includ­ing Steve Ban­non, Roger Stone and Mike Fly­nn. Also involved were his lawyer Rudy Giu­liani, and a new­com­er whom I am sure we will be hear­ing more about in the future, Ali Alexan­der. This is an excel­lent sum­ma­ry of pub­lic evi­dence.

    https://www.cnn.com/2021/01/18/politics/trump-bannon-stone-giuliani-capitol-riot-invs/index.html

    How Trump allies stoked the flames ahead of Capi­tol riot

    (CNN) — Steve Ban­non evoked the beach­es of Nor­mandy. Michael Fly­nn drew com­par­isons to Civ­il War bat­tle­fields and spoke of Amer­i­cans who died for their coun­try. Roger Stone called it a strug­gle “between the god­ly and the god­less, between good and evil.” Rudy Giu­liani called for “tri­al by com­bat.” Ali Alexan­der said it would be a “knife fight.”

    As 2020 fad­ed into 2021, some of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s most influ­en­tial sup­port­ers — among them mem­bers of his inner cir­cle who were in direct con­tact with the Pres­i­dent — spoke in omi­nous and vio­lent terms about what was com­ing on Jan­u­ary 6.

    Even as anx­ious eyes turn toward the Inau­gu­ra­tion Day on Jan­u­ary 20, the words of these fire­brands in the lead­up to the riots at the Capi­tol raise cru­cial ques­tions about the rela­tion­ship between the rhetoric of far-right fig­ure­heads and the vio­lence that unfold­ed on Jan­u­ary 6.

    “All hell is going to break loose tomor­row,” Ban­non, Trump’s for­mer top White House advis­er, promised lis­ten­ers of his pod­cast — called “War Room” — on Jan­u­ary 5.

    The next day, Trump him­self gave a ram­bling speech near the White House where he claimed the elec­tion “was stolen from you, from me and from the coun­try,” and called on sup­port­ers to “walk down to the Capi­tol.”
    “We are going to cheer on our brave sen­a­tors and con­gress­men and women,” he added, “and we are prob­a­bly not going to be cheer­ing so much for some of them because you will nev­er take back our coun­try with weak­ness.”

    Soon after, a mob of Trump sup­port­ers stormed the US Capi­tol, killing a police offi­cer and assault­ing oth­ers before charg­ing inside — some car­ry­ing weapons and zip-tie hand­cuffs.

    “What we have is influ­en­tial, pow­er­ful peo­ple influ­enc­ing the Pres­i­dent and push­ing out mes­sages that are rad­i­cal­iz­ing large chunks of the pop­u­la­tion,” said Hei­di Beirich, chief strat­e­gy offi­cer for the Glob­al Project Against Hate and Extrem­ism, a non­prof­it orga­ni­za­tion that mon­i­tors extrem­ism around the world. “It’s very dan­ger­ous.”

    To be sure, as a rule most speech that does­n’t con­vey a direct threat or incite “immi­nent law­less action” is pro­tect­ed under the First Amend­ment.

    But experts told CNN they believe Trump and his most vis­i­ble allies bear a great deal of respon­si­bil­i­ty for stok­ing the flames that led to the Jan­u­ary 6 upris­ing.

    “When you are an advis­er to a Pres­i­dent, for­mal or infor­mal, you need to think about the impact of anti-demo­c­ra­t­ic rhetoric,” said John Hudak, an expert on gov­er­nance stud­ies at the Brook­ings Insti­tu­tion. “And the Pres­i­dent him­self, and a lot of the Pres­i­den­t’s sup­port­ers and cer­tain­ly his chil­dren, seem to believe that it is respon­si­ble for a Pres­i­dent and his advis­ers and fam­i­ly to be anti-demo­c­ra­t­ic. That’s a real prob­lem. And we haven’t real­ly expe­ri­enced that in our his­to­ry.”

    Trump has already paid a his­toric price for his words, with the US House on Wednes­day vot­ing to make him the only Amer­i­can pres­i­dent to have been impeached twice — this time for “incite­ment of insur­rec­tion.”

    But while much atten­tion has been paid to Trump’s words in the run up to the breach of the US Capi­tol, less talked about is the fiery rhetoric of his most high-pro­file cham­pi­ons.

    Ban­non and Giu­liani did not respond to requests for com­ment. Stone reject­ed CNN’s ques­tions as “defam­a­to­ry attempts to say that my belief in God and my view of the last elec­tion in apoc­a­lyp­tic terms is some­how incit­ing vio­lence.” Alexan­der argued he had “no involve­ment in the breach of the US Capi­tol.”

    Fly­nn attor­ney Sid­ney Pow­ell, who her­self is fac­ing a defama­tion law­suit over her claims about the elec­tion (she’s denied the alle­ga­tions), insist­ed that Fly­nn “encour­ages patri­o­tism and law­ful polit­i­cal action,” and to sug­gest oth­er­wise is “absolute­ly ludi­crous.”

    Ban­non’s men­ac­ing metaphors

    PHOTO CAPTION: For­mer White House Chief Strate­gist Steve Ban­non exits the Man­hat­tan Fed­er­al Court on August 20, 2020 in the Man­hat­tan bor­ough of New York City.
    In the weeks between the elec­tion and that day, Ban­non and his guests and co-hosts on his “War Room” pod­cast relent­less­ly pro­mot­ed con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries of elec­tion fraud and cast the fight to over­turn the elec­tion results in war-like and often apoc­a­lyp­tic terms.

    Ban­non’s men­ac­ing metaphors first land­ed him in hot water a few days after on Elec­tion Day, when he sug­gest­ed in a video that post­ed to sev­er­al of his social media accounts that, if he were in charge, he would­n’t mere­ly fire FBI Direc­tor Christo­pher Wray and Antho­ny Fau­ci — the US gov­ern­men­t’s top infec­tious dis­ease expert — but would put their heads on pikes “as a warn­ing to fed­er­al bureau­crats.” Twit­ter per­ma­nent­ly sus­pend­ed his account.
    In Decem­ber, Ban­non’s co-host tweet­ed a video of Ban­non speak­ing on “War Room” over­laid with cin­e­mat­ic music and dra­mat­ic images from the famous D‑Day bat­tle scene of “Sav­ing Pri­vate Ryan.” In it, he spoke of the “moral oblig­a­tion” Trump sup­port­ers have to “the kids that died at Nor­mandy.” He added that if they allow Biden — “that feck­less old man” — to win, “I want you to explain that to the 20-year-old kid in the first wave on D‑Day.”
    On Decem­ber 28, Ban­non insist­ed that patri­ot­ic Trump sup­port­ers had to be ready to fight in the spir­it of George Wash­ing­ton’s sol­diers dur­ing the Amer­i­can Rev­o­lu­tion and Amer­i­can sol­diers on D‑Day in World War II. “That’s our DNA, that’s where we come from,” Ban­non said.

    Ban­non began pro­mot­ing the upcom­ing DC protests of Jan­u­ary 6.

    “l’ll tell you this,” Ban­non said the day before the riot. “It’s not going to hap­pen like you think it’s going to hap­pen. OK, it’s going to be quite extra­or­di­nar­i­ly dif­fer­ent. And all I can say is, strap in ... You have made this hap­pen and tomor­row it’s game day. So strap in. Let’s get ready.”

    The pod­casts also point­ed to close coor­di­na­tion with Trump’s team. “You and me were talk­ing almost every day, many times, you know, 10 times a day,” Trump cam­paign advis­er Boris Epshteyn said to Ban­non on Decem­ber 28.

    Mean­while, a senior Trump advis­er con­firmed that the Pres­i­dent and Ban­non have been in com­mu­ni­ca­tion in recent weeks, dis­cussing Trump’s con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries about the elec­tion.

    ‘You either fight with us or you get slashed’

    PHOTO CAPTION Roger Stone, for­mer advis­er to U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, is flanked by secu­ri­ty dur­ing a ral­ly at Free­dom Plaza, ahead of the U.S. Con­gress cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of the Novem­ber 2020 elec­tion results, dur­ing protests in Wash­ing­ton, U.S., Jan­u­ary 5, 2021.
    Just before Christ­mas, Alexan­der — a polit­i­cal activist who has orga­nized pro-Trump ral­lies, includ­ing one of the demon­stra­tions that con­verged on the Capi­tol lawn on Jan­u­ary 6 — used vio­lent metaphors to hint at what was to come in Jan­u­ary when speak­ing to fol­low­ers of his livestream chan­nel on the social media plat­form Periscope. In his free­wheel­ing mono­logue, Alexan­der cred­it­ed Roger Stone, a vet­er­an Repub­li­can oper­a­tive and self-described “dirty trick­ster” whose 40-month prison sen­tence for sev­en felonies was cut short by Trump’s com­mu­ta­tion in July. (He was giv­en a full par­don in Decem­ber).

    “This is some­thing Roger and I have been plan­ning for a long time,” Alexan­der said. “And final­ly, he’s off the leash. So, you know, it’s a knife fight and your two knife fight­ers are Ali Alexan­der and Roger Stone, and you either fight with us or you get slashed. So I’ll let you guys know more about what that means as we evolve.”

    Alexan­der has helped turn the “Stop the Steal” slo­gan that Stone launched on Trump’s behalf dur­ing the 2016 pri­maries into a ral­ly­ing cry for con­ser­v­a­tives around the coun­try.
    At a DC ral­ly on the night of Jan­u­ary 5, Stone took the stage clad in one of his trade­mark pin­stripe suits as a dance track titled “Roger Stone did noth­ing wrong” blared from the speak­ers.
    After repeat­ing the false­hood that the elec­tion was stolen from Trump, Stone, 68, ral­lied the faith­ful with an us-ver­sus-them bat­tle cry.

    “This is noth­ing less than an epic strug­gle for the future of this coun­try between dark and light, between the god­ly and the god­less, between good and evil,” he said. “And we will win this fight or Amer­i­ca will step off into a thou­sand years of dark­ness. We dare not fail. I will be with you tomor­row shoul­der to shoul­der.”

    Stone also has bumped elbows with extrem­ist groups, most notably the Proud Boys. In Sep­tem­ber he endorsed the con­gres­sion­al can­di­da­cy of Nick Ochs, who found­ed the Hawaii chap­ter of the far-right orga­ni­za­tion. Ochs, whose bid for the US House came up short, was arrest­ed for his role in the Capi­tol siege. Law enforce­ment was alert­ed to it by the pho­to Ochs post­ed on Twit­ter of him­self enjoy­ing a cig­a­rette in the build­ing, and by the com­ments he made to a CNN reporter.
    Long a dis­penser of super­charged rhetoric, Stone was not mut­ed by his recent run-in with the law, and was talk­ing about elec­tion fraud even before Novem­ber.

    In Sep­tem­ber, he went on con­spir­a­cy the­o­rist Alex Jones’ show, InfoWars, and the two mused dis­cur­sive­ly about “fake bal­lots,” Big Tech and the Clin­tons.

    “If some­one will study the pres­i­den­t’s author­i­ty in the Insur­rec­tion Act in his abil­i­ty to impose, impose mar­tial law,” Stone said, “if there is wide­spread cheat­ing, he will have the author­i­ty to arrest (Mark) Zucker­berg, to arrest Tim Cook, to arrest the Clin­tons, to arrest any­body else who can be proven to be involved in ille­gal activ­i­ty.”

    War analo­gies abound

    PHOTO CAPTION: For­mer US Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Advi­sor Michael Fly­nn speaks to sup­port­ers of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump dur­ing the Mil­lion MAGA March to protest the out­come of the 2020 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion in front of the US Supreme Court on Decem­ber 12, 2020 in Wash­ing­ton, DC.
    For his part, Jones has joined “Stop the Steal” efforts since the Novem­ber elec­tion and used inflam­ma­to­ry, dark rhetoric to bol­ster the move­men­t’s false claims.

    Two days after elec­tion day, Jones said, “We are in the attempt­ed over­throw of our coun­try.” When a guest on the show men­tioned peo­ple show­ing up in per­son to protest the count­ing of votes, Jones drew a com­par­i­son to World War II.

    “It’s like when Hitler was bomb­ing Lon­don, most Brits were against a war because they had World War I. But once Hitler bombed them, over 95% said let’s go to war,” he said. “This is a war. This is not reg­u­lar times.”

    Jones did not respond to CNN’s request for com­ment.

    Also employ­ing war analo­gies is anoth­er ben­e­fi­cia­ry of Trump’s par­don pow­ers — Michael T. Fly­nn, Trump’s for­mer nation­al secu­ri­ty advis­er.

    Speak­ing to a fired-up crowd at the DC ral­ly on Jan­u­ary 5, Fly­nn — who was par­doned by Trump in Novem­ber after he plead­ed guilty to lying to the FBI about his con­ver­sa­tions with a Russ­ian diplo­mat — man­aged to pack elec­tion-fraud con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries, vio­lent innu­en­do and a call to action into a cou­ple of sen­tences.

    “In some of these states, we have more dead vot­ers than are buried on the bat­tle­fields of Get­tys­burg, or the bat­tle­fields of Vicks­burg, or the bat­tle­fields of Nor­mandy,” he said. “Those of you who are feel­ing weak tonight, those of you that don’t have the moral fiber in your body, get some tonight because tomor­row, we the peo­ple are going to be here, and we want you to know that we will not stand for a lie.”

    Much of the rhetoric lead­ing up to the riot has been draped in the lan­guage of exis­ten­tial threat.

    Speak­ing at a Jan­u­ary 6 ral­ly just before the siege, Rudy Giu­liani — Trump’s per­son­al attor­ney — spoke in grandiose terms about the stakes at hand.

    “This is big­ger than Don­ald Trump,” he said. “It’s big­ger than you and me. It’s about these mon­u­ments and what they stand for. This has been a year in which they have invad­ed our free­dom of speech, our free­dom of reli­gion, our free­dom to move, our free­dom to live. I’ll be darned if they’re going to take away our free and fair vote. And we’re going to fight to the very end to make sure that does­n’t hap­pen.”

    His men­tion of “tri­al by com­bat” was cit­ed by the New York State Bar Asso­ci­a­tion, which has launched an inquiry into Giu­liani to deter­mine whether he should be expelled from the group.
    “Mr. Giu­lian­i’s words quite clear­ly were intend­ed to encour­age Trump sup­port­ers unhap­py with the elec­tion’s out­come to take mat­ters into their own hands,” the group said in a state­ment. “Their sub­se­quent attack on the Capi­tol was noth­ing short of an attempt­ed coup, intend­ed to pre­vent the peace­ful tran­si­tion of pow­er.”

    Experts con­cerned that incite­ment is far from over

    John Scott-Rail­ton, a researcher at Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to’s Cit­i­zen Lab who now works with oth­ers to iden­ti­fy extrem­ist groups who were part of the Capi­tol mob, said the rhetoric plays into the fan­tasies of armed pro­test­ers who have been gun­ning for a civ­il war.

    “They’re ready — it’s what they’ve been pranc­ing around in the woods, play­ing dress up, prepar­ing for,” he said. “I’m just ter­ri­bly wor­ried that they weren’t sat­is­fied with what hap­pened on the sixth, and they’re going to come back for more.”

    As for Ban­non, the tenor of his pod­cast took a turn once the vio­lence start­ed unfold­ing.

    On the morn­ing of Jan­u­ary 6, before the ral­ly and march on the Capi­tol, Ban­non echoed Stone’s words by say­ing the day would be a bat­tle between “the chil­dren of light and the forces of dark­ness.”

    But the pod­cast’s tone shift­ed sharply as footage of the vio­lence at the Capi­tol was broad­cast nation­wide. Even as Ban­non and his co-pod­cast­ers con­tin­ued to describe Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence as a trai­tor, they absolved Trump and them­selves from any respon­si­bil­i­ty for foment­ing vio­lence.

    “What’s going on right now was choic­es made by indi­vid­u­als who are fed up with what they’ve seen hap­pen,” said right-wing activist Ben Bergquam on a War Room episode lat­er that same day. “When I’m talk­ing to peo­ple on the ground, that is what I’m hear­ing over and over and over again, it has noth­ing to do with Pres­i­dent Trump’s words.”

    Oren Segal, vice pres­i­dent of the Cen­ter on Extrem­ism at the Anti-Defama­tion League, said any­one pay­ing atten­tion knew the events on Jan­u­ary 6 would be a mag­net for angry peo­ple. The vio­lence of extrem­ists, he added, has his­tor­i­cal­ly been sparked by a fear that some­thing is being tak­en away — be it a White major­i­ty, guns or a way of life.

    “Whether it’s ille­gal or not, peo­ple have got­ta know bet­ter,” he said. “You don’t have to be a genius to know how peo­ple are incit­ed by words.”

    CNN’s Nel­li Black, Scott Bron­stein, Bob Orte­ga, Ben­jamin Naughton and Yahya Abou-Ghaz­a­la con­tributed to this report.

    Posted by Mary Benton | January 21, 2021, 3:59 pm
  10. One of the most bizarre things about the Cap­i­tal Insur­rec­tion is when Jacob Chans­ley, the man who paint­ed his face in red, white and blue, was shirt­less and had a Viking hat led a Chris­t­ian prayer from the Sen­ate floor podi­um. This on the sur­face appeared to be pure luna­cy but actu­al­ly there was a sub-rosa strat­e­gy behind this.

    Jacob Antho­ny Chans­ley, 33, is a well-known sup­port­er of the QAnon con­spir­a­cy in his home state of Ari­zona, where he is a failed actor and lives with his mom.

    The ‘QAnon shaman’ who stormed the Capi­tol build­ing dur­ing last week’s riot wear­ing a fur hat with horns and face paint was kicked out of the Navy in 2007 for refus­ing to take an anthrax vac­cine, it has been revealed.

    Chans­ley had also been plan­ning to return to Wash­ing­ton DC to cre­ate a dis­tur­bance at Joe Biden’s inau­gu­ra­tion before he was arrest­ed Sat­ur­day, accord­ing to fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tors. 

    The arti­cle states “In that pho­to, Chans­ley held a sign that read, ‘HOLD THE LINE PATRIOTS GOD WINS.’” I believe this is part of a strat­e­gy for the under­ground Reich to tar­get fun­da­men­tal­ist Chris­t­ian nation­al­ists to sup­port fas­cist caus­es.

    The MOST SIGNIFICANT CLUE in the arti­cle stat­ed “One of his tat­toos is said to show the sym­bol of Wotanism, an acronym for ‘Will of the Aryan Nation.’”

    ‘I obey the orders of the pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States,’ he said. 

    https://mol.im/a/9176681

    Posted by Mary Benton | January 24, 2021, 12:11 pm
  11. Don­ald Trump gave what may be an Aryan Fist Pump/ White Pow­er Sym­bol as he board­ed Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House while he made his final exit from the White House en-route to his Mar-a-Lago Flori­da Resort.
    See pic­ture # 5 out of 28 https://www.afr.com/world/north-america/in-pictures-trumps-fist-pump-as-biden-takes-charge-20210121-h1ti9o

    Sen­a­tor Josh Haw­ley who tried to delay the Sen­ate Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of the Elec­tion for Joe Biden also has a fist pump on Jan­u­ary 6 to the crowd before they rushed the Cap­i­tal. The arti­cle inter­pret­ed it as a show of sol­i­dar­i­ty for Pres­i­dent Trump. Look near the bot­tom of the arti­cle for the fist pump pic­ture.
    https://www.kansascity.com/news/politics-government/article248354085.html

    My ques­tion is if this was an Aryan Fist Pump iden­ti­fied by the ADL and it sug­gests Under­ground Reich loy­al­ties more than sim­ple pro-Trump loy­al­ties:

    Posted by Mary Benton | January 24, 2021, 12:29 pm
  12. The Wash­ing­ton Post has a new report giv­ing us more details on the time­line of actions, or lack of actions, in the chain of com­mand over­see­ing the DC Nation­al Guard dur­ing the Jan­u­ary 6 storm­ing of the Capi­tol. It’s more or less in line with what we already knew, but with more details about the nature of the obstruc­tions in the chain-of-com­mand that cre­at­ed the mul­ti-hour delays in order­ing in the Guard while a pro-Trump mob scours the Capi­tol for mem­bers of Con­gress. As the report describes, the obstruc­tions were large­ly put in place in advance, includ­ing remov­ing the abil­i­ty of the head of the DC Nation­al Guard, Maj. Gen. William J. Walk­er, to inde­pen­dent­ly send in emer­gency forces with­out first get­ting per­mis­sion from the Pen­ta­gon. And many of these restric­tions were pub­licly known in advance too, with a senior US offi­cial telling the Wash­ing­ton Post on Jan 5 that the mil­i­tary would be “absolute­ly nowhere near the Capi­tol build­ing”. This was in response to what was then the grow­ing con­cerns that then-Pres­i­dent Trump would do some­thing as extreme as declar­ing mar­tial law in order to force a new elec­tion or worse.

    And then, after the Capi­tol police for­mal­ly request­ed the Nation­al Guard (a for­mal request that, itself, came in late at 1:49 PM, well after the Guard was clear­ly need­ed), the deci­sion at the Pen­ta­gon to ulti­mate­ly release the troops was appar­ent­ly being wres­tled over on a phone call described by par­tic­i­pants as “chaot­ic”, where con­cerns of the ‘optics’ of send­ing in the Guard weighed heav­i­ly on top Pen­ta­gon offi­cials. Oh, and it turns out one of the par­tic­i­pants of the chaot­ic phone call includ­ed Charles Fly­nn, broth­er of Michael Fly­nn. So appar­ent sen­si­tiv­i­ties over the heavy-hand­ed use of the Nation­al Guard by Trump to quell police bru­tal­i­ty protests in the sum­mer of 2020 were appar­ent­ly the excuse used to first pre­emp­tive­ly restrict the abil­i­ty of the Nation­al Guard com­man­ders to respond quick­ly to emer­gen­cies and then con­tin­u­ing hold­ing back the Guard after the request was final­ly made:

    The Wash­ing­ton Post

    Pen­ta­gon restrict­ed com­man­der of D.C. Guard ahead of Capi­tol riot

    By Paul Sonne
    Jan. 26, 2021 at 11:00 p.m. UTC

    The com­man­der of the D.C. Nation­al Guard said the Pen­ta­gon restrict­ed his author­i­ty ahead of the riot at the U.S. Capi­tol, requir­ing high­er-lev­el sign-off to respond that cost time as the events that day spi­raled out of con­trol.

    Local com­man­ders typ­i­cal­ly have the pow­er to take mil­i­tary action on their own to save lives or pre­vent sig­nif­i­cant prop­er­ty dam­age in an urgent sit­u­a­tion when there isn’t enough time to obtain approval from head­quar­ters.

    But Maj. Gen. William J. Walk­er, the com­mand­ing gen­er­al of the Dis­trict of Colum­bia Nation­al Guard, said the Pen­ta­gon essen­tial­ly took that pow­er and oth­er author­i­ties away from him ahead of the short-lived insur­rec­tion on Jan. 6. That meant he couldn’t imme­di­ate­ly roll out troops when he received a pan­icked phone call from the Capi­tol Police chief warn­ing that riot­ers were about to enter the U.S. Capi­tol.

    “All mil­i­tary com­man­ders nor­mal­ly have imme­di­ate response author­i­ty to pro­tect prop­er­ty, life, and in my case, fed­er­al func­tions — fed­er­al prop­er­ty and life,” Walk­er said in an inter­view. “But in this instance I did not have that author­i­ty.”

    Walk­er and for­mer Army sec­re­tary Ryan D. McCarthy, along with oth­er top offi­cials, briefed the House Appro­pri­a­tions Com­mit­tee on Tues­day behind closed doors about the events, the begin­ning of what is like­ly to become a robust con­gres­sion­al inquiry into the prepa­ra­tions for a ral­ly that devolved into a riot at the Capi­tol, result­ing in five peo­ple dead and rep­re­sent­ing a sig­nif­i­cant secu­ri­ty fail­ure.

    The mil­i­tary, which isn’t struc­tured to be a first respon­der like law enforce­ment, took hours to arrive at the scene pri­mar­i­ly because the Capi­tol Police and the Dis­trict gov­ern­ment hadn’t asked the D.C. Guard to pre­pare a con­tin­gency force for a riot. The Capi­tol Police chief also didn’t call Walk­er to tell him a request for Guard back­up was immi­nent until about 25 min­utes before riot­ers breached the Capi­tol.

    But the restric­tions the Pen­ta­gon placed on Walk­er also con­tributed to the delay. He need­ed to wait for approval from McCarthy and act­ing defense sec­re­tary Christo­pher C. Miller before dis­patch­ing troops, even though some 40 sol­diers were on stand­by as a quick reac­tion force. That stand­by force had been assem­bled in case the few hun­dred Guard mem­bers deployed that day on the District’s streets to assist police with traf­fic con­trol and crowd man­age­ment need­ed help, Walk­er said.

    The Pen­ta­gon required the high­est-lev­el approval for any moves beyond that nar­row mis­sion, in part because its lead­ers had been lam­bast­ed for actions the D.C. Guard took dur­ing last June’s racial jus­tice protests, includ­ing heli­copters that flew low over demon­stra­tors in D.C. Top offi­cials con­clud­ed those maneu­vers result­ed from “frag­men­tary orders” that hadn’t received high-lev­el approval and were look­ing to pre­vent a repeat of that sit­u­a­tion.

    “After June, the author­i­ties were pulled back up to the sec­re­tary of defense’s office,” McCarthy said in com­ments to The Wash­ing­ton Post. “Any time we would employ troops and guards­men in the city, you had to go through a rig­or­ous process. As you recall, there were events in the sum­mer that got a lot of atten­tion, and that was part of this.”

    McCarthy said he worked hard to ensure author­i­ty was pushed back down the chain of com­mand to Walk­er ahead of the inau­gu­ra­tion, dur­ing which Walk­er over­saw the 25,600 troops that came to the Dis­trict. As for the prepa­ra­tions ahead of Jan. 6, McCarthy said, “It was every­one just being very care­ful. When you go back to times when we’ve done this, like June, we want­ed to make sure we were very care­ful about the employ­ment — care­ful about frag­men­tary orders.”

    Had he not been restrict­ed, Walk­er said he could have dis­patched mem­bers of the D.C. Guard soon­er. Asked how quick­ly troops could have reached the Capi­tol, which is two miles from the D.C. Guard head­quar­ters at the Armory, Walk­er said, “With all delib­er­ate speed — I mean, they’re right down the street.”

    Still, even if Walk­er had been able to send the troops on stand­by to the Capi­tol imme­di­ate­ly, and round up oth­ers in the Dis­trict, it’s unclear how much that would have affect­ed the sit­u­a­tion, giv­en the large size of the mob and the last-minute nature of the call for help.

    Walk­er recalled how Capi­tol Police Chief Steven Sund, who has since resigned, asked him on a call in the run-up to Jan. 6 to have Nation­al Guard troops at the ready.

    “All he said was, ‘If I call you, will you be able to help?’?” Walk­er said. “And I said, ‘Yes, but I need per­mis­sion. So send a for­mal request,’ and I nev­er got it, until after the fact.”

    The request came, but only at 1:49 p.m. the day of the attempt­ed insur­rec­tion. Sund called Walk­er to say riot­ers were about to breach the build­ing and the Capi­tol Police would soon request urgent back­up.

    “I told him I had to get per­mis­sion from the sec­re­tary of the Army and I would send him all avail­able guards­men but as soon as I got per­mis­sion to do so,” Walk­er said. “I sent a mes­sage to the lead­er­ship of the Army, let­ting them know the request that I had received from Chief Sund.”

    Per­mis­sion from the Pen­ta­gon to acti­vate the full D.C. Guard wouldn’t come for anoth­er hour and fif­teen min­utes, accord­ing to a Defense Depart­ment time­line of events, as mem­bers of Con­gress bar­ri­cad­ed them­selves in their offices and hid from a maraud­ing horde try­ing to undo the results of the Nov. 3 elec­tion. It would take near­ly three hours before Miller autho­rized the D.C. Guard to “re-mis­sion” and help the Capi­tol Police estab­lish a perime­ter around the Capi­tol.

    In the mean­time, Sund dialed into a phone call with the Pen­ta­gon.

    In an inter­view with The Post, Sund recalled Army staff direc­tor, Lt. Gen. Wal­ter Piatt, say­ing, “I don’t like the visu­al of the Nation­al Guard stand­ing a police line with the Capi­tol in the back­ground.”

    Piatt, in a state­ment, ini­tial­ly said he didn’t make those remarks or any com­ments sim­i­lar to them. Lat­er, he back­tracked, say­ing he didn’t recall cit­ing such con­cerns but note-tak­ers in the room told him he may have said that. Piatt, who wasn’t in the chain of com­mand, was lead­ing the call while wait­ing for the Army sec­re­tary to receive approval for the full acti­va­tion of the D.C. Guard from Miller.

    Walk­er said a lot of peo­ple were on the chaot­ic call.

    “There was some talk about optics, but I can’t assign that to one per­son,” Walk­er said. “From the Army lead­er­ship, there were quite a few peo­ple on the call. ... It’s clear that some­body talked about the optics. Who said that? I’m not sure.”

    Asked if the D.C. Guard lead­er­ship kept a record of the call, Walk­er said it wasn’t record­ed but Guard offi­cials memo­ri­al­ized the con­ver­sa­tion in notes known as a mem­o­ran­dum for record.

    In the days before the protest, all the liv­ing for­mer defense sec­re­taries warned the Pen­ta­gon not to get involved in the peace­ful tran­si­tion of pow­er, after reports that for­mer nation­al secu­ri­ty advis­er Michael Fly­nn had raised the pos­si­bil­i­ty with Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump of declar­ing mar­tial law to “rerun” the elec­tion.

    The day before the Jan. 6 event, a senior U.S. offi­cial told The Post the mil­i­tary had “learned its les­son” after being rebuked over Trump’s heavy-hand­ed response to racial jus­tice protests last year. The offi­cial, who spoke on the con­di­tion of anonymi­ty to dis­cuss the details of the prepa­ra­tions, said the mil­i­tary would be “absolute­ly nowhere near the Capi­tol build­ing” because “we don’t want to send the wrong mes­sage.”

    Pen­ta­gon offi­cials were also con­cerned that send­ing Guard troops who answered to the pres­i­dent into the Capi­tol dur­ing the riot could give the impres­sion that the mil­i­tary was aid­ing Trump’s sup­port­ers in a coup. Senior defense offi­cials said fed­er­al law enforce­ment should always be in the lead clear­ing build­ings, rather than sol­diers, who shouldn’t be the tip of the spear on U.S. soil.

    Mem­bers of the D.C. Guard ulti­mate­ly arrived at the Capi­tol around 5:30 p.m. and helped estab­lish a perime­ter around the grounds. D.C. May­or Muriel E. Bows­er (D) first called McCarthy, the Army sec­re­tary, to request an unspec­i­fied num­ber of troops at the scene four hours ear­li­er.

    “Do I wish I could have got there soon­er?” Walk­er said. “Of course. I mean, I think every­body does. I absolute­ly wish I could have got there soon­er. But, you know, I fol­low orders, and those mak­ing the deci­sion went through a deci­sion-mak­ing process.”

    Whether the Guard could have arrived soon­er at this point is “prob­a­bly axiomat­ic,” Walk­er said. “Here’s what I want you to know: We got there and we made a dif­fer­ence upon arrival.”

    Because the Dis­trict is not a state, the pres­i­dent tech­ni­cal­ly con­trols the D.C. Guard but defers his pow­er to the defense sec­re­tary and Army sec­re­tary.

    Mem­os obtained by The Post show how tight­ly the Pen­ta­gon restrict­ed Walk­er ahead of the events.

    In a Jan. 5 memo, the Army sec­re­tary, who is Walker’s direct supe­ri­or in the chain of com­mand, pro­hib­it­ed him from deploy­ing the quick reac­tion force com­posed of 40 sol­diers on his own and said any roll­out of that stand­by group would first require a “con­cept of oper­a­tion,” an excep­tion­al require­ment giv­en that the force is sup­posed to respond to emer­gen­cies.

    McCarthy was also restrict­ed by his supe­ri­or, Miller. In a Jan. 4 memo, McCarthy was pro­hib­it­ed from deploy­ing D.C. Guard mem­bers with weapons, hel­mets, body armor or riot con­trol agents with­out defense sec­re­tary approval. McCarthy retained the pow­er to deploy the quick reac­tion force “only as a last resort.”

    Miller, in a recent inter­view with Van­i­ty Fair, dis­missed accu­sa­tions that the Defense Depart­ment dragged its feet in rolling out the Guard. “Oh, that is com­plete horse—-,” Miller said, con­tend­ing the Pen­ta­gon lead­er­ship “had their game togeth­er.”

    Top Pen­ta­gon offi­cials said they didn’t deploy the quick reac­tion force dur­ing the riot because they hadn’t approved a “con­cept of oper­a­tions” ahead of time with the Capi­tol Police.

    Walk­er said one take­away from the Jan. 6 riot should be that when in doubt, city and fed­er­al author­i­ties should always err on the side of request­ing a con­tin­gency of Nation­al Guard troops to be at the ready in advance, even if they don’t end up being used.

    Ahead of the event, Bows­er made a nar­row request for a D.C. Guard pres­ence, result­ing in about 340 per­son­nel to help with traf­fic and crowd man­age­ment and anoth­er 40 in the quick reac­tion force. In a let­ter, she cit­ed the administration’s prob­lem­at­ic deploy­ment of fed­er­al agents with­out insignia on the streets last year and said the Dis­trict wasn’t request­ing any addi­tion­al sup­port.

    Days after the vio­lence, Walk­er was tasked with over­see­ing the Guard mem­bers who fil­tered into the cap­i­tal from across the nation to secure the inau­gu­ra­tion. Walk­er said the Capi­tol Police have request­ed a con­tin­gent of about 7,000 of the 25,600 troops to stay until at least March 12.

    ...

    ———–

    “Pen­ta­gon restrict­ed com­man­der of D.C. Guard ahead of Capi­tol riot” by Paul Sonne; The Wash­ing­ton Post; 01/26/2021

    “Walk­er and for­mer Army sec­re­tary Ryan D. McCarthy, along with oth­er top offi­cials, briefed the House Appro­pri­a­tions Com­mit­tee on Tues­day behind closed doors about the events, the begin­ning of what is like­ly to become a robust con­gres­sion­al inquiry into the prepa­ra­tions for a ral­ly that devolved into a riot at the Capi­tol, result­ing in five peo­ple dead and rep­re­sent­ing a sig­nif­i­cant secu­ri­ty fail­ure.”

    As we can see, there was no short­age of dis­turb­ing rev­e­la­tions when Maj. Gen. William J. Walk­er, the com­mand­ing gen­er­al of the Dis­trict of Colum­bia Nation­al Guard, and for­mer Army sec­re­tary Ryan D. McCarthy kicked off the con­gres­sion­al inquiry into the Jan 6 insur­rec­tion. A day when stan­dard oper­at­ing pro­ce­dures for the Nation­al Guard were not in oper­a­tion and local com­man­ders had their pow­ers to take emer­gency mil­i­tary action pre­emp­tive­ly restrict­ed by the Pen­ta­gon lead­er­ship. Restric­tions that were put in place, in part, because of con­cerns of a repeat of the heavy-hand­ed use of the Nation­al Guard in the sum­mer of 2020 to quell police bru­tal­i­ty protests. So fears of repeat­ing Trump’s pri­or abus­es of pow­er played into the deci­sions to pre­emp­tive­ly hold back the Guard:

    ...
    Local com­man­ders typ­i­cal­ly have the pow­er to take mil­i­tary action on their own to save lives or pre­vent sig­nif­i­cant prop­er­ty dam­age in an urgent sit­u­a­tion when there isn’t enough time to obtain approval from head­quar­ters.

    But Maj. Gen. William J. Walk­er, the com­mand­ing gen­er­al of the Dis­trict of Colum­bia Nation­al Guard, said the Pen­ta­gon essen­tial­ly took that pow­er and oth­er author­i­ties away from him ahead of the short-lived insur­rec­tion on Jan. 6. That meant he couldn’t imme­di­ate­ly roll out troops when he received a pan­icked phone call from the Capi­tol Police chief warn­ing that riot­ers were about to enter the U.S. Capi­tol.

    ...

    But the restric­tions the Pen­ta­gon placed on Walk­er also con­tributed to the delay. He need­ed to wait for approval from McCarthy and act­ing defense sec­re­tary Christo­pher C. Miller before dis­patch­ing troops, even though some 40 sol­diers were on stand­by as a quick reac­tion force. That stand­by force had been assem­bled in case the few hun­dred Guard mem­bers deployed that day on the District’s streets to assist police with traf­fic con­trol and crowd man­age­ment need­ed help, Walk­er said.

    The Pen­ta­gon required the high­est-lev­el approval for any moves beyond that nar­row mis­sion, in part because its lead­ers had been lam­bast­ed for actions the D.C. Guard took dur­ing last June’s racial jus­tice protests, includ­ing heli­copters that flew low over demon­stra­tors in D.C. Top offi­cials con­clud­ed those maneu­vers result­ed from “frag­men­tary orders” that hadn’t received high-lev­el approval and were look­ing to pre­vent a repeat of that sit­u­a­tion.
    ...

    And yet, even if we accept at face val­ue the con­cerns over optics as a rea­son for the pre­emp­tive moves to restrict the abil­i­ty of the local com­man­ders to call in emer­gency troops on their own, that still does­n’t explain the mul­ti-hour delays in secur­ing the high­er-up author­i­ty when the request was final­ly made. We have DC police chief Sund mak­ing a request to the DC Nation­al Guard chief Walk­er at 1:49 PM (already way too late). Then Walk­er asks for author­i­ty from the Army lead­er­ship and does­n’t receive a response for anoth­er hour and fif­teen min­utes. And it’s ulti­mate­ly three hours for act­ing defense sec­re­tary Christo­pher Miller gives the autho­riza­tion:

    ...
    Walk­er recalled how Capi­tol Police Chief Steven Sund, who has since resigned, asked him on a call in the run-up to Jan. 6 to have Nation­al Guard troops at the ready.

    “All he said was, ‘If I call you, will you be able to help?’?” Walk­er said. “And I said, ‘Yes, but I need per­mis­sion. So send a for­mal request,’ and I nev­er got it, until after the fact.”

    The request came, but only at 1:49 p.m. the day of the attempt­ed insur­rec­tion. Sund called Walk­er to say riot­ers were about to breach the build­ing and the Capi­tol Police would soon request urgent back­up.

    “I told him I had to get per­mis­sion from the sec­re­tary of the Army and I would send him all avail­able guards­men but as soon as I got per­mis­sion to do so,” Walk­er said. “I sent a mes­sage to the lead­er­ship of the Army, let­ting them know the request that I had received from Chief Sund.”

    Per­mis­sion from the Pen­ta­gon to acti­vate the full D.C. Guard wouldn’t come for anoth­er hour and fif­teen min­utes, accord­ing to a Defense Depart­ment time­line of events, as mem­bers of Con­gress bar­ri­cad­ed them­selves in their offices and hid from a maraud­ing horde try­ing to undo the results of the Nov. 3 elec­tion. It would take near­ly three hours before Miller autho­rized the D.C. Guard to “re-mis­sion” and help the Capi­tol Police estab­lish a perime­ter around the Capi­tol.

    In the mean­time, Sund dialed into a phone call with the Pen­ta­gon.
    ...

    Why the absurd delay in giv­ing the autho­riza­tion? Optics. That’s the expla­na­tion, we’re giv­en, where extreme con­cerns inside the Pen­ta­gon led to the deci­sions to pre­emp­tive­ly restrict the abil­i­ty of local com­man­ders to send in even the emer­gency troops, because “we don’t want to send the wrong mes­sage”. And this extreme appre­hen­sive­ness on the part of the Pen­ta­gon was pub­licly acknowl­edged by the Pen­ta­gon to the Wash­ing­ton Post on Jan 5, a day before the riot. It rais­es the ques­tion of whether or not these pub­lic mes­sages in advance of Jan 6 about how the Pen­ta­gon was plan­ning on hav­ing a min­i­mal pres­ence on the Capi­tol that day, despite all the warn­ings of pos­si­ble vio­lence, were tak­en by the insur­rec­tion­ists as a kind of pub­lic ‘green light’ to pro­ceed with the insur­rec­tion:

    ...
    In the days before the protest, all the liv­ing for­mer defense sec­re­taries warned the Pen­ta­gon not to get involved in the peace­ful tran­si­tion of pow­er, after reports that for­mer nation­al secu­ri­ty advis­er Michael Fly­nn had raised the pos­si­bil­i­ty with Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump of declar­ing mar­tial law to “rerun” the elec­tion.

    The day before the Jan. 6 event, a senior U.S. offi­cial told The Post the mil­i­tary had “learned its les­son” after being rebuked over Trump’s heavy-hand­ed response to racial jus­tice protests last year. The offi­cial, who spoke on the con­di­tion of anonymi­ty to dis­cuss the details of the prepa­ra­tions, said the mil­i­tary would be “absolute­ly nowhere near the Capi­tol build­ing” because “we don’t want to send the wrong mes­sage.”

    Pen­ta­gon offi­cials were also con­cerned that send­ing Guard troops who answered to the pres­i­dent into the Capi­tol dur­ing the riot could give the impres­sion that the mil­i­tary was aid­ing Trump’s sup­port­ers in a coup. Senior defense offi­cials said fed­er­al law enforce­ment should always be in the lead clear­ing build­ings, rather than sol­diers, who shouldn’t be the tip of the spear on U.S. soil.

    ...

    Mem­os obtained by The Post show how tight­ly the Pen­ta­gon restrict­ed Walk­er ahead of the events.

    In a Jan. 5 memo, the Army sec­re­tary, who is Walker’s direct supe­ri­or in the chain of com­mand, pro­hib­it­ed him from deploy­ing the quick reac­tion force com­posed of 40 sol­diers on his own and said any roll­out of that stand­by group would first require a “con­cept of oper­a­tion,” an excep­tion­al require­ment giv­en that the force is sup­posed to respond to emer­gen­cies.

    McCarthy was also restrict­ed by his supe­ri­or, Miller. In a Jan. 4 memo, McCarthy was pro­hib­it­ed from deploy­ing D.C. Guard mem­bers with weapons, hel­mets, body armor or riot con­trol agents with­out defense sec­re­tary approval. McCarthy retained the pow­er to deploy the quick reac­tion force “only as a last resort.”

    ...

    Top Pen­ta­gon offi­cials said they didn’t deploy the quick reac­tion force dur­ing the riot because they hadn’t approved a “con­cept of oper­a­tions” ahead of time with the Capi­tol Police.
    ...

    But then there’s Gen­er­al Walk­er’s the poten­tial­ly high­ly explo­sive phone call with the Pen­ta­gon, described as “chaot­ic” and with a large num­ber of par­tic­i­pants. Who was on the phone call and what were they argu­ing? All we are told is that there were con­cerns by many, includ­ing Army staff direc­tor, Lt. Gen. Wal­ter Piatt, over the ‘optics’ of send­ing in the Nation­al Guard to back up the Capi­tol police. This con­ver­sa­tion about ‘optics’ was, of course, hap­pen­ing while images of a ran­sacked Capi­tol were broad­cast across the world:

    ...
    In the mean­time, Sund dialed into a phone call with the Pen­ta­gon.

    In an inter­view with The Post, Sund recalled Army staff direc­tor, Lt. Gen. Wal­ter Piatt, say­ing, “I don’t like the visu­al of the Nation­al Guard stand­ing a police line with the Capi­tol in the back­ground.”

    Piatt, in a state­ment, ini­tial­ly said he didn’t make those remarks or any com­ments sim­i­lar to them. Lat­er, he back­tracked, say­ing he didn’t recall cit­ing such con­cerns but note-tak­ers in the room told him he may have said that. Piatt, who wasn’t in the chain of com­mand, was lead­ing the call while wait­ing for the Army sec­re­tary to receive approval for the full acti­va­tion of the D.C. Guard from Miller.

    Walk­er said a lot of peo­ple were on the chaot­ic call.

    “There was some talk about optics, but I can’t assign that to one per­son,” Walk­er said. “From the Army lead­er­ship, there were quite a few peo­ple on the call. ... It’s clear that some­body talked about the optics. Who said that? I’m not sure.”

    Asked if the D.C. Guard lead­er­ship kept a record of the call, Walk­er said it wasn’t record­ed but Guard offi­cials memo­ri­al­ized the con­ver­sa­tion in notes known as a mem­o­ran­dum for record.
    ...

    Who was on that chaot­ic phone call at the Pen­ta­gon and what were they argu­ing? That remains a big open ques­tion in this inquiry, although we have some answers already. For exam­ple, the Pen­ta­gon was ini­tial­ly deny­ing that Lt. Gen. Charles Fly­nn — broth­er of Michael Fly­nn — was on that phone call. But now we’re learn­ing that, yes, Charles was on the call. Although he claims he was only on for four min­utes and did­n’t say any­thing but oth­ers on the call are telling reporters oth­er­wise. So we know the broth­er of Michael Fly­nn — one of the biggest pub­lic back­ers of the idea of Trump declar­ing mar­tial law — was on the Pen­ta­gon phone call, we know his pres­ence on the call was ini­tial­ly hid­den, and we know that he’s con­tin­u­ing to hide what he said on the call. But we still don’t know what he said. So hope­ful­ly inves­ti­ga­tors will be get­ting some answers to the ques­tion of what Charles Fly­nn actu­al­ly said on that phone call, along with the rest of the call par­tic­i­pants, because it sounds like the argu­ment over whether or not to send in troops dur­ing that phone call may have been a major fac­tor in the mul­ti-hour delay:

    The Wash­ing­ton Post

    Lt. Gen. Charles Fly­nn denies rela­tion­ship with broth­er Michael Fly­nn was a fac­tor in military’s response to Capi­tol attack

    By Dan Lamothe and Paul Sonne
    Jan. 21, 2021 at 6:04 p.m. CST

    Army Lt. Gen. Charles Fly­nn, the broth­er of con­tro­ver­sial for­mer nation­al secu­ri­ty advis­er Michael Fly­nn, on Thurs­day defend­ed his actions in the U.S. military’s delib­er­a­tions over how to respond to the assault on the Capi­tol, say­ing he was on a key call for only four min­utes and deny­ing that he lied to staffers about it.

    Charles Fly­nn also reject­ed the notion that his rela­tion­ship with his broth­er, a retired Army lieu­tenant gen­er­al who sug­gest­ed that Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump should “rerun” the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion and could declare mar­tial law, was a fac­tor in his response. “Sug­gest­ing that my brother’s rela­tion­ship would some­how influ­ence my actions — I cat­e­gor­i­cal­ly deny,” Fly­nn said in a con­fer­ence call with reporters. “And I take it as a bit of a ques­tion­ing of my integri­ty. So those are my thoughts on that.”

    The com­ments came after Fly­nn issued a state­ment to The Wash­ing­ton Post on Wednes­day that stat­ed he had been in the room dur­ing a tense call in which oth­er agen­cies respond­ing to the dead­ly riot on Jan. 6 plead­ed for the Nation­al Guard to inter­vene imme­di­ate­ly. The Army had denied for days that Fly­nn was involved in the meet­ing.

    The gen­er­al, who will soon be pro­mot­ed to a four-star offi­cer, said he could not remem­ber whether he said any­thing on the call. “I do not recall say­ing any­thing in the con­fer­ence, but I may have, and I just don’t recall say­ing any­thing to the audi­ence on the oth­er end,” he said. Oth­er par­tic­i­pants on the call have told The Post they heard Fly­nn speak.

    The com­ments from Fly­nn, the Army’s deputy chief of staff for oper­a­tions, plans and train­ing, as well as from Lt. Gen. Wal­ter E. Piatt, the direc­tor of Army staff, were arranged as the ser­vice scram­bled to respond to ques­tions about Flynn’s acknowl­edg­ment Wednes­day.

    Ear­li­er Thurs­day, the Army offered The Post an inter­view with the two gen­er­als, before shift­ing gears five min­utes before the sched­uled time and hold­ing a con­fer­ence call with sev­er­al media orga­ni­za­tions instead.

    The Army’s response con­tin­ued to shift dur­ing the con­fer­ence call.

    In an Jan. 10 inter­view with The Post, Capi­tol Police Chief Steven Sund, who has since resigned, recalled plead­ing for the Pentagon’s help on the call and said that a top Army offi­cial, lat­er iden­ti­fied as Piatt, said, “I don’t like the visu­al of the Nation­al Guard stand­ing a police line with the Capi­tol in the back­ground.”

    In a Jan. 11 state­ment the Army issued on his behalf, Piatt denied say­ing that. Pen­ta­gon offi­cials also denied in con­ver­sa­tions with The Post that Piatt expressed reser­va­tions about the optics of send­ing the Nation­al Guard in to quell the vio­lence.

    “I did not make the state­ment or any com­ments sim­i­lar to what was attrib­uted to me by Chief Sund in The Wash­ing­ton Post arti­cle — but would note that even in his telling he makes it clear that nei­ther I, nor any­one else from DoD, denied the deploy­ment of request­ed per­son­nel,” Piatt said in the state­ment.

    But Piatt told reporters Thurs­day that he did not recall whether he cit­ed the optics as a con­cern for the Pen­ta­gon.

    “What we’re get­ting from some of the note-tak­ers in the room is that I may have said that,” Piatt said. “I don’t recall say­ing ‘the optics.’ I recall say­ing that my best mil­i­tary advice is that we for­mu­late a plan.”

    Asked why the pub­lic should trust the Army’s shift­ing account of events, Piatt said the day was “total­ly chaot­ic.”

    “We’re not attempt­ing to mis­lead in any way,” he said.

    Piatt reit­er­at­ed that he made clear to the par­tic­i­pants of the Jan. 6 call that he did not have the author­i­ty to acti­vate the full D.C. Guard, and that as they were speak­ing, then-Army Sec­re­tary Ryan C. McCarthy was down the hall obtain­ing sign-off from the act­ing defense sec­re­tary.

    “I had to keep say­ing, ‘We’re not deny­ing your request. We need to make a plan,’?” Piatt said.

    Mem­bers of the D.C. Nation­al Guard arrived at the Capi­tol hours lat­er to help law enforce­ment offi­cials estab­lish a perime­ter around the grounds.

    Mil­i­tary offi­cials have said repeat­ed­ly that they were not well posi­tioned to respond to the riot because they had acti­vat­ed just 340 Guard mem­bers in a lim­it­ed, unarmed role, in con­sul­ta­tion with Dis­trict offi­cials. City offi­cials had sought a small mil­i­tary response after thou­sands of Guard mem­bers flood­ed the city in June dur­ing racial-jus­tice protests at the behest of Trump.

    Charles Flynn’s involve­ment in the Pentagon’s response to the riot makes sense, because of his posi­tion. The D.C. Guard answers to the pres­i­dent, but con­trol over the force falls to the defense sec­re­tary and the Army sec­re­tary, essen­tial­ly leav­ing oper­a­tional deci­sions to top Army offi­cials. Fly­nn, how­ev­er, is not in the chain of com­mand.

    On the call Thurs­day, Fly­nn did not specif­i­cal­ly dis­tance him­self from or renounce the extreme views of his well-known broth­er, but there is no indi­ca­tion that he shares those views. Michael Fly­nn has espoused mes­sages asso­ci­at­ed with QAnon, a sprawl­ing set of false claims cast­ing Trump as the leader of a spir­i­tu­al war against child-eat­ing Satanists who con­trol Wash­ing­ton. The extrem­ist ide­ol­o­gy, which pre­dicts a final cat­a­clysm known as “the Storm,” gal­va­nized some of the riot­ers on Jan. 6.

    The day before the riot, Michael Fly­nn, who once led the Defense Intel­li­gence Agency and left the Army as a lieu­tenant gen­er­al, appeared at a D.C. ral­ly and riled up the crowd, claim­ing Trump had won the elec­tion on Nov. 3.

    Address­ing the mem­bers of the House and Sen­ate, Michael Fly­nn said, “Those of you who are feel­ing weak tonight, those of you that don’t have the moral fiber in your body, get some tonight, because tomor­row we the peo­ple are going to be here, and we want you to know that we will not stand for a lie!”

    ...

    ———-

    “Lt. Gen. Charles Fly­nn denies rela­tion­ship with broth­er Michael Fly­nn was a fac­tor in military’s response to Capi­tol attack” by Dan Lamothe and Paul Sonne; The Wash­ing­ton Post; 01/21/2021

    “The gen­er­al, who will soon be pro­mot­ed to a four-star offi­cer, said he could not remem­ber whether he said any­thing on the call. “I do not recall say­ing any­thing in the con­fer­ence, but I may have, and I just don’t recall say­ing any­thing to the audi­ence on the oth­er end,” he said. Oth­er par­tic­i­pants on the call have told The Post they heard Fly­nn speak.

    It’s anoth­er dis­crep­an­cy in the sto­ry of this ‘chaot­ic’ phone call. First the Pen­ta­gon denies Fly­nn was on the call. Then we learn he was on the call, but Fly­nn assures us it was briefly and he did­n’t say any­thing. But oth­ers on the call say oth­er­wise. What was Charles Fly­nn argu­ing on this call? We still don’t know. But it’s not hard to imag­ine what he might have been advo­cat­ing giv­en all the efforts to obscure these details.

    And that’s the part of this most clear­ly emerg­ing from this inves­ti­ga­tion: we still don’t know what exact­ly hap­pened, but it’s becom­ing increas­ing­ly clear a lot of peo­ple don’t want us to know what hap­pened. The con­tours of a coverup are clear­ly vis­i­ble.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 26, 2021, 5:53 pm
  13. Here’s a sto­ry that adds some dis­turb­ing con­text to the recent reports that Don­ald Trump’s planned impeach­ment defense will revolve around argu­ing that the Jan 6. storm­ing of the Capi­tol was jus­ti­fied:

    ProP­ub­li­ca has an inter­est­ing report on the indi­vid­u­als involved with the plan­ning of the Jan­u­ary 6 “March to Save Amer­i­ca” pro-Trump ral­ly that imme­di­ate­ly pre­ced­ed the storm­ing of the Capi­tol. This is the ral­ly asso­ci­at­ed with Roger Stone’s “Stop the Steal” group, lead­ing many to sus­pect Stone him­self may have been the ring­leader for the event.

    We’re now learn­ing more about the peo­ple direct­ly involved in orga­niz­ing the ral­ly. It turns out that, in the week lead­ing up to the ral­ly, there was a flur­ry of changed plans. Plans that sud­den­ly includ­ed a late effort to get Don­ald Trump him­self to speak at the ral­ly. Who was behind these changed plans? Car­o­line Wren was sud­den­ly assert­ing con­trol over the plan­ning. And Wren just hap­pens to be a deputy to Don­ald Trump Jr.’s girl­friend, Kim­ber­ly Guil­foyle, at Trump Vic­to­ry, a joint pres­i­den­tial fundrais­ing com­mit­tee dur­ing the 2020 cam­paign. In addi­tion, the pro­duc­tion com­pa­ny that helped but on the event was owned by Justin Capo­rale, a for­mer top aide to first lady Mela­nia Trump.

    But it does­n’t sound like the Trump cam­paign direct­ly hired Wren to do that work on the event. Instead, it was Julie Jenk­ins Fan­cel­li, the heiress to Pub­lix Super Mar­kets, who com­mit­ted around $300k to fund the ral­ly. Fan­cel­li’s financ­ing of the ral­ly was report­ed­ly facil­i­tat­ed by Alex Jones. So while the ques­tion of Roger Stone’s involve­ment in the rally/coup attempt is still an open ques­tion, those ques­tions of who planned that ral­ly and what exact­ly did they plan are ques­tions that go well beyond Roger Stone now that we’ve learned that aides to Mela­nia and Don Jr’s girl­friend were the key fig­ures behind some sort of last-minute change in plans for the event that cat­alyzed the insur­rec­tion. An event that was paid for by a wealthy gro­cery heiress thanks to the work of Alex Jones:

    Pro Pub­li­ca

    Text Mes­sages Show Top Trump Cam­paign Fundraiser’s Key Role Plan­ning the Ral­ly That Pre­ced­ed the Siege

    Car­o­line Wren, a Trump fundrais­er, is list­ed as a “VIP Advi­sor” in a Nation­al Park Ser­vice per­mit for the Jan. 6th ral­ly at the Ellipse. Text mes­sages and a plan­ning memo show the title down­plays the active role she played in orga­niz­ing the event.

    by Mike Spies and Jake Pear­son
    Jan. 30, 10:50 a.m. EST

    In the week lead­ing up to the Jan. 6 ral­ly in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., that explod­ed into an attack on the Capi­tol, a top Trump cam­paign fundrais­er issued a direc­tive to a woman who had been over­see­ing plan­ning for the event.

    “Get the bud­get and ven­dors break­down to me and Justin,” Car­o­line Wren wrote to Cindy Chafi­an, a self-described “con­sti­tu­tion­al con­ser­v­a­tive,” in a Dec. 28 text mes­sage obtained by ProP­ub­li­ca.

    Wren was no ordi­nary event plan­ner. She served as a deputy to Don­ald Trump Jr.’s girl­friend, Kim­ber­ly Guil­foyle, at Trump Vic­to­ry, a joint pres­i­den­tial fundrais­ing com­mit­tee dur­ing the 2020 cam­paign. The Justin men­tioned in her text was Justin Capo­rale, a for­mer top aide to first lady Mela­nia Trump, whose pro­duc­tion com­pa­ny helped put on the event at the Ellipse.

    Text mes­sages and an event-plan­ning memo obtained by ProP­ub­li­ca, along with an inter­view with Chafi­an, indi­cate that Wren, a Wash­ing­ton insid­er with a low pub­lic pro­file, played an exten­sive role in man­ag­ing oper­a­tions for the event. The records show that Wren over­saw logis­tics, bud­get­ing, fund­ing and mes­sag­ing for the Jan. 6 ral­ly that fea­tured Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump.

    Chafi­an told ProP­ub­li­ca that Wren and oth­ers had pushed her aside as plans inten­si­fied, includ­ing as a late effort was made to get Trump to speak at the event.

    On Dec. 29, after receiv­ing the bud­get, Wren instruct­ed Chafi­an, via text, to hold off on print­ing event-relat­ed slo­gans “until we decide what the mes­sag­ing is and we have no clue on tim­ing because it all depends on the votes that day so we won’t know tim­ing for a few more days.” The “tim­ing” appears to be a ref­er­ence to Con­gress’ Jan. 6 vote to cer­ti­fy the elec­tion results.

    Wren’s ser­vices were enlist­ed by a major donor to Trump’s pres­i­den­tial cam­paign, accord­ing to The Wall Street Jour­nal, which report­ed Sat­ur­day that Julie Jenk­ins Fan­cel­li, the heiress to Pub­lix Super Mar­kets, com­mit­ted some $300,000 to fund the Jan. 6 ral­ly.

    The fund­ing com­mit­ment by Fan­cel­li, who Fed­er­al Elec­tion Com­mis­sion records show has donat­ed more than $1 mil­lion to Trump Vic­to­ry, the president’s cam­paign and the Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee since 2018, was facil­i­tat­ed by the right-wing con­spir­a­cy ped­dler Alex Jones, the Jour­nal report­ed. Chafi­an told ProP­ub­li­ca that she her­self had been direct­ed by Jones to Wren, who, she was told, had ties to a wealthy donor who want­ed to sup­port the Jan­u­ary affair. Chafi­an said the donor is a woman but wouldn’t dis­close her name, cit­ing a con­fi­den­tial­i­ty agree­ment.

    ...

    The Asso­ci­at­ed Press had pre­vi­ous­ly report­ed that Wren was list­ed as a “VIP Advi­sor” in an attach­ment to a Nation­al Park Ser­vice per­mit for the Jan. 6 event issued to Women for Amer­i­ca First, a pro-Trump non­prof­it run by the moth­er-daugh­ter duo Amy and Kylie Jane Kre­mer. Chafi­an had worked on and off with Women for Amer­i­ca First since Octo­ber 2019.

    But that title gives lit­tle indi­ca­tion of the scope of Wren’s role in man­ag­ing the “March to Save Amer­i­ca” event, where the pres­i­dent would tell thou­sands of sup­port­ers to walk to the Capi­tol and “demand that Con­gress do the right thing and only count the elec­tors who have been law­ful­ly slat­ed,” the records show.

    A guid­ance memo pro­vid­ed to VIP atten­dees of the Jan. 6 ral­ly fur­ther estab­lish­es Wren’s cen­tral­i­ty to the event. She is list­ed, along with three oth­er peo­ple, as one of the pri­ma­ry points of con­tact for the demon­stra­tion. The Kre­mers, whose non­prof­it was attached to the event, are not men­tioned at all.

    Wren hasn’t respond­ed to requests for com­ment about the role she played in orga­niz­ing the Jan. 6 ral­ly. In a state­ment to the Jour­nal, she said her role in the event was to “assist many oth­ers in pro­vid­ing and arrang­ing for a pro­fes­sion­al­ly pro­duced event at the Ellipse.” She was last paid by the Trump cam­paign on Nov. 15, a cam­paign spokesman said, adding that the cam­paign “did not orga­nize, oper­ate or finance the event” and any for­mer staffers who worked on the event “did not do so at the direc­tion of the Trump cam­paign.”

    Since April 2017, Wren and her Texas-based firm, Blue­bon­net Con­sult­ing, have received more than $890,000 from the Trump cam­paign, the Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee and Trump Vic­to­ry, the joint fundrais­ing com­mit­tee, FEC records show.

    Chafi­an, a long­time orga­niz­er, said that in Decem­ber she met Jones “by com­plete hap­pen­stance” at the Willard Hotel in Wash­ing­ton. Not long before, Chafi­an said, Jones had had a falling out with the lead­er­ship of Women for Amer­i­ca First. Chafi­an, who is a rei­ki prac­ti­tion­er, said she was “put in a posi­tion, in my opin­ion based on what I know from the uni­verse, to clear that ener­gy. To clear that neg­a­tiv­i­ty.”

    Lat­er that month, Jones con­tact­ed Chafi­an to dis­cuss stag­ing a Jan­u­ary ral­ly in sup­port of an effort by Trump and his allies to over­turn the elec­tion results and Pres­i­dent Joe Biden’s vic­to­ry, she said. He sub­se­quent­ly direct­ed her to Wren.

    On Dec. 28, Chafi­an texted Wren that it was her under­stand­ing that Wren was now “han­dling all of the fund­ing from here on out,” and promis­ing to get her the “bud­get and break­down.”

    By the end of Decem­ber, after Wren became involved in the orga­niz­ing efforts, Chafi­an said that Wren brought in Women for Amer­i­ca First and that Chafi­an was ulti­mate­ly side­lined. By that point, she had had her own falling out with the Kre­mers, lead­ing her to start her own group, The Eighty Per­cent Coali­tion, which held a ral­ly at Free­dom Plaza in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., on Jan. 5 that was large­ly spon­sored by Jones. The guid­ance memo pro­vid­ed to VIP atten­dees of the Jan. 6 event informs atten­dees of Chafian’s ral­ly, invit­ing them to attend should they wish and not­ing that “reg­is­tra­tion is not required.”

    In a video released the day after the Jan. 6 event, Jones claimed an unnamed donor cov­ered 80% of the rough­ly $500,000 it cost to put on the ral­ly that pre­ced­ed the Capi­tol riot.

    ...

    Update, Jan. 30, 2021: Pub­lix post­ed a state­ment on Twit­ter say­ing, “Mrs. Fan­cel­li is not an employ­ee of Pub­lix Super Mar­kets, and is nei­ther involved in our busi­ness oper­a­tions, nor does she rep­re­sent the com­pa­ny in any way. We can­not com­ment on Mrs. Fancelli’s actions.”

    —————

    “Text Mes­sages Show Top Trump Cam­paign Fundraiser’s Key Role Plan­ning the Ral­ly That Pre­ced­ed the Siege” by Mike Spies and Jake Pear­son; Pro Pub­li­ca; Pro Pub­li­ca; 01/30/2021

    “Wren was no ordi­nary event plan­ner. She served as a deputy to Don­ald Trump Jr.’s girl­friend, Kim­ber­ly Guil­foyle, at Trump Vic­to­ry, a joint pres­i­den­tial fundrais­ing com­mit­tee dur­ing the 2020 cam­paign. The Justin men­tioned in her text was Justin Capo­rale, a for­mer top aide to first lady Mela­nia Trump, whose pro­duc­tion com­pa­ny helped put on the event at the Ellipse.”

    Car­o­line Wren, Don Jr.‘s girl­friend’s deputy fundrais­er, was the one call­ing the shots. That’s the pic­ture that’s emerg­ing of the final week lead­ing up to the event. As well as a pic­ture of an oper­a­tion where the ulti­mate mes­sage of the event was very much in flux until the last minute. Why? Because that mes­sage depend­ed on how many Repub­li­cans in con­gress they could ulti­mate­ly get to join in on oppos­ing the elec­toral vote count. In oth­er words, the ral­ly and the Con­gres­sion­al objec­tions to the elec­toral count were joint­ly planned stunts that required coor­di­na­tion. Last-minute oppor­tunis­tic coor­di­na­tion in this case:

    ...
    Text mes­sages and an event-plan­ning memo obtained by ProP­ub­li­ca, along with an inter­view with Chafi­an, indi­cate that Wren, a Wash­ing­ton insid­er with a low pub­lic pro­file, played an exten­sive role in man­ag­ing oper­a­tions for the event. The records show that Wren over­saw logis­tics, bud­get­ing, fund­ing and mes­sag­ing for the Jan. 6 ral­ly that fea­tured Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump.

    Chafi­an told ProP­ub­li­ca that Wren and oth­ers had pushed her aside as plans inten­si­fied, includ­ing as a late effort was made to get Trump to speak at the event.

    On Dec. 29, after receiv­ing the bud­get, Wren instruct­ed Chafi­an, via text, to hold off on print­ing event-relat­ed slo­gans “until we decide what the mes­sag­ing is and we have no clue on tim­ing because it all depends on the votes that day so we won’t know tim­ing for a few more days.” The “tim­ing” appears to be a ref­er­ence to Con­gress’ Jan. 6 vote to cer­ti­fy the elec­tion results.
    ...

    But it was­n’t the Trump cam­paign that direct­ly paid for the “March to Save Amer­i­ca” ral­ly. No, it was Pub­lix heiress Julie Jenk­ins Fan­cel­li who end­ed up pay­ing the $300,000 for the ral­ly with Alex Jones play­ing some sort of mid­dle-man role:

    ...
    Wren’s ser­vices were enlist­ed by a major donor to Trump’s pres­i­den­tial cam­paign, accord­ing to The Wall Street Jour­nal, which report­ed Sat­ur­day that Julie Jenk­ins Fan­cel­li, the heiress to Pub­lix Super Mar­kets, com­mit­ted some $300,000 to fund the Jan. 6 ral­ly.

    The fund­ing com­mit­ment by Fan­cel­li, who Fed­er­al Elec­tion Com­mis­sion records show has donat­ed more than $1 mil­lion to Trump Vic­to­ry, the president’s cam­paign and the Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee since 2018, was facil­i­tat­ed by the right-wing con­spir­a­cy ped­dler Alex Jones, the Jour­nal report­ed. Chafi­an told ProP­ub­li­ca that she her­self had been direct­ed by Jones to Wren, who, she was told, had ties to a wealthy donor who want­ed to sup­port the Jan­u­ary affair. Chafi­an said the donor is a woman but wouldn’t dis­close her name, cit­ing a con­fi­den­tial­i­ty agree­ment.
    ...

    It’s quite a snap­shot of the state of Amer­i­can civics in 2021: a wealthy heiress coor­di­nat­ing with a far right inter­net trash con­spir­a­cy ped­dler finances a ral­ly intend­ed to whip the crowd into an insur­rec­tionary fer­vor based on a bla­tant Big Lie. And the per­son direct­ly run­ning the show was a top fundrais­er for the pres­i­den­t’s son’s girl­friend. At this point, per­haps Don­ald Trump’s best impeach­ment defense just might be to dif­fuse blame by point­ing to all of the oth­er peo­ple who were clear­ly involved in its plan­ning. There were already so many chefs in the coup-kitchen, Trump’s involve­ment in the plan­ning was­n’t real­ly nec­es­sary.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | February 2, 2021, 5:08 pm
  14. Ftr Coup Coup Rad­i­cal­iz­ing the Base 2–5‑2021

    A March (and Apri)l, 2021 Moth­er Jones arti­cle by Mark Foll­man talks about how trump pushed the Com­mu­nist Con­spir­a­cy mes­sage in a threat­en­ing “plot to steal Amer­i­ca” with inflam­ma­to­ry and couched racist rhetoric to rad­i­cal­ize his base and incite vio­lent attacks that serve his polit­i­cal agen­da. His base is made to feel like they are a spe­cial group with a mis­sion. How­ev­er they mis­tak­en­ly believe they are fight­ing against tyran­ny in order to gain back their own free­dom, whicle in real­i­ty doing the oppo­site. He ben­e­fits from the pro­pa­gan­da out­let Epoc Times.

    https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2021/02/trump-stochastic-terrorism-us-capitol-mob-incitement/

    Select­ed por­tions of the arti­cle state:

    Trump did more than just invite sup­port­ers to a ral­ly. He also repeat­ed­ly shared a slick­ly pro­duced video, titled “The Plot to Steal Amer­i­ca,” that warned omi­nous­ly of a Chi­nese com­mu­nist scheme involv­ing Biden, the Democ­rats, and the news media, and called for Trump sup­port­ers to mobi­lize. “We know that our rights don’t come from the gov­ern­ment, but from God,” declared the nar­ra­tor, an Ohio jew­el­ry buy­er for­mer­ly employed by the pro-Trump pro­pa­gan­da out­let the Epoch Times. “And we will fight to the death to pro­tect those rights.” In a tweet the day after Christ­mas, Trump sug­gest­ed that if the Democ­rats were in his posi­tion, the “Rigged & Stolen” pres­i­den­tial elec­tion would be con­sid­ered “an act of war, and fight to the death.”

    The descrip­tion of Trump as a ter­ror­ist leader is nei­ther metaphor nor hyperbole—it is the assess­ment of vet­er­an nation­al secu­ri­ty experts. Trump, those experts say, adopt­ed a method known as sto­chas­tic ter­ror­ism, a process of incite­ment where the insti­ga­tor pro­vokes extrem­ist vio­lence under the guise of plau­si­ble deni­a­bil­i­ty. Although the exact loca­tion, tim­ing, and source of the vio­lence may not be pre­dictable, its occur­rence is all but inevitable. When pressed about the incite­ment, the insti­ga­tor typ­i­cal­ly responds with equiv­o­cal denials and mut­ed denun­ci­a­tions of vio­lence, or claims to have been “jok­ing,” as Trump and those speak­ing on his behalf rou­tine­ly made.

    “Sto­chas­tic” derives from the ancient Greek words sto­chastikosand stoc­hazesthai, mean­ing “skill­ful in aim­ing” and “to tar­get.” Among coun­tert­er­ror­ism experts, the term his­tor­i­cal­ly was applied to the tech­niques used by ISIS and al-Qae­da as well as anti-abor­tion reli­gious extrem­ists, all of whom used inflam­ma­to­ry rhetoric to rad­i­cal­ize oth­ers to car­ry out hor­rif­ic attacks. Trump did the pre­vi­ous­ly unthink­able: He brought the method into the White House

    Trump’s nods and winks to far-right hate groups began dur­ing his 2016 cam­paign and came to a head in August 2017 when he sug­gest­ed that the torch-wield­ing white suprema­cists who marched in Char­lottesville, Vir­ginia, includ­ed some “very fine peo­ple.” His dem­a­goguery was ini­tial­ly focused on “the oth­er,” whether it was Mus­lims, or Mex­i­can “rapists,” or migrant car­a­vans, or “shit­hole” coun­tries. He repeat­ed­ly attacked the news media as “the ene­my of the peo­ple,” pro­vok­ing vio­lent threats and plots against jour­nal­ists. By his 2020 reelec­tion cam­paign, he’d turned his incite­ment square­ly on the Amer­i­can polit­i­cal lead­ers who opposed him.

    The cam­paign of incite­ment esca­lat­ed last spring when Trump urged sup­port­ers to “Lib­er­ate Michi­gan!” in response to pan­dem­ic restric­tions ordered by Demo­c­ra­t­ic Gov. Gretchen Whit­mer. He then sided with the armed pro­test­ers who swarmed the state Capi­tol: “These are very good peo­ple, but they are angry,” he tweet­ed. “They want their lives back again, safe­ly!” By ear­ly Octo­ber, the FBI had arrest­ed 13 peo­ple for vio­lent plots, includ­ing some who alleged­ly planned to kid­nap Whit­mer. Far-right extrem­ists also alleged­ly tar­get­ed Gov. Ralph Northam of Vir­ginia, whom Trump had blast­ed as “crazy” for his pan­dem­ic poli­cies and for sup­pos­ed­ly plan­ning to take away Vir­gini­ans’ guns. When asked dur­ing a pres­i­den­tial debate in Sep­tem­ber whether he would denounce the neo­fas­cist gang known as the Proud Boys, Trump infa­mous­ly respond­ed that they should “stand back and stand by.”

    Trump’s nods and winks to far-right hate groups began dur­ing his 2016 cam­paign and came to a head in August 2017 when he sug­gest­ed that the torch-wield­ing white suprema­cists who marched in Char­lottesville, Vir­ginia, includ­ed some “very fine peo­ple.” His dem­a­goguery was ini­tial­ly focused on “the oth­er,” whether it was Mus­lims, or Mex­i­can “rapists,” or migrant car­a­vans, or “shit­hole” coun­tries. He repeat­ed­ly attacked the news media as “the ene­my of the peo­ple,” pro­vok­ing vio­lent threats and plots against jour­nal­ists. By his 2020 reelec­tion cam­paign, he’d turned his incite­ment square­ly on the Amer­i­can polit­i­cal lead­ers who opposed him.

    The cam­paign of incite­ment esca­lat­ed last spring when Trump urged sup­port­ers to “Lib­er­ate Michi­gan!” in response to pan­dem­ic restric­tions ordered by Demo­c­ra­t­ic Gov. Gretchen Whit­mer. He then sided with the armed pro­test­ers who swarmed the state Capi­tol: “These are very good peo­ple, but they are angry,” he tweet­ed. “They want their lives back again, safe­ly!” By ear­ly Octo­ber, the FBI had arrest­ed 13 peo­ple for vio­lent plots, includ­ing some who alleged­ly planned to kid­nap Whit­mer. Far-right extrem­ists also alleged­ly tar­get­ed Gov. Ralph Northam of Vir­ginia, whom Trump had blast­ed as “crazy” for his pan­dem­ic poli­cies and for sup­pos­ed­ly plan­ning to take away Vir­gini­ans’ guns. When asked dur­ing a pres­i­den­tial debate in Sep­tem­ber whether he would denounce the neo­fas­cist gang known as the Proud Boys, Trump infa­mous­ly respond­ed that they should “stand back and stand by.”

    On Decem­ber 14, state elec­tors in Michi­gan and Ari­zona faced with “cred­i­ble threats” were com­pelled to take extra­or­di­nary secu­ri­ty mea­sures as they con­vened to cer­ti­fy Biden’s vic­to­ry. “We are stuck pars­ing Trump’s words, forced into tex­tu­al­ist debates about what he meant,” Kayyem tweet­ed that day. “Mean­while his sup­port­ers know EXACTLY what he means

     The Proud Boys embed­ded Trump’s “wild!” tweet in fly­ers encour­ag­ing mem­bers to join the DC ral­ly and hawked T‑shirts with the slo­gan “Proud Boys stand­ing by.” In late Decem­ber, the Wall Street Jour­nal­re­port­ed, lead­ers of the group—some of whose mem­bers stormed the Capitol—vowed on social media to put “boots on the ground” and “turn out in record num­bers” on Jan­u­ary 6. Trump, one said, had just giv­en them “the green light.”

    “We love you. You’re very spe­cial,” Trump told the mob, look­ing direct­ly into the cam­era. “I know how you feel.”

    Even as his pres­i­den­cy neared its end, secu­ri­ty experts warned that Trump still need­ed to be van­quished as a ter­ror­ist leader. “He tells them where to go. He tells them what to do. He tells them why they’re angry,” Kayyem said

    The Capi­tol insur­rec­tion was a begin­ning, not an end—celebrated by far-right extrem­ists as a thrilling affir­ma­tion of their rel­e­vance. Nation­al secu­ri­ty experts and his­to­ri­ans alike know that failed coup attempts are often fol­lowed by suc­cess­ful ones.

    “Bad ide­olo­gies don’t die, but they do get shamed and iso­lat­ed,” says Kayyem, not­ing Biden’s abil­i­ty to rebuke Trump­ism with a folksy “C’mon, man!” or a “You can’t be seri­ous.” No ink was spared dur­ing the Trump pres­i­den­cy, she adds, over try­ing to under­stand the griev­ances of his ardent sup­port­ers. But vio­lent extrem­ism requires oth­er­wise: “My hope is we’ll see the Biden admin­is­tra­tion push an agen­da of sham­ing this.”

    Every­thing from the mon­e­ti­za­tion of far-right rage by Fox News and its upstart com­peti­tors to extrem­ist groups recruit­ing and rad­i­cal­iz­ing peo­ple via social media must be con­front­ed. “The biggest chal­lenge,” observes Kayyem, “is going to be a cul­tur­al change with what was allowed to fes­ter and how we root it out.”

    Posted by Mary Benton | February 6, 2021, 7:14 am
  15. Here’s an inter­est­ing point of con­flict break­ing out in the world of far right social media that threat­ens to drag the Mer­cers into the ongo­ing purge of the Repub­li­can Par­ty and Con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment of any­one who shows of hint of ‘cen­sor­ing’ even the most out­ra­geous far right Big Lies:

    The CEO of Par­ler, John Matze, was fired last week and he’s blam­ing the investors for the move. Matze says he received a writ­ten warn­ing that he vio­lat­ed the terms of his con­fi­den­tial­i­ty agree­ment by mak­ing dis­parag­ing state­ments and dis­clos­ing insid­er infor­mati­no to the media that could dam­age the rep­u­ta­tion of the com­pa­ny. Matze claims that they fired him short­ly before the plat­form was com­ing back online and did it because they are attempt­ing to restrict his abil­i­ty to speak his mind about his vision for Par­ler. The twist is that the main investor is Rebekah Mer­cer. So the CEO of the social media plat­form that was cham­pi­oned as the right-wing free-speech haven is claim­ing that Rebekah Mer­cer fired him in an attempt to silence him over his com­ments about the future of this free-speech plat­form.

    What was the dif­fer­ent in visions for Par­ler? Well, here’s where we find a dou­ble-twist: Matze claims that he and Mer­cer dis­agreed over how to reg­u­late Neo-Nazis and any oth­er domes­tic ter­ror­ism groups that incite vio­lence. Matze want­ed Par­ler to crack down on these groups but says his posi­tion was met with silence by Mer­cer. So, based on Matze’s claims, he was fired in an attempt by Rebekah Mer­cer to muz­zle him and to keep Par­ler a pro-vio­lence Nazi-friend­ly plat­form:

    USA TODAY

    ‘These peo­ple just want to cen­sor me,’ fired Par­ler CEO says free speech plat­form is try­ing to muz­zle him

    Jes­si­ca Guynn
    Pub­lished 9:36 p.m. ET Feb. 5, 2021 | Updat­ed 9:48 p.m. ET Feb. 5, 2021

    John Matze, who was fired last week as CEO of Par­ler, said his for­mer com­pa­ny, which pur­ports to cham­pi­on free speech, is try­ing to muz­zle his.

    Short­ly before an inter­view with USA TODAY, Matze said he received a writ­ten warn­ing that he vio­lat­ed the terms of his con­fi­den­tial­i­ty agree­ment by mak­ing dis­parag­ing state­ments and dis­clos­ing inside infor­ma­tion to the media that could have “seri­ous and mate­r­i­al adverse effects on the busi­ness or rep­u­ta­tion of the com­pa­ny.”

    Matze denies this.

    “That’s not the vision I had for the com­pa­ny,” Matze told USA TODAY. “These peo­ple just want to cen­sor me. Obvi­ous­ly, my state­ment about their vision not align­ing with mine must be true con­sid­er­ing they are try­ing to stop me from speak­ing my mind.”

    Accord­ing to Matze, Par­ler ter­mi­nat­ed him with­out sev­er­ance and, in the email, indi­cat­ed to him that it was strip­ping him of his equi­ty in the com­pa­ny.

    The com­pa­ny could not be imme­di­ate­ly reached for com­ment.

    Con­ser­v­a­tive polit­i­cal donor and Par­ler investor Rebekah Mer­cer, daugh­ter of hedge-fund investor Robert Mer­cer, pre­vi­ous­ly said she and Matze start­ed Par­ler “to pro­vide a neu­tral plat­form for free speech, as our founders intend­ed” and in response to the “ever increas­ing tyran­ny and hubris of our tech over­lords.”

    In a memo to Par­ler staffers obtained by Fox News, Matze wrote: “On Jan­u­ary 29, 2021, the Par­ler board con­trolled by Rebekah Mer­cer decid­ed to imme­di­ate­ly ter­mi­nate my posi­tion as CEO of Par­ler. I did not par­tic­i­pate in this deci­sion.”

    Par­ler’s chief pol­i­cy offi­cer Amy Peikoff respond­ed with this state­ment to USA TODAY: “Mr. Matze’s char­ac­ter­i­za­tions of the events and cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing his ter­mi­na­tion from the Par­ler CEO posi­tion have been inac­cu­rate and mis­lead­ing.”

    Par­ler is one of the social media plat­forms used by sup­port­ers of then-Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump to plan and chron­i­cle the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capi­tol.

    Rep. Car­olyn B. Mal­oney, D‑N.Y., asked the FBI to inves­ti­gate Par­ler’s role in the Jan. 6 attack.

    The vio­lent chat­ter prompt­ed Apple and Google to yank Par­ler from their app stores. Then Ama­zon, which host­ed the Par­ler site, pulled the plug.

    Par­ler sued Ama­zon in fed­er­al court, claim­ing the web host­ing ser­vice breached its con­tract with Par­ler.

    But in a pre­lim­i­nary rul­ing, the fed­er­al judge in the case sided with Ama­zon, say­ing that it was Par­ler that vio­lat­ed the terms of a con­tract by not remov­ing vio­lent and hate­ful speech flagged by Ama­zon.

    Matze made his case in the press, argu­ing that Face­book, Twit­ter and Google’s YouTube were also used to orga­nize sup­port for the “save Amer­i­ca” and “stop the steal” ral­ly in Wash­ing­ton.

    Accord­ing to a review of videos and oth­er posts by ProP­ub­li­ca, Par­ler appeared to play a major role in the Capi­tol siege. A USA TODAY text analy­sis pub­lished this week showed that calls for civ­il war inten­si­fied on Par­ler as Trump urged his fol­low­ers to march on the Capi­tol.

    Dis­agree­ments over how to reg­u­late that kind of speech on the plat­form pit­ted Matze against Mer­cer, accord­ing to Matze. He urged Par­ler to crack down on Neo-Nazis and any oth­er domes­tic ter­ror­ism groups that incite vio­lence, but says his posi­tion was met with silence by Mer­cer.

    Still, he says the blame heaped on Par­ler is mis­placed.

    “I don’t believe that any of these changes would have changed the out­come of the 6th,” he said. “I believe that would have hap­pened with or with­out social media due to grow­ing polit­i­cal extrem­ism.”

    “Peo­ple would have still gath­ered, they would have still been upset and they would have still heard his speech, and they prob­a­bly still would have stormed the Capi­tol,” he said. “I think this is a fail­ure of lead­er­ship real­ly, in gen­er­al. And it’s not just Pres­i­dent Trump, but he is large­ly respon­si­ble for that.”

    Launched in 2018, Par­ler posi­tioned itself as a non­par­ti­san, free speech alter­na­tive to Face­book and Twit­ter with few­er restric­tions on what peo­ple can say.

    Matze and Jared Thom­son named it after the French word “to speak.” Investors include Mer­cer and media per­son­al­i­ty Dan Bongi­no.

    Par­ler took off dur­ing the con­tentious elec­tion cycle, surg­ing from few­er than 1 mil­lion users to 15 mil­lion in Jan­u­ary as users defect­ed from Face­book and Twit­ter over their han­dling of Trump’s vot­er fraud claims and their sus­pen­sions of the for­mer pres­i­den­t’s accounts.

    As the social media plat­form grew, so did infight­ing over the platform’s future, accord­ing to Matze.

    Par­ler has been offline for near­ly a month but was close to being restored when Par­ler oust­ed him, Matze said.

    ...

    —————

    “ ‘These peo­ple just want to cen­sor me,’ fired Par­ler CEO says free speech plat­form is try­ing to muz­zle him” by Jes­si­ca Guynn; USA TODAY; 02/05/2021

    ““That’s not the vision I had for the com­pa­ny,” Matze told USA TODAY. “These peo­ple just want to cen­sor me. Obvi­ous­ly, my state­ment about their vision not align­ing with mine must be true con­sid­er­ing they are try­ing to stop me from speak­ing my mind.””

    Matze is being muz­zled. That’s how he put it. Muz­zled over his warn­ings that Par­ler crack down on neo-Nazis and oth­er domes­tic ter­ror groups that incite vio­lence. Rebekah Mer­cer wants to keep Par­ler open to such groups, accord­ing to Matze:

    ...
    Dis­agree­ments over how to reg­u­late that kind of speech on the plat­form pit­ted Matze against Mer­cer, accord­ing to Matze. He urged Par­ler to crack down on Neo-Nazis and any oth­er domes­tic ter­ror­ism groups that incite vio­lence, but says his posi­tion was met with silence by Mer­cer.
    ...

    And Matze’s warn­ings about incite­ments to vio­lence on the plat­form are direct­ly relat­ed to the oth­er major legal issue fac­ing Par­ler: the role it played in in orches­trat­ing the Jan­u­ary 6 storm­ing of the Capi­tol:

    ...
    Rep. Car­olyn B. Mal­oney, D‑N.Y., asked the FBI to inves­ti­gate Par­ler’s role in the Jan. 6 attack.

    The vio­lent chat­ter prompt­ed Apple and Google to yank Par­ler from their app stores. Then Ama­zon, which host­ed the Par­ler site, pulled the plug.

    Par­ler sued Ama­zon in fed­er­al court, claim­ing the web host­ing ser­vice breached its con­tract with Par­ler.

    But in a pre­lim­i­nary rul­ing, the fed­er­al judge in the case sided with Ama­zon, say­ing that it was Par­ler that vio­lat­ed the terms of a con­tract by not remov­ing vio­lent and hate­ful speech flagged by Ama­zon.

    Matze made his case in the press, argu­ing that Face­book, Twit­ter and Google’s YouTube were also used to orga­nize sup­port for the “save Amer­i­ca” and “stop the steal” ral­ly in Wash­ing­ton.

    Accord­ing to a review of videos and oth­er posts by ProP­ub­li­ca, Par­ler appeared to play a major role in the Capi­tol siege. A USA TODAY text analy­sis pub­lished this week showed that calls for civ­il war inten­si­fied on Par­ler as Trump urged his fol­low­ers to march on the Capi­tol.
    ...

    Or maybe Matze is a lia­bil­i­ty in the grow­ing libel law­suits brought by Domin­ion against the var­i­ous media plat­forms that aggres­sive­ly pushed the vote-rig­ging claims with­out evi­dence? It’s not clear. But as the fol­low­ing arti­cle points out, whether or not the Mer­cers were direct­ly involved in plan­ning the insur­rec­tion, they are per­haps the largest donor for the hyper-Trumpian wing of the GOP that most enthu­si­as­ti­cal­ly backed the insur­rec­tion, like Sen­a­tors Josh Haw­ley and Ted Cruz. And Ali Alexan­der, the Roger Stone acolyte and pri­ma­ry orga­niz­er of the ‘Stop the Steal’ ral­lies, even received Mer­cer dona­tions for his “Black Con­ser­v­a­tives Fund” out­fit back in 2014 and 2016. As we should expect, the Black Con­ser­v­a­tives Fund is one of the groups that was pro­mot­ing the Jan­u­ary 6 “Stop the Steal” ral­ly.
    So between their broad back­ing of the far right groups that actu­al­ly staged the and financ­ing of Par­ler, it’s not all a stretch to describe the Jan 6 insur­rec­tion as being was orches­trat­ed by the dom­i­nant ‘Mer­cer-wing’ of the GOP:

    Salon

    How one bil­lion­aire fam­i­ly bankrolled elec­tion lies, white nation­al­ism — and the Capi­tol riot
    Rebekah Mer­cer is “one of the chief financiers of the fas­cist move­ment,” says long­time GOP insid­er Steve Schmidt

    By IGOR DERYSH
    FEBRUARY 4, 2021 11:00AM (UTC)

    Four years before Sen. Josh Haw­ley, R‑Mo., pumped his fist to a sup­port­ive mob that would soon over­run the Capi­tol Police and hunt law­mak­ers through the halls of Con­gress, the for­mer Mis­souri attor­ney gen­er­al need­ed a deep-pock­et­ed patron. Nat­u­ral­ly, he called on the man who helped bankroll for­mer Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s rise: hedge-fund bil­lion­aire Robert Mer­cer, whom he would soon describe as a friend while name-drop­ping him to court sup­port from far-right fig­ures like Steve Ban­non, a long­time Mer­cer ally. It’s unclear what came of Haw­ley’s meet­ing with Mer­cer, but the Club for Growth, which has received mil­lions from the Mer­cer fam­i­ly, and the Sen­ate Con­ser­v­a­tives Fund, which also got Mer­cer dona­tions, quick­ly became Haw­ley’s biggest finan­cial back­ers, by far. Mer­cer’s daugh­ter Rebekah kicked in a near-max­i­mum dona­tion to his 2018 Sen­ate cam­paign for good mea­sure.

    While Charles Koch and his late broth­er David have dom­i­nat­ed Repub­li­can fundrais­ing in recent decades, the Mer­cers’ recent strate­gic invest­ments in far-right can­di­dates bought them a dis­pro­por­tion­ate lev­el of influ­ence in the Repub­li­can Par­ty before cul­mi­nat­ing in an effort to sub­vert the elec­tion that fueled the dead­ly Capi­tol siege.

    “The Mer­cers laid the ground­work for the Trump rev­o­lu­tion,” Ban­non told The New York­er in 2017. “Irrefutably, when you look at donors dur­ing the past four years, they have had the sin­gle biggest impact of any­body, includ­ing the Kochs.” Steve Schmidt, a for­mer Repub­li­can strate­gist and co-founder of the anti-Trump Lin­coln Project, sees it dif­fer­ent­ly. Rebekah Mer­cer, he said in an inter­view with Salon, is the “chief financier or one of the chief financiers of the fas­cist move­ment, and that’s what it is.”

    Hours after the pro-Trump mob stormed the Capi­tol, killing five peo­ple and injur­ing dozens of police offi­cers in a futile bid to stop the count­ing of elec­toral votes, Haw­ley joined with top Mer­cer ben­e­fi­cia­ries in object­ing to the results to back Trump’s “big lie” that the elec­tion was some­how stolen. There was Sen. Ted Cruz, R‑Texas, whose super PAC got $13.5 mil­lion from the Mer­cers dur­ing the 2016 pres­i­den­tial cam­paign — before the fam­i­ly dropped anoth­er $15.5 mil­lion to back Trump. There was House Minor­i­ty Leader Kevin McCarthy, R‑Calif., defend­ing the major­i­ty of the GOP House cau­cus vot­ing to over­turn legal elec­tion results after his Con­gres­sion­al Lead­er­ship Fund received $1.5 mil­lion from the Mer­cers. And there was Rep. Mo Brooks, R‑Ala., who received $21,600 from the Mer­cers before speak­ing at the ral­ly that pre­ced­ed the riot and object­ing to the results. Brooks was lat­er named by “Stop the Steal” orga­niz­er Ali Alexan­der as hav­ing helped orches­trate the event, though his office said he has “no rec­ol­lec­tion com­mu­ni­cat­ing in any way with who­ev­er Ali Alexan­der is.”

    Alexan­der him­self may have ben­e­fit­ed from the Mer­cers’ mil­lions while work­ing for the Black Con­ser­v­a­tive Fund, a small and mys­te­ri­ous group that received $60,000 from Robert Mer­cer in 2016. Though the group did not raise any mon­ey in 2020, it pro­mot­ed the White House ral­ly to tens of thou­sands of fol­low­ers, accord­ing to CNBC.

    The Mer­cers fund­ed numer­ous key play­ers who helped foment the Jan. 6 insur­rec­tion, though their full involve­ment remains unclear. Along with far-right can­di­dates and groups, they have also fund­ed the far-right social net­work Par­ler, which was used to coor­di­nate the Capi­tol siege, and Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca, the now-defunct Lon­don-based data firm that stole Face­book user data to help Trump’s 2016 cam­paign tar­get poten­tial vot­ers.

    “As I dis­cov­ered first-hand, the Mer­cers are excep­tion­al­ly skill­ful at obfus­cat­ing and mask­ing their polit­i­cal enter­pris­es,” David Car­roll, a pro­fes­sor at The New School in Man­hat­tan who sued Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca for his data in Lon­don, said in an email to Salon. “I mar­veled at how their own­er­ship of Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca was effec­tive­ly shield­ed from the U.K. courts where they were pros­e­cut­ed.”

    Now that the Mer­cers have sur­vived the scruti­ny of the Fed­er­al Trade Com­mis­sion and for­mer spe­cial coun­sel Robert Mueller’s inves­ti­ga­tion, Car­roll added, “I would assume the fam­i­ly has dou­bled-down on invest­ing in its own pri­va­cy.”

    Schmidt agreed that “it’s hard to keep track of the mon­ey” the Mer­cers have doled out to their pet caus­es.

    “In this move­ment, the mon­ey is a fun­da­men­tal­ly impor­tant part of it. It fuels the move­ment and that move­ment is an extrem­ist move­ment,” he said. “Is there a bet­ter than even chance that the Mer­cer mon­ey is flow­ing, like so many trib­u­taries, right into a larg­er sedi­tious stream on this? Of course there is.”

    Lax laws sur­round­ing dark mon­ey donat­ed to non­prof­it enti­ties mean it will like­ly be “sev­er­al years before the pub­lic will have a com­plete sense of how much the Mer­cers spent,” wrote The Inter­cep­t’s Matthew Cun­ning­ham-Cook.

    Pub­licly avail­able data shows that the Mer­cers helped fund numer­ous play­ers who pushed the “big lie.” The fam­i­ly donat­ed $3.8 mil­lion to Cit­i­zens Unit­ed, which is run by long­time Trump advis­er David Bossie, who was tapped to lead the for­mer pres­i­den­t’s legal chal­lenges. Though the Mer­cers have pulled back their finan­cial sup­port in recent elec­tion cycles amid grow­ing scruti­ny, they donat­ed $300,000 dur­ing this past cycle to the Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee, which joined Trump’s legal bat­tle.

    The Mer­cers were also the top donors to Ari­zona Repub­li­can Par­ty chair­woman Kel­li Ward, a devot­ed Trump loy­al­ist, The Inter­cept report­ed last week. Ward joined the law­suit led by the Repub­li­can attor­ney gen­er­al of Texas that sought to over­turn the results of the elec­tion in mul­ti­ple states and spoke at a Decem­ber ral­ly that fea­tured Alexan­der to push Trump’s elec­tion con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries. On Twit­ter, Ward pro­mot­ed her appear­ance at a “Stop the Steal” ral­ly along­side for­mer nation­al secu­ri­ty advis­er Michael Fly­nn, who urged Trump to invoke mar­tial law to rerun the elec­tion, and post­ed the hash­tag “#Cross­TheRu­bi­con,” a phrase that refers to Julius Cae­sar march­ing his army into Rome to declare him­self a dic­ta­tor. The Ari­zona GOP also pro­mot­ed Alexan­der’s tweets, which includ­ed his dec­la­ra­tion that he was “will­ing to give up my life for this fight.”

    “Live for noth­ing, or die for some­thing,” the par­ty tweet­ed about a month before the Capi­tol riot.

    More recent­ly, Rebekah Mer­cer co-found­ed Par­ler, osten­si­bly a “lib­er­tar­i­an” mod­er­a­tion-free social net­work that quick­ly became a mega­phone for far-right fig­ures like Alexan­der and fel­low orga­niz­er Alex Jones, both of whom had been banned from main­stream social net­works for spread­ing dis­in­for­ma­tion. Alexan­der, Jones and oth­ers used Par­ler to spread false­hoods about the elec­tion while oth­ers sim­ply traf­ficked in white suprema­cist con­tent, accord­ing to the Anti-Defama­tion League. “Holo­caust denial, anti­semitism, racism and oth­er forms of big­otry are also easy to find,” the ADL said.

    Par­ler was used by some of the Capi­tol riot­ers to plan and coor­di­nate the attack. The site was briefly tak­en offline by Ama­zon before find­ing a new host, though its apps have been removed from the Apple and Google app stores. Rebekah Mer­cer said in a Par­ler post that she start­ed the social net­work to com­bat the “increas­ing tyran­ny” of our “tech over­lords,” slam­ming main­stream social net­works over “data min­ing” — which is exact­ly what the Mer­cers’ for­mer com­pa­ny, Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca, exploit­ed to steal Face­book users’ per­son­al data to help Trump in 2016. Although Mer­cer tout­ed Par­ler’s pro­tec­tion of user data, hack­ers were able to eas­i­ly gain access to unse­cured user data, which showed that Par­ler users had pen­e­trat­ed deep inside the Capi­tol and shared videos and pho­tos of their crimes.

    Before Trump, the fam­i­ly for years bankrolled Bre­it­bart News, for­mer­ly run by Steve Ban­non, who affec­tion­ate­ly termed it the plat­form of the alt-right. Along with Bre­it­bart, which received a $10 mil­lion invest­ment from the fam­i­ly, the Mer­cers also fund­ed Ban­non projects like Glit­ter­ing Steel, a film pro­duc­tion com­pa­ny, and the Gov­ern­ment Account­abil­i­ty Insti­tute, whose pres­i­dent authored the anti-Hillary best­seller “Clin­ton Cash” and lat­er pushed dis­cred­it­ed con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries about Joe Biden and his son Hunter’s work over­seas. Ban­non’s appoint­ment to Trump’s White House, after Rebekah Mer­cer pushed for him to take over Trump’s cam­paign, was cel­e­brat­ed by the Ku Klux Klan and Amer­i­can Nazi Par­ty. Though Ban­non fell out with Trump after a few months in the White House, both he and Bre­it­bart aggres­sive­ly pushed Trump’s false nar­ra­tive fol­low­ing the elec­tion.

    A remark­ably rapid dis­so­lu­tion of the Mer­cer-Ban­non part­ner­ship, whose alliance pro­vid­ed fuel for the nar­ra­tive that drove Trump’s vic­to­ry.https://t.co/2hUs6RrOjD pic.twitter.com/uMeU4BFrLk— Matea Gold (@mateagold) Jan­u­ary 9, 2018

    The Mer­cers also fund­ed con­ser­v­a­tive groups that helped push Trump’s elec­tion lies and spread hate. An analy­sis by George­town Uni­ver­si­ty’s Bridge Ini­tia­tive, which research­es the spread of Islam­o­pho­bia, exten­sive­ly detailed the Mer­cers’ dona­tions to groups that pro­mote “racism, xeno­pho­bia, Islam­o­pho­bia, and anti-Semi­tism,” and that have since moved on to push­ing elec­tion con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries.

    In 2017, the Mer­cers donat­ed $200,000 to the Gate­stone Insti­tute, where Rebekah Mer­cer sat on the board of gov­er­nors. The group spent years push­ing anti-Islam writ­ings before echo­ing Trump’s base­less fraud claims fol­low­ing the elec­tion. That same year, the Mer­cers gave $1.725 mil­lion and anoth­er $500,000 the fol­low­ing year to the Ban­non-found­ed Gov­ern­ment Account­abil­i­ty Insti­tute, whose research direc­tor Eric Eggers pushed unfound­ed fraud claims on Sean Han­ni­ty’s radio show. In 2018, they gave $8.1 mil­lion to DonorsTrust, which lat­er donat­ed $1.5 mil­lion to the white nation­al­ist group VDARE, which sub­se­quent­ly pro­mot­ed con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries about the elec­tion.

    “Any exam­i­na­tion of the growth of the far-right today in the U.S. must take into account the role of the Mer­cer fam­i­ly,” said Mobashra Taza­mal, a senior research fel­low at Bridge who authored the report, in an email to Salon. “Rebekah Mer­cer, in par­tic­u­lar, has pro­vid­ed finan­cial sup­port to politi­cians who ampli­fy white nation­al­ist sen­ti­ments, and plat­forms like Bre­it­bart and Par­ler that mag­ni­fy far-right con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries.”

    Taza­mal added that the Capi­tol riot should not be under­stood as “an organ­ic event” but rather as a “coor­di­nat­ed attack.”

    “By strate­gi­cal­ly fun­nel­ing mil­lions into known hate groups, plat­forms ampli­fy­ing racism, Islam­o­pho­bia, and xeno­pho­bia, and politi­cians who pushed forth out­right lies of a stolen elec­tion, Rebekah Mer­cer played a role in incit­ing the vio­lence by pro­vid­ing mate­r­i­al sup­port,” she said. “The bil­lion­aire fam­i­ly has used their extra­or­di­nary wealth to bankroll the rise of vio­lent white nation­al­ism in this coun­try.”

    #Mer­cer dona­tions to think tanks from .@washingtonpost pic.twitter.com/CgKil9WVo6— JoAnne (@josieO) March 28, 2017

    Rebekah Mer­cer defend­ed her­self in a 2018 Wall Street Jour­nal op-ed, claim­ing that she “wel­comes immi­grants and refugees” and rejects “any dis­crim­i­na­tion based on race, gen­der, creed, eth­nic­i­ty or sex­u­al ori­en­ta­tion,” despite repeat­ed­ly fund­ing law­mak­ers and groups accused of traf­fick­ing hate. She said she sup­port­ed Trump “because he promised to tack­le entrenched cor­rup­tion on both sides of the aisle,” even though he did far more to fill the swamp than drain it. She insist­ed that she had “no edi­to­r­i­al author­i­ty” at Bre­it­bart and argued that Ban­non took the out­let in the “wrong direc­tion,” though The New York­er report­ed that the fam­i­ly had invest­ed $10 mil­lion in the out­let on the con­di­tion that Ban­non would be placed on the com­pa­ny’s board. The report also said that she is “high­ly engaged” with the site’s con­tent and “often points out areas of cov­er­age that she thinks require more atten­tion.”

    “She reads every sto­ry, and calls when there are gram­mat­i­cal errors or typos,” a source told the out­let.

    The Mer­cers were also the prin­ci­pal patrons for far-right troll Milo Yiannopou­los. After Yiannopou­los was fired by Bre­it­bart for com­ments defend­ing pedophil­ia, he received a wire trans­fer from Robert Mer­cer’s accoun­tant, accord­ing to Buz­zFeed News. “Rebekah Mer­cer loves Milo,” a source told the out­let. “They always stood behind him, and their sup­port nev­er wavered.”

    Politi­co in 2016 dubbed Rebekah Mer­cer the “most pow­er­ful woman in GOP pol­i­tics.” News­max founder Chris Rud­dy, whose out­let also pushed the “big lie,” labeled Mer­cer the “first lady of the alt-right.” Though her father signed the large checks, Politi­co report­ed, it’s Rebekah Mer­cer who is “run­ning the fam­i­ly oper­a­tion” and whose “frus­tra­tion” with the Koch broth­ers’ donor net­work — in which the Mer­cers pre­vi­ous­ly par­tic­i­pat­ed — led her to start a “rival oper­a­tion.”

    Rebekah Mer­cer heads the Mer­cer fam­i­ly’s foun­da­tion, which donat­ed $35 mil­lion to right-wing think tanks and pol­i­cy groups between 2009 and 2014, accord­ing to the Wash­ing­ton Post. It marked a mas­sive shift for the fam­i­ly, which donat­ed just $37,800 in 2006, includ­ing a $4,200 check from Robert Mer­cer’s wife Diana to Hillary Clin­ton’s Sen­ate cam­paign. The elec­tion of Barack Oba­ma changed every­thing, lead­ing the fam­i­ly to pump at least $77 mil­lion in polit­i­cal dona­tions into con­ser­v­a­tive can­di­dates and caus­es between 2008 and 2016. Though their ear­ly for­ays into pol­i­tics in New York and Ore­gon were utter fail­ures, and Ted Cruz’s 2016 pres­i­den­tial cam­paign crum­bled under the weight of relent­less attacks from Trump and gen­er­al bipar­ti­san dis­dain, their invest­ment in Trump quick­ly paid div­i­dends.

    Rebekah Mer­cer report­ed­ly led a major reor­ga­ni­za­tion of Trump’s 2016 cam­paign, con­nect­ing him with Ban­non and for­mer Cruz advis­er Kellyanne Con­way, who would replace Paul Man­afort at the helm of the team. Mer­cer, who also served on the Trump tran­si­tion’s exec­u­tive com­mit­tee, pushed for Trump to hire Fly­nn, a retired Army lieu­tenant gen­er­al who was forced to resign less than a month into Trump’s pres­i­den­cy amid a crim­i­nal inves­ti­ga­tion and now spreads QAnon con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries online.

    It’s unclear why the Mer­cers fund so many far-right caus­es, though sources close to the fam­i­ly told Politi­co in 2016 that they “har­bor a deep and abid­ing enmi­ty toward the polit­i­cal estab­lish­ment.” Robert Mer­cer has been described as a “reclu­sive” for­mer IBM com­put­er sci­en­tist who made his for­tune as co-CEO of the algo­rith­mic trad­ing com­pa­ny Renais­sance Tech­nolo­gies. Sources close to him told The New York­er that he is a con­spir­a­cy the­o­rist who believes the Clin­tons had oppo­nents mur­dered and were involved in a drug-run­ning ring with the CIA. He has also described the Civ­il Rights Act as a mis­take, argu­ing that Black peo­ple were bet­ter off finan­cial­ly before the pas­sage of the land­mark law, accord­ing to the same New York­er report. Racism in the U.S. is “exag­ger­at­ed,” Mer­cer report­ed­ly said, attribut­ing most of it to “Black racists.” He has like­wise argued that cli­mate change is not a prob­lem and would actu­al­ly be ben­e­fi­cial for the Earth, sources told the mag­a­zine.

    “Bob believes that human beings have no inher­ent val­ue oth­er than how much mon­ey they make,” David Mager­man, a for­mer col­league of Mer­cer who lat­er sued him for unlaw­ful ter­mi­na­tion, told the New York­er. “A cat has val­ue, he’s said, because it pro­vides plea­sure to humans. But if some­one is on wel­fare they have neg­a­tive val­ue. If he earns a thou­sand times more than a school­teacher, then he’s a thou­sand times more valu­able.”

    Mager­man warned in an op-ed in the Philadel­phia Inquir­er that Mer­cer was “effec­tive­ly buy­ing shares in the can­di­date.”

    “Robert Mer­cer now owns a siz­able share of the Unit­ed States Pres­i­den­cy,” he wrote.

    While paint­ing her­self as a phil­an­thropist who sup­ports small gov­ern­ment and per­son­al respon­si­bil­i­ty, Rebekah Mer­cer, who report­ed­ly home-schools her four chil­dren in a $28 mil­lion Trump-brand­ed apart­ment in New York that she shares with her hus­band, a Mor­gan Stan­ley banker, described the state of the coun­try in apoc­a­lyp­tic terms in a 2019 book first flagged by The Inter­cept.

    “[W]hat is the state of [the Amer­i­can] exper­i­ment today?” Mer­cer asked. “ ‘Now we are engaged in a great civ­il war,’ said Abra­ham Lin­coln at Get­tys­burg in 1863. One hun­dred and fifty-five years lat­er, it is bare­ly hyper­bol­ic to echo the Great Eman­ci­pa­tor.” She added, “We are not yet in armed con­flict, but we are fac­ing an ever more bel­liger­ent, fran­tic, and absurd group of rad­i­cals in a strug­gle for the soul of our coun­try.”

    The report added that the Mer­cers own Cen­tre Firearms, a com­pa­ny that claims to have the “coun­try’s largest pri­vate cache of machine guns,” and has a Queens ware­house filled with guns and “an Mk 19 belt-fed grenade launch­er, capa­ble of hurl­ing 60 explo­sives per minute.”

    ...

    ———–

    “How one bil­lion­aire fam­i­ly bankrolled elec­tion lies, white nation­al­ism — and the Capi­tol riot” by IGOR DERYSH; Salon; 02/04/2021

    ““The Mer­cers laid the ground­work for the Trump rev­o­lu­tion,” Ban­non told The New York­er in 2017. “Irrefutably, when you look at donors dur­ing the past four years, they have had the sin­gle biggest impact of any­body, includ­ing the Kochs.” Steve Schmidt, a for­mer Repub­li­can strate­gist and co-founder of the anti-Trump Lin­coln Project, sees it dif­fer­ent­ly. Rebekah Mer­cer, he said in an inter­view with Salon, is the “chief financier or one of the chief financiers of the fas­cist move­ment, and that’s what it is.”

    Rebekah Mer­cer is the “chief financier or one of the chief financiers of the fas­cist move­ment.” That’s how for­mer Repub­li­can strate­gist Steve Schmidt describes her. It sounds like Rebekah is the one most direct­ly involved with man­ag­ing the Mer­cer fam­i­ly’s polit­i­cal invest­ments and she might even be more of a zealot than her father. And that’s fun­da­men­tal­ly why we can pre­dict with con­fi­dence that any inves­ti­ga­tion into the financ­ing behind the insur­rec­tion will lead back to the Mer­cers. Although, thanks to the US’s dark mon­ey laws, it will prob­a­bly be years before we get a bet­ter idea of just how much they spent:

    ...
    Lax laws sur­round­ing dark mon­ey donat­ed to non­prof­it enti­ties mean it will like­ly be “sev­er­al years before the pub­lic will have a com­plete sense of how much the Mer­cers spent,” wrote The Inter­cep­t’s Matthew Cun­ning­ham-Cook.

    Pub­licly avail­able data shows that the Mer­cers helped fund numer­ous play­ers who pushed the “big lie.” The fam­i­ly donat­ed $3.8 mil­lion to Cit­i­zens Unit­ed, which is run by long­time Trump advis­er David Bossie, who was tapped to lead the for­mer pres­i­den­t’s legal chal­lenges. Though the Mer­cers have pulled back their finan­cial sup­port in recent elec­tion cycles amid grow­ing scruti­ny, they donat­ed $300,000 dur­ing this past cycle to the Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee, which joined Trump’s legal bat­tle.

    ...

    Any exam­i­na­tion of the growth of the far-right today in the U.S. must take into account the role of the Mer­cer fam­i­ly,” said Mobashra Taza­mal, a senior research fel­low at Bridge who authored the report, in an email to Salon. “Rebekah Mer­cer, in par­tic­u­lar, has pro­vid­ed finan­cial sup­port to politi­cians who ampli­fy white nation­al­ist sen­ti­ments, and plat­forms like Bre­it­bart and Par­ler that mag­ni­fy far-right con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries.”

    Taza­mal added that the Capi­tol riot should not be under­stood as “an organ­ic event” but rather as a “coor­di­nat­ed attack.”

    “By strate­gi­cal­ly fun­nel­ing mil­lions into known hate groups, plat­forms ampli­fy­ing racism, Islam­o­pho­bia, and xeno­pho­bia, and politi­cians who pushed forth out­right lies of a stolen elec­tion, Rebekah Mer­cer played a role in incit­ing the vio­lence by pro­vid­ing mate­r­i­al sup­port,” she said. “The bil­lion­aire fam­i­ly has used their extra­or­di­nary wealth to bankroll the rise of vio­lent white nation­al­ism in this coun­try.”

    ...

    Politi­co in 2016 dubbed Rebekah Mer­cer the “most pow­er­ful woman in GOP pol­i­tics.” News­max founder Chris Rud­dy, whose out­let also pushed the “big lie,” labeled Mer­cer the “first lady of the alt-right.” Though her father signed the large checks, Politi­co report­ed, it’s Rebekah Mer­cer who is “run­ning the fam­i­ly oper­a­tion” and whose “frus­tra­tion” with the Koch broth­ers’ donor net­work — in which the Mer­cers pre­vi­ous­ly par­tic­i­pat­ed — led her to start a “rival oper­a­tion.”

    ...

    While paint­ing her­self as a phil­an­thropist who sup­ports small gov­ern­ment and per­son­al respon­si­bil­i­ty, Rebekah Mer­cer, who report­ed­ly home-schools her four chil­dren in a $28 mil­lion Trump-brand­ed apart­ment in New York that she shares with her hus­band, a Mor­gan Stan­ley banker, described the state of the coun­try in apoc­a­lyp­tic terms in a 2019 book first flagged by The Inter­cept.

    “[W]hat is the state of [the Amer­i­can] exper­i­ment today?” Mer­cer asked. “ ‘Now we are engaged in a great civ­il war,’ said Abra­ham Lin­coln at Get­tys­burg in 1863. One hun­dred and fifty-five years lat­er, it is bare­ly hyper­bol­ic to echo the Great Eman­ci­pa­tor.” She added, “We are not yet in armed con­flict, but we are fac­ing an ever more bel­liger­ent, fran­tic, and absurd group of rad­i­cals in a strug­gle for the soul of our coun­try.”

    The report added that the Mer­cers own Cen­tre Firearms, a com­pa­ny that claims to have the “coun­try’s largest pri­vate cache of machine guns,” and has a Queens ware­house filled with guns and “an Mk 19 belt-fed grenade launch­er, capa­ble of hurl­ing 60 explo­sives per minute.”
    ...

    It’s rather fit­ting that the first fam­i­ly of Amer­i­can fas­cism also owns the com­pa­ny claim­ing to have the US’s largest pri­vate cache of machine guns. Because if we had to attempt to char­ac­ter­ize the Mer­cers’ polit­i­cal phi­los­o­phy, it could rough­ly be sym­bol­ized as a giant pile of pri­vate­ly owned machine guns. The wor­ship and exe­cu­tion of raw pow­er. A polit­i­cal phi­los­o­phy that’s as shal­low as it is chill­ing. And quite a good fit with the Trumpian cult of per­son­al­i­ty that has stolen the hearts and minds of the GOP base. It’s arguably the worst aspect of the sto­ry of the rise of the Mer­cers: It isn’t just that the GOP is being tak­en over by the Mer­cers’ mon­ey. It’s been cap­tured by their phi­los­o­phy too. Not that the pre-Mer­cer GOP was any­thing to brag about, but they’ve man­aged to tak­ing the rot­ting corpse of that par­ty and make it even more rot­ten and sou­less.

    So now that we have the for­mer CEO of Par­ler pub­licly accus­ing Rebekah Mer­cer of cod­dling neo-Nazis and domes­tic ter­ror­ists, there’s the ques­tion of how Matze’s pub­lic accu­sa­tions might end up impact­ing Rebekah’s legal cul­pa­bil­i­ty in foment­ing the insur­rec­tion. But per­haps the big­ger ques­tion is how much will her pop­u­lar­i­ty increase with the GOP base as a result of Matze’s accu­sa­tions and when is she going to run for office her­self.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | February 6, 2021, 5:38 pm
  16. Here is a Jan­u­ary 8, Rolling Stone Arti­cle on the sym­bol­ysm revealed on the QAnon Shaman’who gave a prayer in the Sen­ate Cham­ber dur­ing the Cap­i­tal Insur­rec­tion. His Tatoo’s have Nazi and White Suprema­cist sym­bol­ism.

    https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-features/qanon-shaman-maga-capitol-riot-rune-pagan-imagery-tattoo-1111344/

    Is the ‘QAnon Shaman’ From the MAGA Capi­tol Riot Cov­ered in Neo-Nazi Imagery?
    Runes and oth­er Pagan sym­bols aren’t inher­ent­ly racist — but they’ve long been coopt­ed by white suprema­cists
    Kim Kel­ly Jan­u­ary 8, 2021 4:23PM ET

    PHOTO CAPTION: Sup­port­ers of US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, includ­ing Jake Angeli, a QAnon sup­port­er known for his paint­ed face and horned hat, protest in the US Capi­tol on Jan­u­ary 6, 2021, in Wash­ing­ton, DC.

    Mere hours after a mob of Trump sup­port­ers stormed the Capi­tol­build­ing in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., forc­ing Con­gress to evac­u­ate and giv­ing every impres­sion of stag­ing an attempt­ed coup, the right-wing pro­pa­gan­da machine whirred to life. Repub­li­can mouth­piece Sarah Palin, Pro-Trump lawyer Lin Wood (who has since been banned­from Twit­ter for incit­ing vio­lence), far-right Flori­da Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Matt Gaetz,and innu­mer­able pro-Trump social media accounts all began spreadin­gan unfound­ed and utter­ly bizarre false-flag the­o­ry that antifas­cists, or “antifa,” had some­how­in­fil­trat­ed the crowd and were actu­al­ly behind all the vio­lence and destruc­tion. Among their major pieces of “evi­dence” were pho­tos of Ari­zona QAnon­sup­port­er Jake Angeli, who iswell-known­for his out­sized, cos­tumed pres­ence at pro-Trump ral­lies and far-right anti-lock­down protests. Angeli him­self was mor­ti­fiedat being mis­tak­en for antifa, tweet­ing plain­tive­ly, “I’m a Qanon & dig­i­tal sol­dier. My name is Jake & I marched with the police & fought against BLM & ANTIFA in PHX.” 

    ARTICLE LINK: ‘QAnon Shaman,’ Man Car­ry­ing Pelosi’s Lectern Both Arrest­ed Fol­low­ing Capi­tol Riot

    But there may be an even more bla­tant sign that Angeli is no friend to antifas­cists: his much-pho­tographed bare tor­so is cov­ered in sym­bols that have long been used by the white suprema­cist move­ment. Giv­en his pen­chant for show­ing up to protests shirt­less, face-paint­ed, and sport­ing a horned hel­met like some kind of racist Par­ty City Viking who took a wrong turn and end­ed up at Burn­ing Man, Angeli’s many tat­toos are often on full dis­play, includ­ing his large trio of Odin­ist sym­bols. He has a mjol­nir, or Thor’s Ham­mer, on his stom­ach, an image of Yggdrasil, or Tree of Life, etched around his nip­ple, and most sig­nif­i­cant­ly, placed right above his heart, a valknut, or “knot of the slain,” an old Norse runic sym­bol turned rec­og­nized hate sym­bol that is pop­u­lar among white suprema­cists. In addi­tion, the mjol­nirhas become a sym­bol of iden­ti­ty among mod­ern hea­thens, and is par­tic­u­lar­ly pop­u­lara­mong those aligned with the explic­it­ly white suprema­cist neo-Völkisch” or “folk­ish” move­ment.

    The pres­ence of Yggdrasil or even mjol­n­iron their own isn’t nec­es­sar­i­ly cause for alarm, giv­en their pop­u­lar­i­ty among mod­ern pagans and fans of Norse mythol­o­gy, but there is far less ambi­gu­i­ty around the valknut. There issome debate­about its orig­i­nal mean­ing, and its three inter­con­nect­ed tri­an­gles have appeared on a vari­ety of archae­o­log­i­cal objects from the Viking era; the name itself is a neol­o­gism, a mod­ern com­bi­na­tion of the Old Nor­se­valr — the slain — and knut, “knot.” While it’s used in some Euro­pean­cor­po­ratel­o­gos, Hea­thens now use it to sig­ni­fy that one is ready to be tak­en into the ranks of Odin’s cho­sen war­riors — essen­tial­ly, to die a warrior’s death for the cause. When tat­tooed on a con­ser­v­a­tive activist who adheres to a blood libel-style con­spir­a­cy like QAnon, it wouldn’t even have to mean he was a white suprema­cist, but rather that con­spir­a­to­r­i­al world views have a his­tor­i­cal con­text about which their believ­ers should be slight­ly self-aware.

    Under­stand­ably, many actu­al pagans are hor­ri­fiedat the way white suprema­cists have co-opt­ed their reli­gious and cul­tur­al icons and twist­ed them into sym­bols of hate. Talia Lavin, who explores the con­cept in her recent book, Cul­ture War­lords, says that neo-Nazis’ Viking fetish harkens back to their obses­sion with both tra­di­tion­al Euro­pean con­cep­tions of mas­culin­i­ty and white­ness itself. “Neo­pa­gan sym­bols offer the hyper­mas­cu­line aes­thet­ic sheen of the Viking,” she explains via text mes­sage. “But we can also see a desire to ground their white suprema­cist ide­ol­o­gy in a pur­port­ed­ly time­less myth, a desire to reach back to an anachro­nis­tic, ahis­tor­i­cal ‘per­fect’ white­ness, thus ground­ing their vio­lence in an ide­al­ized past, in white nation­al­ism as in any oth­er form of nation­al­ism.”
    This kind of Norse imagery had a long his­to­ry of being co-opt­ed by ter­ri­ble peo­ple. The orig­i­nal Nazis famous­ly made heavy use of Norse and Ger­man­ic runes (the “SS” bolt is the most famous exam­ple), as do their mod­ern suc­ces­sorsin groups like the Nordic Resis­tance Move­ment, the Sol­diers of Odin, and the Nation­al Social­ist Movement,which hasadopt­ed the oth­a­laor odal­rune as its logo. Mem­bers of the Aryan Broth­er­hood are fond of tat­too­ing runes and Viking sym­bols along­side their swastikas and Celtic cross­es; an explic­it­ly white suprema­cist branch of mod­ern pagan­ism called Odin­is­mor Wotanism is pro­mot­ed by the Asatru FolkA­ssem­bly (whose founder, Stephen McNallen, attend­edthe dead­ly Unite the Right ral­ly in Char­lottesville)  and con­tin­uesto pro­lif­er­ate­and cross-pol­li­nate with oth­er fas­cist ide­olo­gies (noto­ri­ous white suprema­cist and mur­der­er­David Lane was a fan); and runes are ram­pant with­in the neo-Nazi black met­al scene (which is where I first came across the valknutafter stum­bling on a Nazi black met­al band named, well, Walknut). It’s sim­i­lar to what hap­pened to the swasti­ka, in which an ancient reli­gious sym­bol was vio­lent­ly co-opt­ed by Nazis and for­ev­er poi­soned; move­ments to “reclaim the swasti­ka” exist, but some things sim­ply can­not be undone, no mat­ter how unfair it is to the inno­cent peo­ple who saw their sacred sym­bol stolen and per­vert­ed. 

    This is also where it can get sticky, though, because there are plen­ty of pagans and met­al musi­cians who are not affil­i­at­ed with white suprema­cist ide­olo­gies (as well as explic­it­ly anti-fas­cist vari­eties of each). The exis­tence of both Thorr’s Ham­mer, a high­ly respect­ed and def­i­nite­ly not-fas­cist Nineties death/doom project with lyrics about Norse mythol­o­gy and a Nor­we­gian vocal­ist, and Thor’s Ham­mer, a vir­u­lent­ly racist neo-Nazi black met­al band from Poland with deep ties to the inter­na­tion­al Nazi black met­al scene, make that appar­ent. Out­side of sub­cul­tur­al nich­es, not every per­son who gets a rune or Norse sym­bol tat­too nec­es­sar­i­ly ful­ly under­stands its polit­i­cal and cul­tur­al his­to­ry, espe­cial­ly now that Mar­vel has brought the leg­end of Thor and his Ham­mer back into the main­stream.

    There is even a grow­ing move­ment to wrest these sym­bols and mod­ern hea­thenism more gen­er­al­ly away from white suprema­cists, with groups like Hea­thens Against Hate­and Hea­thens Unit­ed Against Racism offer­ing an antiracist alter­na­tive. 

    If Angeli him­self were not so obvi­ous­ly aligned with anti-Semit­ic far-right extrem­ist pol­i­tics, his tat­toos would not car­ry near­ly so much weight. But since he is, he seems to be send­ing a mes­sage with those inter­locked tri­an­gles, one that could be rec­og­nized by the white suprema­cists he’s cho­sen to march alongside.The right’s attempt to paint him as antifa would almost be fun­ny if it weren’t so utter­ly detached from real­i­ty. When some­one goes to such extrav­a­gant lengths to show you who they are, believe them. 

    Posted by Mary Benton | February 7, 2021, 3:24 pm
  17. Ftr Coup Coup – Oath Keep­ers – Three Per­centers Plot 02–13-21

    This next arti­cle alleges that a leader of the far-right Oath Keep­ers, Thomas Cald­well mili­tia group and led oth­er extrem­ists in a pre-planned plot to attack on the U.S. Capi­tol. Caldwell’s lawyer said that Mr. Cald­well not only held a lead­er­ship posi­tion in the extrem­ist group Oath Keep­ers — had a top-secret secu­ri­ty clear­ance for decades and pre­vi­ous­ly worked for the FBI; poten­tial­ly expos­ing the weak­ness­es of the secu­ri­ty checks.

    They dis­cussed the pos­si­bil­i­ty of get­ting a boat to fer­ry ‘heavy weapons’ across the Potomac Riv­er. He sent sent a text mes­sage to some­one believed to be affil­i­at­ed with anoth­er far right mil­i­tant group, the Three Per­centers. They had a “Quick Response Team” wait­ing for the heavy weapons a Cald­well was coor­di­nat­ing calls to dis­cuss the plan, and join­ing forces with anoth­er far right wing mili­tia Oath Keep­er chap­ters.

    Mr. Cald­well and his asso­ciates began plot­ting their incur­sion of the US Capi­tol in Novem­ber 2020. A co-con­spir­a­tor, Watkins invit­ed recruits six days after the elec­tion for a train­ing camp in Colum­bus, Ohio, to make peo­ple ‘fight­ing fit’ for Inau­gu­ra­tion Day. He told them to pre­pare to ‘kill and die for our rights’. Anoth­er plot­ter, Crowl, a for­mer Marine mechan­ic, alleged­ly attend­ed a dif­fer­ent train­ing camp in North Car­oli­na, in Decem­ber.

    These peo­ple said that they were work­ing under the per­ceived direc­tions of Don­ald Trump, embrac­ing his claims of elec­tion fraud and ready­ing them­selves for blood­shed.  One of these par­tic­i­pants made it all the way to the house floor, anoth­er to Pelosi’s office.

    Author­i­ties found a ‘Death List’ in Caldwell’s home that includ­ed the name of an elect­ed offi­cial from anoth­er state.  Inves­ti­ga­tors also found invoic­es for more than $750 worth of live ammu­ni­tion and what appeared to be a gun designed to look like a cell­phone, pros­e­cu­tors said.

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9251783/Oath-Keepers-rioter-Thomas-Caldwell-plotted-ferry-heavy-weapons-Potomac-prosecutors-say.html

    Feb­ru­ary 11, 2021 Kei­th Grif­fith for the Dailymail.com and Asso­ci­at­ed Press

    Oath Keep­ers ‘leader’ who claims to be a retired FBI sec­tion chief ‘dis­cussed using boats to fer­ry “heavy weapons” across Potomac Riv­er for Capi­tol attack and had “death list” of offi­cials’

    A man author­i­ties say is a leader of the far-right Oath Keep­ers mili­tia group and led oth­er extrem­ists in the attack on the U.S. Capi­tol dis­cussed the pos­si­bil­i­ty of get­ting a boat to fer­ry ‘heavy weapons’ across the Potomac Riv­er, pros­e­cu­tors say.

    Thomas Cald­well, 66, is charged with con­spir­a­cy to obstruct Con­gress along­side two oth­er alleged mem­bers of the mili­tia group, and court papers filed on Thurs­day pro­vide chill­ing new evi­dence in the plot on Capi­tol Hill.
    Pros­e­cu­tors said Cald­well sent a text mes­sage to some­one believed to be affil­i­at­ed with the Three Per­centers, an anti-gov­ern­ment move­ment, on Jan­u­ary 3 about the pos­si­bil­i­ty of send­ing weapons across the riv­er.

    ‘How many peo­ple either in the mili­tia or not (who are still sup­port­ive of our efforts to save the Repub­lic) have a boat on a trail­er that could han­dle a Potomac cross­ing?’ Cald­well wrote, accord­ing to pros­e­cu­tors. 

    ‘If we had some­one stand­ing by at a dock ramp (one near the Pen­ta­gon for sure) we could have our Quick Response Team with the heavy weapons stand­ing by, quick­ly load them and fer­ry them across the riv­er to our wait­ing arms.’

    PHOTO CAPTION: Pros­e­cu­tors said Cald­well sent a text mes­sage to some­one believed to be affil­i­at­ed with the Three Per­centers on Jan­u­ary 3 about the pos­si­bil­i­ty of send­ing weapons across the Potomac 

    PHOTO CAPTION: Oath Keep­ers are seen using the ‘ranger file’ to move through the crowd on Jan­u­ary 6
    PHOTO CAPTION: A map shows the pro­posed boat launch near the Pen­ta­gon that Cald­well alleged­ly pro­posed using to fer­ry a ‘Quick Response Team with the heavy weapons’ to the Capi­tol

    Pros­e­cu­tors revealed the evi­dence to make the case that Cald­well should remain locked up while he awaits tri­al.

    Author­i­ties also said that dur­ing a search of Cald­well’s home, they also found a ‘Death List’ that includ­ed the name of an elect­ed offi­cial from anoth­er state. 

    Inves­ti­ga­tors also found invoic­es for more than $750 worth of live ammu­ni­tion and what appeared to be a gun designed to look like a cell­phone, pros­e­cu­tors said.

    Cald­well’s lawyer is urg­ing the judge to release him, say­ing he denies being a mem­ber of the Oath Keep­ers or ever going into the Capi­tol build­ing. 
    The details come days after Cald­well’s lawyer said the man — who author­i­ties said holds a lead­er­ship posi­tion in the extrem­ist group — had a top-secret secu­ri­ty clear­ance for decades and pre­vi­ous­ly worked for the FBI. 

    The FBI has not answered ques­tions about the lawyer’s claim and Cald­well’s lawyer has not respond­ed to mul­ti­ple mes­sages.

    PHOTO CAPTION: ‘Cald­well planned with Dono­van Crowl, Jes­si­ca Watkins, (pic­tured) and oth­ers known and unknown, to forcibly storm the U.S. Capi­tol,’ an arrest affi­davit says

    Group of Oath Keep­ers seen out­side Capi­tol door on day of siege
    Defense Attor­ney Thomas Thomas Plofchan said Cald­well has held a top-secret secu­ri­ty clear­ance since 1979, which required mul­ti­ple spe­cial back­ground inves­ti­ga­tions. Cald­well also ran a con­sult­ing firm that did clas­si­fied work for the U.S. gov­ern­ment, the lawyer said.

    The Vir­ginia man is among more than 200 peo­ple charged with fed­er­al crimes so far in the dead­ly siege. 

    He was charged with con­spir­a­cy last month along­side two oth­er accused mem­bers of the Oath Keep­ers, who are accused of plan­ning in advance to car­ry out vio­lence. 

    Author­i­ties say Cald­well began plot­ting to undo Pres­i­dent Joe Biden’s vic­to­ry as ear­ly as the days after the elec­tion.

    Pros­e­cu­tors said the Oath Keep­ers com­mu­ni­cat­ed dur­ing the attack about the loca­tion of law­mak­ers. 

    At one point dur­ing the siege, Cald­well received a mes­sage that said ‘all mem­bers are in the tun­nels under the cap­i­tal,’ accord­ing to court doc­u­ments. ‘Seal them in turn on gas,’ it said.

    Cald­well is charged along­side Jes­si­ca Marie Watkins, 38, and Dono­van Ray Crowl, 50, of Ohio.

    PHOTO CAPTION: Jes­si­ca Watkins (left) and Don­a­van Crowl, both mil­i­tary vet­er­ans, were arrest­ed in Ohio

    PHOTO CAPTION: Jes­si­ca Watkins, 38, a bar­tender from Ohio, par­tic­i­pat­ed in the mob that stormed the Capi­tol, fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tors say

    The trio, who are all US mil­i­tary vet­er­ans and affil­i­at­ed with the extrem­ist Oath Keep­ers group, are accused of con­spir­ing to obstruct Con­gress and oth­er counts, pun­ish­able up to 20 years in prison.

    Watkins, who author­i­ties say con­spired with Cald­well, indi­cat­ed as Biden’s inau­gu­ra­tion approached that she ‘was await­ing direc­tion from Pres­i­dent Trump,’ pros­e­cu­tors said in anoth­er court fil­ing Thurs­day.

    ‘I am con­cerned this is an elab­o­rate trap,’ Watkins in a text mes­sage days after the elec­tion, accord­ing to the court papers. ‘Unless the POTUS him­self acti­vates us, it´s not legit. The POTUS has the right to acti­vate units too. If Trump asks me to come, I will.’

    There was no attor­ney list­ed for Watkins in the court record.

    Accord­ing to an indict­ment, Watkins began tap­ping up poten­tial recruits six days after the elec­tion for a train­ing camp in Colum­bus, Ohio, to make peo­ple ‘fight­ing fit’ for Inau­gu­ra­tion Day, telling them to pre­pare to ‘kill and die for our rights’.

    Crowl, a for­mer Marine mechan­ic, alleged­ly attend­ed a dif­fer­ent train­ing camp in North Car­oli­na, in Decem­ber, pros­e­cu­tors said.

    PHOTO CAPTION: Mem­bers of the Oath Keep­ers mili­tia group, includ­ing Jes­si­ca Marie Watkins (Far Left), stand among sup­port­ers of U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump at the Capi­tol on Jan­u­ary 6

    Mem­bers of para­mil­i­tary group Oath Keep­ers riot in US Capi­tol
    In the 15-page indict­ment unsealed last month, pros­e­cu­tors said Watkins, Crowl and Cald­well all began plot­ting their incur­sion of the US Capi­tol in Novem­ber 2020, and con­tin­ued com­mu­ni­ca­tions until Jan­u­ary 19, when Cald­well was arrest­ed.

    Watkins, Crowl, and Cald­well are all report­ed­ly affil­i­at­ed with the anti-gov­ern­ment extrem­ist group Oath Keep­ers, while Watkins and Crowl are also mem­bers of the Ohio State Reg­u­lar Mili­tia.

    Who Are the Oath Keep­ers? 
    Found­ed by Stew­art Rhodes, Oath Keep­ers is an Amer­i­can far-right anti-gov­ern­ment mili­tia orga­ni­za­tion com­posed of cur­rent and for­mer mil­i­tary, police, and first respon­ders who pledge to ful­fill the oath that all mil­i­tary and police take in order to ‘defend the Con­sti­tu­tion against all ene­mies, for­eign and domes­tic.’
    The group describes itself as non-par­ti­san, though sev­er­al orga­ni­za­tions that mon­i­tor domes­tic ter­ror­ism and hate groups describe it as extrem­ist or rad­i­cal. 
    Mark Pit­cav­age of the ADL describes the group as ‘heav­i­ly armed extrem­ists with a con­spir­a­to­r­i­al and anti-gov­ern­ment mind­set look­ing for poten­tial show­downs with the gov­ern­ment.’ 

    Their fre­quent exchanges var­ied in top­ics from a call to action to logis­tics, includ­ing lodg­ing options, coor­di­nat­ing calls to dis­cuss the plan, and join­ing forces with oth­er Oath Keep­er chap­ters, pros­e­cu­tors say.

    In their plan­ning, pros­e­cu­tors claim, the group said that they were work­ing under the per­ceived direc­tions of Don­ald Trump, embrac­ing his claims of elec­tion fraud and ready­ing them­selves for blood­shed. 

    Fed­er­al author­i­ties say that Cald­well also sent Face­book mes­sages fol­low­ing the attack.

    ‘Proud boys scuf­fled with cops and drove them inside to hide,’ Cald­well’s mes­sage said, accord­ing to court doc­u­ments. 

    ‘Breached the doors. One guy made it all the way to the house floor, anoth­er to Pelosi’s office. A good time.’

    Author­i­ties said Watkins and Crowl returned to Ohio, then went back to Vir­ginia to stay with Cald­well at his Berryville home for three days through Jan­u­ary 16. 

    The FBI com­plaint said Crowl and Watkins told police in Urbana, Ohio, they drove back to Ohio after hear­ing the FBI was look­ing for them.

    All three are charged with fed­er­al counts includ­ing con­spir­a­cy, con­spir­a­cy to hurt an offi­cer, vio­lent entry, obstruc­tion of offi­cial busi­ness and destruc­tion of gov­ern­ment prop­er­ty. 

    Cald­well has been detained in the Cen­tral Vir­ginia Region­al Cor­rec­tion­al Facil­i­ty in Orange, Vir­ginia, since his arrest last month. 

    Posted by Mary Benton | February 13, 2021, 1:11 pm
  18. This next arti­cle by Seth Abram­son in “Proof” on Jan­u­ary 27, 2021 shows his evi­dence at what he terms a “War Coun­sel” which met on Jan­u­ary 5, the day before the Cap­i­tal Riot who met to plan at least a por­tion of what was the Coup. The meet­ing includ­ed New­ly elect­ed Alaba­ma Sen­a­tor Tom­my Tuberville, Nebras­ka guber­na­to­r­i­al can­di­date Charles Herb­ster, Don­ald Trump Jr. and his girl­friend Kim­ber­ly Guil­foyle, Eric Trump, Peter Navar­ro, Charles Herb­ster, Ali Alexan­der, Adam Piper, and Paroned for­mer DIA Gen­er­al Michael Fly­nn, Corey Lewandows­ki (for­mer cam­paign aid), David Bossie (for­mer head of Cit­i­zens Unit­ed and Cit­i­zens Unit­ed Foun­da­tion – the orga­ni­za­tion which won the court case to per­mit unlim­it­ed finan­cial sup­port for a cam­paign issue, that essen­tial­ly destroyed our demo­c­ra­t­ice rep­re­sen­ta­tion who co-pro­duced six fea­ture films with Steve Ban­non), Cyber­in­tel­li­gence spe­cial­ists Phil Wal­dron My Pil­low own­er Mike Lin­dell and Trump sup­port­er, and Daniel Beck,

    This arti­cle was writ­ten before the impeach­ment tri­al, but inter­est­ing­ly it would explain why an appar­ent­ly insignif­i­cant and new­ly elect­ed Alaba­ma Sen­a­tor Tom­my Tuberville would be talk­ing with Pres­i­dent Trump as the Cap­i­tal Riot start­ed. This came out in arti­cles the last day of Trump’s sec­ond Sen­ate Impeach­ment Tri­al. The fact that Sen­a­tor Tuberville denied his atten­dance at the Jan­u­ary 5the meet­ing is sus­pi­cious.

    https://sethabramson.substack.com/p/more-revelations-emerge-on-secretive

    More Rev­e­la­tions About Secre­tive Jan­u­ary 5 War Coun­cil at Trump Inter­na­tion­al Hotel
    A few key ques­tions have been resolved, but sig­nif­i­cant unsolved mys­ter­ies remain.
    Seth Abram­son Jan 27

    Report­ing in the Oma­ha World-Her­ald, as well as social media screen­shots and videos, con­firm a Jan­u­ary 5 pre-insur­rec­tion war coun­cil at DC’s Trump Inter­na­tion­al Hotel. Also con­firmed by the evi­dence is a list of the gathering’s (min­i­mum) fif­teen atten­dees.
    The first Proof arti­cle on this sub­ject can be found here.

    The secre­tive Jan­u­ary 5 meeting—which one attendee, Sen­a­tor Tom­my Tuberville, has already been caught lying about, and which anoth­er, Nebras­ka guber­na­to­r­i­al can­di­date Charles Herb­ster, has attempt­ed to scrub his social media to conceal—included eight dif­fer­ent com­po­nents of Trump’s polit­i­cal machine:
    ¥ Fam­i­ly mem­bers: Don­ald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, and Kim­ber­ly Guil­foyle (cur­rent girl­friend of Trump Jr., and a for­mer on-air Fox News per­son­al­i­ty).
    ¥ Trump’s legal team: Rudy Giu­liani.
    ¥ Unit­ed States sen­a­tors: Tuberville and at least two oth­er sen­a­tors (see below).
    ¥ Admin­is­tra­tion offi­cials: Peter Navar­ro and Charles Herb­ster.
    ¥ Jan­u­ary 6 orga­niz­ers: Ali Alexan­der, Adam Piper, and Michael Fly­nn.
    ¥ Trump cam­paign offi­cials: Corey Lewandows­ki (for­mer), David Bossie (for­mer).
    ¥ Cyber­in­tel­li­gence spe­cial­ists: Fly­nn (infor­ma­tion oper­a­tions) and pos­si­bly Phil Wal­dron (self-described—see more below—as skilled in “intel­li­gence analy­sis”).
    ¥ Trump donors: Mike Lin­dell, Daniel Beck, and Herb­ster.
    Due to min­i­mal ongo­ing cov­er­age of this extra­or­di­nary pre-Jan­u­ary 6 strat­e­gy meet­ing, ques­tions about the Trump Inter­na­tion­al Hotel gath­er­ing remain. This arti­cle out­lines key ques­tions and reveals the answers to several—all uncov­ered over the last 24 hours.

    Ques­tion 1: How many sen­a­tors attend­ed Team Trump’s Jan­u­ary 5 war coun­cil?
    In his ini­tial Face­book post, Herb­ster list­ed Sen. Tom­my Tuberville (R‑AL) first on his list of meet­ing atten­dees, mak­ing the addi­tion unlike­ly to have been—it would seem—an error or fab­ri­ca­tion. Herbster’s claim about Tuberville was lat­er con­firmed by a Face­book post by meet­ing attendee Daniel Beck and an Insta­gram pho­to of Tuberville at Trump Inter­na­tion­al Hotel. Through a spokesper­son, Tuberville denied being at the hotel on Jan­u­ary 5.

    There’s now evi­dence Herb­ster is attempt­ing to doc­tor his Face­book feed to pro­tect Tuberville. An edit his­to­ry of the Nebraskan’s delet­ed-then-repost­ed con­fes­sion about attend­ing a Jan­u­ary 5 pre-insur­rec­tion strat­e­gy ses­sion reveals that Herb­ster at one point sought to fraud­u­lent­ly place the meet­ing at the White House, a lie that would excul­pate Tuberville from hav­ing deceived the Alaba­ma Polit­i­cal Reporter about his where­abouts, but would incul­pate then-Pres­i­dent Trump him­self as a near-cer­tain meet­ing attendee. This may be why the edit was quick­ly aban­doned, and Herbster’s post returned to its orig­i­nal condition—in which the top Trump advis­er asserts that the Jan­u­ary 5 meet­ing took place in the “pri­vate res­i­dence of the Pres­i­dent at Trump Inter­na­tion­al.” Here’s Herbster’s attempt­ed edit of his social media con­fes­sion:

    Read­ers will note that the since-aban­doned edit also includes Giu­liani as a meet­ing attendee, per­haps as a way of explain­ing how the meet­ing could have occurred at the White House—as of the list of meet­ing atten­dees in the now-delet­ed edit, only Giu­liani would have had an obvi­ous basis for already being at the White House and con­ven­ing a meet­ing there with or with­out the pres­ence of the pres­i­dent. In any case, Herbster’s fleet­ing addi­tion of Giu­liani to his Face­book feed fur­ther con­firms Daniel Beck’s claim that Giu­liani indeed attend­ed the Jan­u­ary 5 war coun­cil, albeit (as we now know) at the Trump Inter­na­tion­al Hotel in Wash­ing­ton rather than the White House.

    Evi­dence has also emerged that the now-dis­cred­it­ed “vot­ing-fraud expert” Giu­liani had tried to pro­mote in the weeks lead­ing up to the insur­rec­tion, Phil Wal­dron, was also at Trump Inter­na­tion­al Hotel in DC on Jan­u­ary 5, though we do not know if he attend­ed Trump’s war coun­cil. This pho­to­graph from Insta­gram pro­vides the proof:

    That Wal­dron is seen above pos­ing with a woman who dur­ing the same peri­od of time posed with Tuberville at Trump Inter­na­tion­al Hotel cer­tain­ly increas­es the like­li­hood that Wal­dron, like Tuberville, attend­ed the war coun­cil (as does Giuliani’s atten­dance):
    Incred­i­bly, Waldron’s LinkedIn pro­file lists him as a “fork­lift dri­ver” and “floor sweep­er” at One Shot Spir­its, a brew­ery in Drip­ping Springs, Texas.

    Late yes­ter­day, news came to light offer­ing anoth­er pos­si­ble rea­son for Herbster’s attempt to move the meet­ing to the White House in this Face­book con­fes­sion: the rev­e­la­tion that there were at least three U.S. sen­a­tors in atten­dance, a cir­cum­stance that would cause a meet­ing at Trump’s pri­vate res­i­dence in Wash­ing­ton to seem even more sus­pi­cious. Per a video post­ed by Txtwire CEO Daniel Beck, “sev­er­al” sen­a­tors attend­ed the Jan­u­ary 5 meet­ing, rather than only Tuberville.

    This new claim by Beck is sig­nif­i­cant in part because it clar­i­fies his ear­li­er claim that “fif­teen” peo­ple attend­ed the meet­ing. If by “sev­er­al sen­a­tors” Beck meant that there were three, that would bring the known atten­dance at the Jan­u­ary 5 Trump war coun­cil to pre­cise­ly fif­teen, while also meet­ing the gen­er­al­ly accept­ed def­i­n­i­tion of “sev­er­al” as mean­ing “more than two.” Here’s the video from Beck:
    BREAKING NEWS: In Video, Txtwire CEO Daniel Beck Says “Sev­er­al” Sen­a­tors Attend­ed Jan­u­ary 5 Pre-Insur­rec­tion War Coun­cil at Trump Inter­na­tion­al Hotel, Sug­gest­ing That at Least Two Sen­a­tors (Besides Tom­my Tuberville) Remain Undis­cov­ered
    There’s lit­tle util­i­ty in spec­u­lat­ing about the iden­ti­ty of the oth­er two (or, the­o­ret­i­cal­ly, more) sen­a­tors at the Jan­u­ary 5 war coun­cil, as at present even the one sen­a­tor we know was present denies it—and still hasn’t had his feet held to the fire by major U.S. media.
    We can, how­ev­er, say this much: only a small ros­ter of sen­a­tors would have been there.

    We know from the Oma­ha World Her­ald that the pur­pose of the Jan­u­ary 5 meet­ing was to drum up sup­port in Con­gress for chal­leng­ing Joe Biden’s elec­tors, which sug­gests that the mem­bers of the Jan­u­ary 5 coun­cil were already sup­port­ers of such a chal­lenge and intend­ed, by con­gre­gat­ing at Trump’s pri­vate res­i­dence at his Wash­ing­ton hotel, to strate­gize the aug­men­ta­tion of their camp. Only sev­en sen­a­tors besides Tuberville object­ed to the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of Biden’s elec­tors 15 hours after the war coun­cil began:
    ¥ Sen. Josh Haw­ley (R‑MO)
    ¥ Sen. Ted Cruz (R‑TX)
    ¥ Sen. Rick Scott (R‑FL)
    ¥ Sen. Roger Mar­shall (R‑KS)
    ¥ Sen. John Kennedy (R‑LA)
    ¥ Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R‑MS)
    ¥ Sen. Cyn­thia Lum­mis (R‑WY)

    If Beck’s claim is accu­rate, at least two of these sev­en men and women attend­ed Team Trump’s pre-insur­rec­tion strat­e­gy ses­sion. While spec­u­la­tion will undoubt­ed­ly run ram­pant that the two atten­dees were Haw­ley and Cruz—certainly the most per­sis­tent and mil­i­tant sen­a­tors on the mat­ter of object­ing to Biden’s Novem­ber elec­tion vic­to­ry, Tuberville excepted—for now we can only con­firm the prob­a­ble uni­verse of can­di­dates for these two meet­ing “slots,” while acknowl­edg­ing that Beck’s count of the total num­ber of meet­ing par­tic­i­pants could well have been low (sug­gest­ing that three or even more fig­ures on the list above may have been present at the Jan­u­ary 5 war coun­cil).

    Ques­tion 2: Why did Trump’s top advisers—and even some of the Jan­u­ary 6 event organizers—flee the Capi­tol area before riot­ers had tres­passed on Capi­tol grounds?
    Fed­er­al inves­ti­ga­tors will sure­ly be look­ing to deter­mine whether any of the Jan­u­ary 6 plot­ters exhib­it­ed “con­scious­ness of guilt,” includ­ing any evi­dence of fore­knowl­edge or ear­ly aware­ness that they’d incit­ed an armed mob to tres­pass upon and assault the U.S. Capi­tol. One sign of such a con­scious­ness of guilt would be the unwill­ing­ness of Jan­u­ary 6 plot­ters to them­selves march to the Capi­tol as they had incit­ed oth­ers to do.

    As dis­cussed in my pri­or articles—see here, here, and here—we already know from major-media report­ing that Don­ald Trump was told pri­or to his Jan­u­ary 6 speech that the Secret Ser­vice would not allow him to march to the Capi­tol, yet he false­ly told Stop the Steal orga­niz­er and far-right con­spir­a­cy the­o­rist Alex Jones that he would do so and also, more impor­tant­ly, false­ly told the armed mob he was incit­ing that he would. In the event, he fled back to the White House with his fam­i­ly imme­di­ate­ly upon the con­clu­sion of his speech. We also know that Roger Stone was asked to lead the march but declined, and that Jones too was asked to walk at the head of the march but for unex­plained rea­sons did not end up doing so, and indeed (while he tres­passed on the Capi­tol grounds) nev­er entered the build­ing itself. More­over, a video archive focused on the assault on the Capi­tol, com­piled by ProP­ub­li­ca, indi­cates that Jones appeared to earnest­ly believe the pres­i­dent would be join­ing the march at the “front” of the Capi­tol and would “speak” to sup­port­ers from there, a pos­si­bil­i­ty that (if imper­fect­ly) excul­pates him from believ­ing his Capi­tol tres­pass was ille­gal, but also rais­es addi­tion­al ques­tions about the source of his infor­ma­tion from the White House.

    As for Stop the Steal coor­di­na­tor and far-right activist Ali Alexan­der, a recent­ly unearthed video shows him almost com­i­cal­ly dis­tant from the event he orga­nized as it was unfold­ing. In the video, which is repeat­ed­ly punc­tu­at­ed by the sound of police sirens, Alexan­der points at the well-dis­tant assault on the Capi­tol and declares, “I want to say some­thing: I don’t dis­avow this, I don’t denounce this.” He says that the assault is “com­plete­ly peace­ful” (though he also adds, telling­ly, the words “so far”) and only a “cou­ple of agi­ta­tors” in the mob have act­ed oth­er­wise. In fact, the march—as its main coor­di­na­tor would have known, had he par­tic­i­pat­ed in it—had by the time of his video turned extreme­ly vio­lent. This alone makes some of Alexander’s oth­er com­ments, for instance his boast that this is “exact­ly what I warned about”, seem vile and churl­ish.

    Alexan­der explic­it­ly excus­es the con­duct of the insur­rec­tion­ists, declar­ing that, due to the actions of his var­i­ous adver­saries across the U.S. gov­ern­ment, “the peo­ple feel like this [storm­ing the U.S. Capi­tol] is their last resort.”

    A screen­shot of a tweet con­tain­ing the Ali Alexan­der video is below
    This is Ali Alexan­der, leader of the so-called Stop the Steal cam­paign, say­ing: “I don’t dis­avow this. I do not denounce this.”

    In the video, Alexan­der says he knows that the front of the Capi­tol is sim­i­lar­ly mobbed with Trump sup­port­ers, rais­ing ques­tions about (a) what com­mu­ni­ca­tions he was receiv­ing from fel­low insur­rec­tion­ists in mid-coup attempt, and (b) whether he, like Jones, had been par­tic­u­lar­ly told by par­ties inside the White House or con­nect­ed to it to pay spe­cial atten­tion to logis­tics at the front of the Capi­tol. It is already con­firmed that Alexan­der had been in tele­phon­ic con­tact with Team Trump—via the Jan­u­ary 5 war council—approximately 15 hours ear­li­er.

    What remains unclear is why Trump’s sup­port­ers were incit­ed to march on the U.S. Capi­tol even as their lead­ers hung back. This rais­es a third ques­tion that will require an answer soon­er rather than lat­er.

    Ques­tion 3: What ties did Team Trump have to the far-right orga­ni­za­tions most respon­si­ble for breach­ing the Capi­tol, the Proud Boys and the Oath Keep­ers?
    Vice has now con­firmed that Trump advis­er and Stop the Steal orga­niz­er Roger Stone used mem­bers of the far-right Oath Keep­ers mili­tia as his per­son­al secu­ri­ty on the eve of the insur­rec­tion. Mere hours lat­er, mem­bers of the Oath Keep­ers would, accord­ing to the Wall Street Jour­nal, not only assault the U.S. Capi­tol but attempt to exe­cute a plan that would “seal” the entire­ty of Con­gress in the “tun­nels” below the Capi­tol and “gas” them to death.

    As for the Proud Boys, the Dai­ly Beast has called the far-right white suprema­cist “club” for men Trump pal Roger Stone’s “per­son­al army” on the basis of Stone repeat­ed­ly tak­ing pic­tures with mem­bers, endors­ing them on social media, and using them for his per­son­al pro­tec­tion detail at pub­lic events. The Wall Street Jour­nal now con­firms that the Proud Boys, along with the Oath Keep­ers, were “key insti­ga­tors” in the Jan­u­ary 6 insur­rec­tion. (Note: this fact was first report­ed by Proof, using a com­bi­na­tion of arti­cles by the Journal—which wrote of men in “blaze-orange hats” lead­ing the first wave of Capi­tol attackers—and CNN, which report­ed and then erro­neous­ly retract­ed its report­ing that the Proud Boys wore orange hats on Jan­u­ary 6. That they had in fact done so was sub­se­quent­ly con­firmed for CNN by Proof, using hours of doc­u­men­tary footage from the insur­rec­tion).

    Proof has pre­vi­ous­ly out­lined Alexander’s con­nec­tions to the Proud Boys, includ­ing his deci­sion to wear one of the Proud Boys’ Jan­u­ary 6‑signature blaze-orange hats on Jan­u­ary 5, with video reveal­ing him doing so while lead­ing a “Vic­to­ry or death!” chant. In his pre­pos­ter­ous­ly off-site video from Jan­u­ary 6, Alexan­der false­ly says that “we the peo­ple” (includ­ing him­self in the des­ig­na­tion) “[have] com­plete­ly peace­ful” inten­tions.

    Giv­en Alexan­der and Stone’s ties to the orga­ni­za­tions that led the insur­rec­tion, fed­er­al inves­ti­ga­tors will won­der how both men knew to be nowhere close to the attack on the Capi­tol as it happened—as their appar­ent fore­knowl­edge of the vio­lent actions pre-planned by the Proud Boys and Oath Keep­ers may even­tu­al­ly pro­duce crim­i­nal lia­bil­i­ty for them for sedi­tious con­spir­a­cy.

    Ques­tion 4: What about Herb­ster? Did he too flee the march, as he pub­licly claimed?

    The answer: “sort of.”

    While Herb­ster didn’t par­tic­i­pate in the march—for rea­sons that remain unclear, as he was present for the speech by Trump that imme­di­ate­ly pre­ced­ed it, and in the­o­ry would have believed Trump (unless he had pri­vate infor­ma­tion to the con­trary) when the then-pres­i­dent told the crowd that he him­self would be march­ing to the Capitol—he did lie to media about where he went after­ward, and the truth on that ques­tion is jaw-drop­ping.

    While Herb­ster ini­tial­ly told media, through a spokesper­son, that flew home to Nebras­ka after Trump’s speech, that was a lie. Accord­ing to Oma­ha World Her­ald polit­i­cal reporter Aaron Sander­ford, Herb­ster now admits that he didn’t go to Nebras­ka after Trump’s Stop the Steal/March to Save Amer­i­ca event, he went to Florida—with “Trump’s fam­i­ly.”

    It takes no inves­tiga­tive skills to deduce—or at least imagine—that Herb­ster might not have want­ed media to know that, after being with the Trump fam­i­ly on the evening of Jan­u­ary 5 to plot a strat­e­gy for Jan­u­ary 6, he then spent Jan­u­ary 6 (and per­haps some time there­after) with the very fam­i­ly accused of incit­ing an insur­rec­tion on that day.

    Herbster’s duplic­i­ty as to his actions after the Trump speech on Jan­u­ary 6 com­pounds his duplic­i­ty about his Jan­u­ary 5 meet­ing with the Trump family—as evi­denced by his var­i­ous Face­book dele­tions, edits, and re-postings—and the still-unre­solved ques­tion about what infor­ma­tion he had about the March to Save Amer­i­ca that con­vinced him to stay far away from it.

    Herbster’s close rela­tion­ship with the Trumps has come into even clear­er focus in the last 24 hours not just because of Sanderford’s Twit­ter rev­e­la­tion but a fur­ther review of Herbster’s social media pres­ence, which sees him declar­ing on Twit­ter on elec­tion day in Novem­ber 2020 that “I am at the White House with the Trump fam­i­ly and a small group of dig­ni­taries eat­ing a beau­ti­ful din­ner and get­ting ready to watch a vic­to­ry tonight!” His pho­tos of his elec­tion-day social­iz­ing at the White House include these:

    ily” in a “small group of dig­ni­taries” on one of the most impor­tant days in the his­to­ry of that fam­i­ly under­scores that Herb­ster may have been privy to infor­ma­tion from Team Trump—either via fel­low atten­dees at the Jan­u­ary 5 war coun­cil or fur­ther updates from Trump’s polit­i­cal team on Jan­u­ary 6—that it would be unwise to attend the March to Save Amer­i­ca Trump had false­ly said he would lead (and that Stone had declined to lead, and Alexan­der declined to attend).

    While Don­ald Trump’s own atten­dance at the Jan­u­ary 5 war coun­cil remains unclear, and while Herbster’s social media feeds—at least at present, as we can’t know how much the Nebras­ka Repub­li­can has delet­ed or edited—do not rou­tine­ly reveal him spend­ing time social­ly with the pres­i­dent (albeit he is on mul­ti­ple occa­sions pic­tured with him in pho­to ops), Herbster’s pub­lic-fac­ing media con­tent begs the impli­ca­tion that he is also close with the now-for­mer pres­i­dent.

    This not only rais­es, again, the ques­tion of Trump’s pres­ence at the Jan­u­ary 5 war coun­cil, but also the sub­se­quent con­duct of oth­ers besides Herb­ster who attend­ed the meet­ing. One fig­ure of par­tic­u­lar inter­est is Mike Lin­dell, giv­en that Lin­dell has since Jan­u­ary 6 been banned from Twit­ter, vis­it­ed Trump in the Oval Office and asked him to impose mar­tial law to extend his pres­i­den­cy, been threat­ened with a law­suit by a vot­ing soft­ware com­pa­ny (Domin­ion) for spread­ing mis­in­for­ma­tion about it, and had his MyP­il­low prod­ucts removed from sev­er­al pop­u­lar retail­ers.

    Ques­tion 5: Why didn’t Trump pull the trig­ger on Lindell’s pro­posed “mar­tial law plan,” or the Jef­frey Clark-orches­trat­ed effort to take over the Depart­ment of Jus­tice and inval­i­date Georgia’s Novem­ber 2020 elec­tion results? Why not pre­emp­tive­ly par­don the fif­teen par­tic­i­pants in the Jan­u­ary 5 war coun­cil, before leav­ing office?

    This bun­dle of ques­tions remains large­ly unan­swered, though one pos­si­ble clue to the expla­na­tion for Trump’s inter­mit­tent ret­i­cence in the final days of his presidency—for which he has lost some of his most vocal far-right support—comes in the form of a Sen­ate vote on a “con­sti­tu­tion­al point of order” tak­en just yes­ter­day (Jan­u­ary 26).
    On Jan­u­ary 26, Sen. Rand Paul (R‑KY) raised such a point-of-order on the Sen­ate floor, forc­ing the Sen­ate to vote on whether it would hear and debate his objec­tion to Trump’s sec­ond impeach­ment trial—an objec­tion based on a fringe legal analy­sis of the Con­sti­tu­tion that holds Con­gress can’t try for­mer pres­i­dents post-impeach­ment, which analy­sis is reject­ed by the non­par­ti­san Con­gres­sion­al Research Ser­vice.

    That the “motion to table [debate]” on Paul’s fringe legal the­o­ry passed 55–45—with all but five Sen­ate Repub­li­cans vot­ing “no”—means that 45 GOP sen­a­tors want­ed to at least debate Paul’s premise, includ­ing Sen­ate Minor­i­ty Leader Mitch McConnell, who has already called Trump’s con­duct “impeach­able.” Many media out­lets have tak­en the vote on the motion to table as a proxy for the even­tu­al post-tri­al vote in the Sen­ate, argu­ing some­what spe­cious­ly that a vote to debate Paul’s premise equals agree­ment with it. While that’s not so, if Don­ald Trump believes, as some jour­nal­ists do, that it is, this might explain sev­er­al of the deci­sions he made in the final days of his pres­i­den­cy.

    Now that he no longer has access to Twit­ter, and his YouTube and Face­book bans have been indef­i­nite­ly extend­ed, Trump faces the prospect of need­ing to return to pol­i­tics to regain the dai­ly media atten­tion he craves and the pow­er over oth­ers he cov­ets. If he believes the Sen­ate will nev­er con­vict him of incite­ment to insur­rec­tion, he may com­men­su­rate­ly believe that it can­not get the 60 votes need­ed to dis­qual­i­fy him from hold­ing future office via Sec­tion 3 of the 14th Amend­ment rather than an impeach­ment tri­al. The only way for Trump to upset this state of affairs and run the risk of not being able to run for pres­i­dent again in 2024 would be if he con­fessed in some fash­ion that he and his team had direct­ly coor­di­nat­ed with the Jan­u­ary 6 plot­ters.

    It’s for this rea­son that, despite the atten­dees at the Jan­u­ary 5 war coun­cil now fac­ing poten­tial legal liability—even as they are among Trump’s top lieu­tenants, and so pre­sum­ably deemed the most deserv­ing of and eli­gi­ble for late-pres­i­den­cy clemency—for Trump to have par­doned any of them, let alone exe­cut­ed the plan for mar­tial law Mike Lin­dell and Michael Fly­nn pro­posed, would have risked reveal­ing pri­or to the final Sen­ate vote in his impeach­ment tri­al that he and his com­pa­tri­ots were in fact more inti­mate­ly involved in the plan­ning of the insur­rec­tion than Repub­li­can Par­ty brass had pre­vi­ous­ly believed (or, at a min­i­mum, been forced to pub­licly acknowl­edge).

    It’s for this rea­son that the infor­ma­tion now being pre­sent­ed on this web­site is so crit­i­cal: because if major media deigns to report on it only after Trump’s Sen­ate tri­al has con­clud­ed, it will have implic­it­ly pro­vid­ed cov­er to Con­gres­sion­al Repub­li­cans to treat Trump’s offens­es as either glanc­ing or a mat­ter of “free speech.” Such claims could nev­er be made about a sedi­tious con­spir­a­cy head­lined by a pre-insur­rec­tion war coun­cil Team Trump’s polit­i­cal super­struc­ture attended—with the pres­i­dent him­self pos­si­bly attend­ing either in-per­son or via speak­er­phone.

    And yet, if infor­ma­tion about the Jan­u­ary 5 war coun­cil doesn’t “break wide” before Trump’s impeach­ment tri­al starts on Feb­ru­ary 9—less than two weeks from now—a Trump can­di­da­cy in 2024 is all but assured. And giv­en what we now know about Trump and his team’s vir­u­lent oppo­si­tion to Amer­i­can democracy’s core process­es, a Trump pres­i­den­tial run 48 months from now could imper­il the country’s very sur­vival.

    Posted by Mary Benton | February 15, 2021, 7:47 pm
  19. As the US Capi­tol hun­kers down in the face of threats of a March 4 pro-Trump repeat insur­rec­tion plot, here’s a pair of arti­cles about the ongo­ing inves­ti­ga­tion and pros­e­cu­tion of the Jan­u­ary 6 insur­rec­tion­ists and the extent of the plan­ning for poten­tial mass vio­lence that went into that event:

    First, recall how one of the major ques­tions about the gov­ern­men­t’s response to the insur­rec­tion, or lack of response, is the ques­tion of why the gov­ern­men­t’s “quick reac­tion force” (QFR) of 40 sol­diers was nev­er deployed, with the answer appar­ent­ly being that act­ing defense sec­re­tary Christo­pher C. Miller imposed a 3 hour delay on issu­ing the required approval.

    Also recall how we learned that the Oath Keep­ers had a quick reac­tion force of their own, post­ed near­by the Capi­tol with heavy weapons that would be quick­ly rushed to the crowd. The group orga­niz­ing the Oath Keep­ers’ QRF includ­ed Jes­si­ca Watkins, the indi­vid­ual who first claimed she had been coor­di­nat­ing with the Secret Ser­vice in pro­vid­ing secu­ri­ty for VIPs at that ‘Stop the Steal’ ral­ly that then-Pres­i­dent Trump spoke at before the ral­ly. Watkins lat­er recant­ed after the Secret Ser­vice denied work­ing with her, but by all accounts she was allowed into the VIP area of the ral­ly before she was lat­er filmed storm­ing the Capi­tol.

    We’re now learn­ing more about the nature of the Oath Keep­ers’ QRF as pros­e­cu­tors make their case in court, includ­ing the key role Jes­si­ca Watkins played in orga­niz­ing it. As Watkins told a con­tact when prepar­ing to attend a Novem­ber elec­tion fraud ral­ly in DC, that the QRF was designed so that “If it gets bad, they QRF to us with weapons for us,” but that, oth­er­wise, “[w]e can have mace, tasers, or night sticks. QRF staged, armed, with our weapons, out­side the city.” Watkins then advised the con­tact “to be pre­pared to fight hand to hand” while “guys out­side DC with guns, await[] orders to enter DC under per­mis­sion from Trump, not a minute soon­er. So accord­ing to Watkins — who was in the VIP area of the ral­ly before the insur­rec­tion — it was Trump him­self who would give the order for the QRF to deliv­er the heavy weapons to the army of Trump sup­port­ers

    And we’re also learn­ing that the QRF that day prob­a­bly was­n’t the only QRF deployed by the Oath Keep­ers recent­ly. In the words of Oath Keep­ers founder Stew­art Rhodes, “As we have done on all recent DC Ops, we will also have well armed and equipped QRF teams on stand­by, out­side DC, in the event of a worst case sce­nario, where the Pres­i­dent calls us up as part of the mili­tia to to [sic] assist him inside DC:

    Talk­ing Points Memo

    Oath Keep­ers Repeat­ed­ly Spoke Of An Armed Back­up Force For Capi­tol Attack, Feds Allege

    By Matt Shuham
    March 1, 2021 5:26 p.m.

    As hun­dreds of Trump sup­port­ers attacked the nation’s leg­is­la­ture on Jan. 6, an armed “quick reac­tion force” was pur­port­ed­ly wait­ing near­by, ready for an order to join the fight, a fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tor told a judge Fri­day.

    Mur­murs of a quick reac­tion force, or QRF, have come up in the court records of sev­er­al mem­bers of the Oath Keep­ers mili­tia that now face a fed­er­al indict­ment for alleged­ly con­spir­ing to attack the Capi­tol.

    On Fri­day, U.S. Dis­trict Judge Amit P. Mehta called alle­ga­tions regard­ing the force “per­haps the most dis­turb­ing aspect” of the case before him. He ruled in those pro­ceed­ings that Jes­si­ca Watkins, an Oath Keep­er and one of the indict­ed alleged con­spir­a­tors, be detained pend­ing tri­al.

    We don’t know much detail regard­ing the alleged QRF. Dur­ing Watkins’ deten­tion hear­ing Fri­day, Assis­tant U.S. Attor­ney Ahmed Baset dis­cussed the sit­u­a­tion fur­ther with Judge Mehta in a pri­vate vir­tu­al con­fer­ence.

    ...

    ‘Paul Will Have The Good­ies’

    Accord­ing to pros­e­cu­tors, alleged Capi­tol con­spir­a­tor Tom Cald­well wrote about a QRF par­tic­i­pant in a text mes­sage to Watkins on Dec. 30. The mes­sage was sub­se­quent­ly quot­ed in the fed­er­al indict­ment against sev­er­al Oath Keep­ers.

    “As we speak he is try­ing to book a room at Com­fort Inn Ballston/Arlington because of its close-in loca­tion and easy access to down­town because he feels 1) he’s too bro­ken down to be on the ground all day and 2) he is com­mit­ted to being the quick reac­tion force anf [sic] bring­ing the tools if some­thing goes to hell,” Cald­well alleged­ly wrote.

    “That way the boys don’t have to try and schlep weps on the bus. He’ll bring them in his truck the day before,” Cald­well alleged­ly added, seem­ing­ly refer­ring to weapons.

    In an alleged Jan. 2 mes­sage to anoth­er indict­ed con­spir­a­tor, Dono­van Crowl, Cald­well referred to some­one named “Paul” get­ting a room at the same hotel. “He will be the quick reac­tion force,” Cald­well alleged­ly wrote, adding lat­er: “Paul will have the good­ies in case things go bad and we need to get heavy.”

    The fol­low­ing day, Jan. 3, Cald­well alleged­ly spec­u­lat­ed to a con­tact in anoth­er mili­tia move­ment about the pos­si­bil­i­ty of hav­ing “a boat on a trail­er that could han­dle a Potomac cross­ing?”

    “If we had some­one stand­ing by at a dock ramp (one near the Pen­ta­gon for sure) we could have our Quick Response Team with the heavy weapons stand­ing by, quick­ly load them and fer­ry them across the riv­er to our wait­ing arms,” he alleged­ly wrote. “I’m not talk­ing about a bass boat.”

    Sam Jack­son, an assis­tant pro­fes­sor at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Albany who recent­ly pub­lished a book on the Oath Keep­ers, told TPM that Oath Keep­ers leader Stew­art Rhodes has long encour­aged Oath Keep­ers to form local QRF teams.

    “But the fact that there was talk of a QRF from peo­ple who showed up in per­son sug­gests to me that they knew that vio­lence was pos­si­ble, if not like­ly, and that they should have a plan for it,” Jack­son said.

    ‘Heavy QRF 10 Min Out’

    Watkins, the Oath Keep­er who was ordered detained Fri­day, also made mul­ti­ple ref­er­ences to QRFs, pros­e­cu­tors have alleged.

    On Jan. 3, for exam­ple, she alleged­ly wrote to fel­low alleged indictee Ben­nie Park­er about direc­tives she’d received. “We are not bring­ing firearms,” Watkins wrote, accord­ing to court doc­u­ments. “QRF will be our Law Enforce­ment mem­bers of Oath­keep­ers.” (Lat­er, Watkins alleged­ly reversed course slight­ly: “Weapons are ok now as well,” she said. “Sor­ry for the con­fu­sion.”)

    Yet anoth­er alleged con­spir­a­tor, Kel­ly Meg­gs, wrote to anoth­er per­son on Face­book on Dec. 31, ask­ing “You guys Gonna car­ry?” and then stat­ing “Ok we aren’t either, we have heavy QRF 10 Min out though,” accord­ing to court records.

    Watkins and Cald­well have both entered “not guilty” pleas, and both have unsuc­cess­ful­ly request­ed release from deten­tion ahead of tri­al and sub­mit­ted motions down­play­ing their actions before and on Jan. 6. Nei­ther Meg­gs, Park­er nor Crowl has entered a plea.

    But the dis­cus­sion of the QRF isn’t lim­it­ed to alleged Capi­tol attack­ers.

    On Jan. 4, an email from a man the feds iden­ti­fy as “Per­son One” alleged­ly informed recip­i­ents of the mili­tia group’s plans for Jan. 5–6. (“Per­son One” has been wide­ly iden­ti­fied as Rhodes, the Oath Keep­ers leader.)

    As we have done on all recent DC Ops, we will also have well armed and equipped QRF teams on stand­by, out­side DC, in the event of a worst case sce­nario, where the Pres­i­dent calls us up as part of the mili­tia to to [sic] assist him inside DC,” Per­son One wrote, accord­ing to an FBI agents’ affi­davit in a court fil­ing for sev­er­al alleged Oath Keep­ers con­spir­a­tors.

    Rhodes has a well-doc­u­ment­ed his­to­ry of inflam­ma­to­ry mes­sag­ing and puffery, and pros­e­cu­tors have yet to show con­crete evi­dence of the QRF they’ve dis­cussed in court and in court fil­ings. That ambi­gu­i­ty could prove an impor­tant fac­tor in deter­min­ing the extent of the alleged con­spir­a­tors’ plan­ning ahead of the Jan. 6 attack.

    “As always,” Per­son 1 added in their Jan. 4 email, “while con­duct­ing secu­ri­ty oper­a­tions, we will have some of our men out in ‘grey man’ mode, with­out iden­ti­fi­able Oath Keep­ers gear on. For every Oath Keep­ers you see, there are at least two you don’t see.”

    ———–

    “Oath Keep­ers Repeat­ed­ly Spoke Of An Armed Back­up Force For Capi­tol Attack, Feds Allege” by Matt Shuham; Talk­ing Points Memo; 03/01/2021

    ““As we have done on all recent DC Ops, we will also have well armed and equipped QRF teams on stand­by, out­side DC, in the event of a worst case sce­nario, where the Pres­i­dent calls us up as part of the mili­tia to to [sic] assist him inside DC,” Per­son One wrote, accord­ing to an FBI agents’ affi­davit in a court fil­ing for sev­er­al alleged Oath Keep­ers con­spir­a­tors.”

    Yes, in the words of Oath Keep­ers founder Stew­art Rhodes him­self, there were appar­ent­ly QRFs on ALL the “DC Ops” con­duct­ed by the Oath Keep­ers since the elec­tion. And it’s only Don­ald Trump call that the QRF will respond to, which, again, rais­es sig­nif­i­cant ques­tions about what sort of coor­di­na­tion the Oath Keep­ers may have had with Trump direct­ly. It’s one thing if the Oath Keep­ers pub­licly declare that they are mak­ing them­selves avail­able to Trump should he call for their sup­port. But it’s anoth­er thing entire­ly if Trump was active­ly secret­ly coor­di­nat­ing with the peo­ple putting togeth­er the QRF.

    And since we know Jes­si­ca Watkins was deeply involved with orga­niz­ing the QRF and was also allowed back into the VIP area of the ‘Stop the Steal’ ral­ly right before the insur­rec­tion, giv­ing her poten­tial direct access to Trump him­self, we have to ask: Was Watkins allowed in the VIP area for the pur­pose of qui­et­ly receiv­ing orders from Trump? Orders that includ­ed storm­ing the Capi­tol? Hope­ful­ly pros­e­cu­tors can get an answer to those ques­tions. Because as the fol­low­ing arti­cle describes, the QRF was more than just one guy with a pick­up truck fill of guns:

    ARLnow.com

    EXCLUSIVE: While the Capi­tol Was Stormed, A Group of Men Gath­ered Near the Marine Corps War Memo­r­i­al

    March 1, 2021 at 11:00am

    On Jan. 6, a group of ten or so men — at least one of whom was wear­ing a tac­ti­cal ear­piece — watched the storm­ing of the U.S. Capi­tol from across the Potomac in Arling­ton.

    Pre­vi­ous­ly unpub­lished pho­tos tak­en by ARL­now that day show the men loi­ter­ing near the Marine Corps War Memo­r­i­al, with the over­run Capi­tol in the back­ground. Parked near­by are numer­ous vehi­cles, most­ly pick­up trucks and SUVs with out-of-state license plates.

    One pick­up truck, with large tool­box in the back, was left run­ning.

    The man with the ear­piece appears to have been focused on some sort of com­mu­ni­ca­tions device with an anten­na. He was among a group stand­ing out­side, in the cold, wear­ing hood­ed sweat­shirts and oth­er incon­spic­u­ous cold weath­er gear. None were wear­ing the tac­ti­cal vests and hel­mets that mili­tia mem­bers who charged into the Capi­tol that day wore.

    Still, the group was deemed sus­pi­cious enough that Arling­ton Coun­ty police received at least one call from a passer­by, con­cerned about what they were doing there. An offi­cer drove by after the 4 p.m. call but didn’t see any­thing, accord­ing to police depart­ment spokesman Ash­ley Sav­age.

    “At approx­i­mate­ly 4:09 p.m. on Jan­u­ary 6, the Emer­gency Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Cen­ter received a report of 9–10 males act­ing sus­pi­cious­ly and look­ing around on the Iwo Jima War Memo­r­i­al prop­er­ty,” Sav­age said in response to an inquiry from ARL­now. “The Unit­ed States Park Police was noti­fied to check the park area. ACPD patrol units checked Meade Street and Arling­ton prop­er­ty, noth­ing was locat­ed and the call was cleared.”

    ...

    The pho­tos above were tak­en by ARL­now staff pho­tog­ra­ph­er Jay West­cott around 3:30 p.m., just before Gov. Ralph Northam announced that he was send­ing the Vir­ginia Nation­al Guard into D.C.

    In recall­ing the moment, West­cott — a Navy vet­er­an — said the gath­er­ing “had the feel­ing of a ral­ly point.” He shot the scene from a dis­tance with a 600mm lens, reluc­tant to get any clos­er due to poten­tial safe­ty con­cerns.

    By night­fall, the men had dis­persed, as ARL­now orig­i­nal­ly report­ed in an arti­cle about the cur­few that night.

    It’s unclear what the as-yet uniden­ti­fied men were doing at the memo­r­i­al that after­noon. Was their pres­ence pure­ly coin­ci­den­tal, or some­how con­nect­ed to the pro-Trump ral­ly and sub­se­quent vio­lence at the Capi­tol?

    What is known is that some­where out­side of the Dis­trict that day, accord­ing to fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tors, a “quick reac­tion force” with a stock­pile of weapons was alleged­ly ready to join the fight if ordered to do so by Pres­i­dent Trump.

    At a Fri­day court hear­ing for Jes­si­ca Watkins, a mem­ber of the Oath Keep­ers mili­tia from Ohio who is accused of help­ing to plot the attack on the Capi­tol, pros­e­cu­tors told a fed­er­al judge that “[it is] our under­stand­ing” that the quick reac­tion force did exist and was sta­tioned some­where near D.C.

    Judge is now ask­ing whether there real­ly was a “quick reac­tion force” sta­tioned out­side D.C. with weapons for mili­tia mem­bers’ use on Jan. 6. Pros­e­cu­tor: “That is our under­stand­ing.” And after that tan­ta­liz­ing detail, they are mov­ing off the record.— Rachel Wein­er (@rachelweinerwp) Feb­ru­ary 26, 2021

    A court doc­u­ment filed on Feb. 11, as cit­ed by The Dai­ly Beast, details the pur­pose of the quick reac­tion force, at least accord­ing to fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tors.

    The next day, Watkins exchanged text mes­sages with Co-defen­dant Thomas Cald­well about the oper­a­tional plans for Jan­u­ary 6, 2021. This includ­ed coor­di­nat­ing about where and when to meet and where to stay. Oper­a­tional plans also con­tem­plat­ed the pos­ses­sion and use of weapons in D.C. before and on Jan­u­ary 6. Cald­well ref­er­enced “a quick reac­tion force [QRF] [that would be] bring­ing the tools if some­thing goes to hell. That way the boys don’t have to try to schelp weps on the bus.” Watkins pre­vi­ous­ly stat­ed that the QRF pro­vid­ed ready access to guns dur­ing oper­a­tions. As she explained to a con­tact when prepar­ing to attend a Novem­ber elec­tion fraud ral­ly in Wash­ing­ton D.C., QRF was designed so that “If it gets bad, they QRF to us with weapons for us,” but that, oth­er­wise, “[w]e can have mace, tasers, or night sticks. QRF staged, armed, with our weapons, out­side the city” and advised “to be pre­pared to fight hand to hand” while “guys out­side DC with guns, await[] orders to enter DC under per­mis­sion from Trump, not a minute soon­er.

    A sep­a­rate Jus­tice Depart­ment doc­u­ment, in the case against Watkins and two oth­er mili­tia mem­bers, seem­ing­ly links the quick reac­tion force to mili­tia mem­bers who were stay­ing at the Ball­ston Com­fort Inn hotel.

    On Jan­u­ary 1, 2021, CALDWELL wrote to CROWL, “Check with. Cap. rec­om­mend­ed the fol­low­ing hotel to her which STILL has rooms (unbe­lieve­ble).” CALDWELL then sent a link to the Com­fort Inn Ball­ston, the same hotel that he rec­om­mend­ed to oth­ers on Jan­u­ary 1. CALDWELL con­tin­ued, “[PERSON TWO] and I are set­ting up shop there. [PERSON THREE] has a room and is bring­ing some­one. He will be the quick reac­tion force. Its going to be cold. We need a place to spend the night before min­i­mum. [PERSON ONE] nev­er con­tact­ed me so [PERSON TWO] and I are going our way. I will prob­a­bly do pre-strike on the 5th though there are things going on that day. Maybe can do some night hunt­ing. Oath­keep­er friends from North Car­oli­na are tak­ing com­mer­cial bus­es up ear­ly in the morn­ing on the 6th and back same night. [PERSON THREE] will have the good­ies in case things go bad and we need to get heavy.”

    An FBI spokes­woman said the bureau “does not have any addi­tion­al infor­ma­tion to share” about the “quick reac­tion force” nor the group at the Marine Corps War Memo­r­i­al that day.

    In court, Watkins and oth­er mili­tia mem­bers have down­played their roles in the vio­lence, expressed regrets, and sug­gest­ed the blame lays else­where, as they argue that they should be released from jail.

    ———–

    “EXCLUSIVE: While the Capi­tol Was Stormed, A Group of Men Gath­ered Near the Marine Corps War Memo­r­i­al”; ARLnow.com; 03/01/2021

    “Pre­vi­ous­ly unpub­lished pho­tos tak­en by ARL­now that day show the men loi­ter­ing near the Marine Corps War Memo­r­i­al, with the over­run Capi­tol in the back­ground. Parked near­by are numer­ous vehi­cles, most­ly pick­up trucks and SUVs with out-of-state license plates.”

    The Oath Keep­ers QRF was ready to go. They were just wait­ing for the orders. Or at least that’s the most rea­son­able expla­na­tion we have for the pur­pose of the group of men gath­ered near the Marine Corps War Memo­r­i­al. A group that looked so con­spic­u­ous that at least one per­son called the police to check on them:

    ...
    One pick­up truck, with large tool­box in the back, was left run­ning.

    The man with the ear­piece appears to have been focused on some sort of com­mu­ni­ca­tions device with an anten­na. He was among a group stand­ing out­side, in the cold, wear­ing hood­ed sweat­shirts and oth­er incon­spic­u­ous cold weath­er gear. None were wear­ing the tac­ti­cal vests and hel­mets that mili­tia mem­bers who charged into the Capi­tol that day wore.

    Still, the group was deemed sus­pi­cious enough that Arling­ton Coun­ty police received at least one call from a passer­by, con­cerned about what they were doing there. An offi­cer drove by after the 4 p.m. call but didn’t see any­thing, accord­ing to police depart­ment spokesman Ash­ley Sav­age.

    ...

    It’s unclear what the as-yet uniden­ti­fied men were doing at the memo­r­i­al that after­noon. Was their pres­ence pure­ly coin­ci­den­tal, or some­how con­nect­ed to the pro-Trump ral­ly and sub­se­quent vio­lence at the Capi­tol?

    What is known is that some­where out­side of the Dis­trict that day, accord­ing to fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tors, a “quick reac­tion force” with a stock­pile of weapons was alleged­ly ready to join the fight if ordered to do so by Pres­i­dent Trump.
    ...

    And just as Stew­art Rhodes made clear that Trump, and only Trump, would be the per­son giv­ing the orders to call in the QRF, we have Jes­si­ca Watkins telling the “guys out­side DC with guns, await[] orders to enter DC under per­mis­sion from Trump, not a minute soon­er.” If the QRF came to the res­cue, Trump was going to have ask for their help first. That was clear­ly the plan:

    ...
    The next day, Watkins exchanged text mes­sages with Co-defen­dant Thomas Cald­well about the oper­a­tional plans for Jan­u­ary 6, 2021. This includ­ed coor­di­nat­ing about where and when to meet and where to stay. Oper­a­tional plans also con­tem­plat­ed the pos­ses­sion and use of weapons in D.C. before and on Jan­u­ary 6. Cald­well ref­er­enced “a quick reac­tion force [QRF] [that would be] bring­ing the tools if some­thing goes to hell. That way the boys don’t have to try to schelp weps on the bus.” Watkins pre­vi­ous­ly stat­ed that the QRF pro­vid­ed ready access to guns dur­ing oper­a­tions. As she explained to a con­tact when prepar­ing to attend a Novem­ber elec­tion fraud ral­ly in Wash­ing­ton D.C., QRF was designed so that “If it gets bad, they QRF to us with weapons for us,” but that, oth­er­wise, “[w]e can have mace, tasers, or night sticks. QRF staged, armed, with our weapons, out­side the city” and advised “to be pre­pared to fight hand to hand” while “guys out­side DC with guns, await[] orders to enter DC under per­mis­sion from Trump, not a minute soon­er.
    ...

    Quite a few ques­tions are raised by the fact that Trump was appar­ent­ly the per­son charged with call­ing in this QRF, but per­haps the biggest ques­tion at this point is why was­n’t the QRF ever called in? If we assume Trump was in on the plot, what more was he hop­ing the insur­rec­tion­ists could have accom­plished before call­ing int the QRF? The cap­ture of mem­bers of con­gress, per­haps? It’s the kind of ques­tion that asks the more gen­er­al ques­tion of what exact­ly were Trump and the insur­rec­tion­ists think­ing could hap­pen to keep Trump in office. A ques­tion we still haven’t answered. To this day it remains very unclear what Trump and his fol­low­ers were pos­si­bly think­ing. And yet it’s also clear that they had a plan they thought might work. What were those sce­nar­ios in the minds of Trump and fol­low­ers that could have pos­si­bly led to Trump stay­ing in office? We still don’t know, but we do know storm­ing the Capi­tol and seiz­ing mem­bers of Con­gress was a big part of the plan. And if the QRF was to be deployed, odds are it would have been deployed after the ‘Rubi­con’ had been crossed and mem­bers of Con­gress were already kid­napped.

    So, again, we have to ask: did Trump neglect to call in the Oath Keep­ers’ QRF because he was­n’t in on that plan? Or because the oth­er parts of the plan — cap­tur­ing mem­bers of Con­gress — had­n’t been accom­plished yet?

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 4, 2021, 3:10 pm
  20. Fol­low­ing up on reports of the new­ly formed Asso­ci­a­tion of Repub­li­can Pres­i­den­tial Appointees orga­ni­za­tions — and its invi­ta­tion of Steve Ban­non to speak at its inau­gur­al event about the need to train an army of “shock troops” ready to fill thou­sands of fed­er­al vacan­cies in a 2024 Repub­li­can White House for the pur­pose “decon­struct­ing the admin­is­tra­tive state” — it’s worth not­ing the lan­guage Ban­non has start­ed using on his show in response to those reports. As Ban­non said on his War­Room pod­cast Mon­day, “We con­trol the coun­try. We’ve got to start act­ing like it. And one way we’re going to act like it, we’re not going to have 4,000 [shock troops] ready to go, we’re going to have 20,000 ready to go.” We con­trol the coun­try and we’ve got to start act­ing like it. Steve Ban­non is tru­ly let­ting his fas­cist freak flag fly tall and proud.

    Don’t for­get the recent legal con­text of all this: Ban­non was one of four fig­ures recent­ly sub­poe­naed by the House inves­ti­ga­tors regard­ing the Jan­u­ary 6 Capi­tol insur­rec­tion. That sub­poe­na hap­pened short­ly after the release of Per­il, Bob Wood­ward’s and Robert Costa’s book in the final year of the Trump pres­i­den­cy that wrote that Ban­non was in close touch with Trump for days before Jan­u­ary 6th and pri­vate­ly told Trump to have a reck­on­ing on Jan­u­ary 6th, say­ing it’s time to kill the Biden pres­i­den­cy in the crib. Ban­non respond­ed to the release of that book be pub­licly con­firm­ing that, “Yeah, because his legitimacy...42% of the Amer­i­can peo­ple think that Biden did not win the pres­i­den­cy legit­i­mate­ly.”

    So Ban­non has been respond­ing to the report­ing on his coup- maneu­ver­ings by not only admit­ting to the charges but also adopt­ing more open­ly fas­cist rhetoric about prepar­ing for the next coup. Or, as Ban­non would put it, “We con­trol the coun­try. We’ve got to start act­ing like it.”

    Inter­est­ing­ly, there’s one notable fig­ure who does­n’t appear to share Ban­non’s enthu­si­asm for tak­ing cred­it for Jan 6: Trump. At least that’s what we can infer from Trump’s respons­es to ques­tions about the report­ing that Ban­non was whis­per­ing in Trump’s ears in the days lead­ing up to Jan 6 about the need to kill Biden’s pres­i­den­cy in the crib. When asked about that report­ing on Mon­day, Trump insist­ed the two had­n’t spo­ken to the end of his admin­is­tra­tion. When asked direct­ly, “So is he lying when he says he was talk­ing to you in the last months of your admin­is­tra­tion?”, Trump replied, “Very lit­tle. We would speak very lit­tle. Now, Steve and I spoke very lit­tle. But I will tell you, he was very sup­port­ive.”

    Yes, Trump is run­ning away from his his­to­ry with Ban­non at the same time Ban­non is open­ly orga­niz­ing the next coup to put Trump back into office. Trump’s present con­sists of try­ing to simul­ta­ne­ous­ly run away from his past and future coup-relat­ed legal trou­bles. But Ban­non is just in full on open coup mode. It’s reached a point where it’s dif­fi­cult to see how even­tu­al the Repub­li­can 2024 nom­i­nee isn’t forced to run on a plat­form that has the ‘the 2020 was stolen!’ as the over­ar­ch­ing issue.

    So giv­en that Trump is still dis­play­ing some degree of legal con­cern over his past coup-attempts at the same time Steve Ban­non is clear­ly prep­ping the Repub­li­can Par­ty estab­lish­ment to get ready for a much big­ger and sub­stan­tial pushed to ‘win’ in 2024 through any means nec­es­sary — includ­ing a new coup if the Repub­li­can los­es — it rais­es the ques­tion of how much that even­tu­al 2024 nom­i­nee is going to run on a plat­form that includes pre­emp­tive par­dons for all of the peo­ple involved with the Steven Ban­non’s planned 2024 coup attempt. They’re plan­ning on some­thing big. Bigly sedi­tious. The Repub­li­can is going to ‘win’ one way or anoth­er in 2024. Ban­non’s ‘shock troops’ are going to be mobi­lized in some form. The 2024 Repub­li­can nom­i­nee is going to have to be a right­eous­ly insur­rec­tion­ist nom­i­nee because that’s now the GOP’s brand. The Capi­tol insur­rec­tion was a just actions against a stolen elec­tion. It’s Steven Ban­non’s brand even more than it’s Don­ald Trump’s brand. The “We con­trol the coun­try. We’ve got to start act­ing like it” brand. So if that’s the brand, what are the odds they just start cam­paign­ing on par­dons for insur­rec­tion­ists. The Jan 6 2021 insur­rec­tion­ists, and any of the peo­ple involved in the insur­rec­tions Ban­non has planned to secure that 2024 ‘win’:

    The Huff­in­g­ton Post

    Steve Ban­non Dou­bles Down On His ‘Shock Troops’ Gov­ern­ment Takeover Threat

    Ban­non ups num­bers of “troops” that will “decon­struct” the state once a Repub­li­can is back in the White House from 4,000 to 20,000.
    head­shot

    By Mary Papen­fuss
    10/04/2021 10:05 pm ET

    For­mer White House strate­gist Steve Ban­non on Mon­day dug in on this threat that Don­ald Trump-loy­al “shock troops” will move to “decon­struct” the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment the minute a Repub­li­can takes over the Oval Office again.

    “We need to get ready now,” he said on his “War Room” pod­cast. We con­trol the coun­try. We’ve got to start act­ing like it. And one way we’re going to act like it, we’re not going to have 4,000 [shock troops] ready to go, we’re going to have 20,000 ready to go.”

    Steve Ban­non said this morn­ing he will have 20K “shock troops” on stand­by. “We con­trol this coun­try,” he added. “We have to start act­ing like it.” pic.twitter.com/R47m5nVC78— Zachary Petriz­zo (@ZTPetrizzo) Octo­ber 4, 2021

    Ban­non referred to 4,000 “shock troops” in an inter­view with NBC News on Sat­ur­day after the net­work report­ed that he had met ear­li­er in the week with the par­ty faith­ful to exhort them to pre­pare to “recon­fig­ure the gov­ern­ment” once a Repub­li­can is in the White House.

    “If you’re going to take over the admin­is­tra­tive state and decon­struct it, then you have to have shock troops pre­pared to take it over imme­di­ate­ly,” Ban­non told NBC. “I gave ’em fire and brim­stone.”

    “Shock troops” is a mil­i­tary term for an advance team of trained sol­diers who car­ry out light­ning-fast assaults. Many found Bannon’s use of the term extreme­ly dis­turb­ing, par­tic­u­lar­ly in the wake of the vio­lence of the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capi­tol. Crit­ics said Bannon’s ref­er­ence to shock troops “decon­struct­ing” the “state” appeared to be a call for an anti-democ­ra­cy coup.

    But Ban­non attempt­ed to veil his vio­lent rhetoric as a call for “shock troop” bureau­crats.

    He spoke last week at the Capi­tol Hill Club at the invi­ta­tion of a new right-wing orga­ni­za­tion called the Asso­ci­a­tion of Repub­li­can Pres­i­den­tial Appointees, accord­ing to NBC. The group was formed as a resource for future GOP offi­cials to quick­ly fill fed­er­al jobs.

    ...

    Ban­non was one of four close Trump asso­ciates sub­poe­naed ear­li­er last week to appear before the House select com­mit­tee inves­ti­gat­ing the Jan. 6 Capi­tol insur­rec­tion. Inves­ti­ga­tors said Ban­non urged Trump to focus efforts to return to the White House on the Jan. 6 action.

    Ban­non admit­ted last week on his pod­cast that he told Trump before the insur­rec­tion: “You need to kill this [Biden] admin­is­tra­tion in its crib.”

    That led Har­vard con­sti­tu­tion­al law expert Lau­rence Tribe to won­der why the Depart­ment of Jus­tice hadn’t con­vened a grand jury to con­sid­er sedi­tion charges against Ban­non.

    The for­mer pres­i­dent con­tra­dict­ed Ban­non on Mon­day, insist­ing the two hadn’t spo­ken near the end of his admin­is­tra­tion.

    “So is he lying when he says he was talk­ing to you in the last months of your admin­is­tra­tion?” Trump was asked on Yahoo Finance Live.

    Trump respond­ed: “Very lit­tle. We would speak very lit­tle.. Now, Steve and I spoke very lit­tle. But I will tell you, he was very sup­port­ive.”

    Trump ear­ly this year par­doned Ban­non, who faced mul­ti­ple fraud counts in the South­ern Dis­trict of New York fol­low­ing an indict­ment a year ago for alleged­ly steal­ing funds from Trump sup­port­ers who donat­ed to a char­i­ty he con­trolled, which pur­port­ed to raise mon­ey to help build Trump’s wall along the south­ern bor­der.

    ———–

    “Steve Ban­non Dou­bles Down On His ‘Shock Troops’ Gov­ern­ment Takeover Threat” by Mary Papen­fuss; The Huff­in­g­ton Post; 10/04/2021

    “We need to get ready now...We con­trol the coun­try. We’ve got to start act­ing like it. And one way we’re going to act like it, we’re not going to have 4,000 [shock troops] ready to go, we’re going to have 20,000 ready to go.”

    We con­trol the coun­try. We’ve got to start act­ing like it. Spo­ken like a true fas­cist. It’s like you can hear what­ev­er is left of the US’s democ­ra­cy exhale for the last time. Ban­non’s strat­e­gy to pre­pare for the 2024 insur­rec­tion is to spend the next four years nor­mal­iz­ing the idea. He even admit­ted to telling Trump to kill the Biden admin­is­tra­tion in its crib.

    And yet Trump’s dis­tanc­ing from Ban­non reminds us that coup attempts aren’t nec­es­sar­i­ly legal. It remains to be seen. They might all get away with it but that process is still being worked out:

    ...
    Ban­non was one of four close Trump asso­ciates sub­poe­naed ear­li­er last week to appear before the House select com­mit­tee inves­ti­gat­ing the Jan. 6 Capi­tol insur­rec­tion. Inves­ti­ga­tors said Ban­non urged Trump to focus efforts to return to the White House on the Jan. 6 action.

    Ban­non admit­ted last week on his pod­cast that he told Trump before the insur­rec­tion: “You need to kill this [Biden] admin­is­tra­tion in its crib.”

    That led Har­vard con­sti­tu­tion­al law expert Lau­rence Tribe to won­der why the Depart­ment of Jus­tice hadn’t con­vened a grand jury to con­sid­er sedi­tion charges against Ban­non.

    The for­mer pres­i­dent con­tra­dict­ed Ban­non on Mon­day, insist­ing the two hadn’t spo­ken near the end of his admin­is­tra­tion.

    “So is he lying when he says he was talk­ing to you in the last months of your admin­is­tra­tion?” Trump was asked on Yahoo Finance Live.

    Trump respond­ed: “Very lit­tle. We would speak very lit­tle.. Now, Steve and I spoke very lit­tle. But I will tell you, he was very sup­port­ive.”
    ...

    It’s this some­what tepid embrace of the pol­i­tics of insur­rec­tion that forces us to ask not only whether or not the par­don­ing of Jan 6 insur­rec­tion­ist going to be part of the 2024 GOP plat­form, but also whether or not the par­don­ing for the planned insur­rec­tion that’s going to secure the 2024 elec­tion will be part of the plat­form. In oth­er words, if Trump (or who­ev­er the nom­i­nee is) is going to be run­ning on a “I’m going to win, by vote or by force, to avenge the theft of 2020” kind of plat­form, will the even­tu­al par­don­ing of all the peo­ple who are going to be car­ry­ing out that coup be part of the 2024 plat­form too? We’ll see, but it’s the kind of plat­form that would prob­a­bly help Ban­non with the whole shock troop recruit­ment process.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 5, 2021, 5:01 pm
  21. Sen­ate Judi­cia­ry com­mit­tee Democ­rats tossed an evi­den­tiary bomb onto the legal show­down already brew­ing between House con­gres­sion­al inves­ti­ga­tors of the Jan­u­ary 6 Capi­tol insur­rec­tion and the inves­ti­ga­tion tar­gets. The inter­im 394 page report was like a com­pi­la­tion of every­thing we already know about the plot. A plot that seemed to keep evolv­ing and snow­balling the clos­er they got to Jan­u­ary 6. But it’s the when this damn­ing report comes out that makes it sig­nif­i­cant.

    Two weeks ago, days after Steve Ban­non was open­ly admit­ting to advis­ing Trump on Jan­u­ary 5 to “kill the Biden pres­i­den­cy in the crib”, Ban­non and three oth­er key fig­ures in the coup attempt — Mark Mead­ows, Kash Patel and Dan Scav­i­no — were sub­poe­naed by House Democ­rats. In response to the sub­poe­nas, we’ve only Ban­non enthu­si­as­ti­cal­ly played the insur­rec­tion­ist cheer­leader role by call­ing for the cre­ation of an army of MAGA ‘shock troops’.

    And Ban­non’s reac­tion to the sub­poe­na appears to be rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the entire coup-plot­ting net­work’s response to these legal chal­lenges. Jef­frey Clark — who made that attempt­ed coup inside the DOJ in late December/early Jan­u­ary to he could block the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion — has­n’t indi­cat­ed he’ll appear for ques­tion. They’ve all appeared to solid­i­fy around a strat­e­gy of oppos­ing any coop­er­a­tion with the inves­ti­ga­tion, with Don­ald Trump lead­ing the way argu­ing that the inves­ti­ga­tion is cor­rupt and the real insur­rec­tion took place on Elec­tion Day on Novem­ber 3.

    That’s the con­text that makes this damn­ing Sen­ate report so sig­nif­i­cant. This utter­ly damn­ing report comes at a time when the Trump net­work is dou­bling and tripling down on the nar­ra­tive that every­thing it did was right­eous because the elec­tion real­ly was stolen. The issue of whether or not Trump attempt­ed a coup is inevitably going to be a major polit­i­cal issue going for­ward. The kind of major issue that’s not going to die until one of two things hap­pens:
    1. The GOP dies.
    2. The US democ­ra­cy for­mal­ly dies and there are no more elec­tions.

    Those are the two sce­nar­ios required for this issue to go away, bar­ring a mas­sive GOP mea cul­pa which is nev­er going to hap­pen. A par­ty can’t real­ly just live some­thing like this down. The sto­ry told in the Sen­ate report is too damn­ing to ignore. By all sides. Democ­rats can’t help but focus on the report and the GOP can help but deflect it by embrac­ing its damn­ing con­tents. Embrac­ing the insur­rec­tion real­ly is Trump’s best defense because he does­n’t have a real defense. The Big Lie about a stolen elec­tion isn’t just Trump’s great excuse for los­ing. It’s his post-coup-attempt best legal defense. That’s why this report is so damn­ing. The report is draw­ing the con­tours of the US’s sociopo­lit­i­cal cri­sis for the fore­see­able future:

    Talk­ing Points Memo
    Muck­rak­er

    Five Key Take­aways From The Sen­ate Report On DOJ And The Big Lie

    By Josh Koven­sky
    Octo­ber 7, 2021 6:16 p.m.

    Sen­ate Judi­cia­ry Democ­rats released a pre­lim­i­nary report on Thurs­day into for­mer Pres­i­dent Trump’s efforts to enlist the DOJ to over­turn the results of the 2020 elec­tion.

    The report pro­vides a stun­ning lev­el of detail, describ­ing how Trump dep­u­tized a senior DOJ appointee — Jef­frey Clark — in his cam­paign to use the depart­ment as a weapon against the elec­tion results.

    It also details how for­mer Deputy Attor­ney Gen­er­al Richard Donoghue and act­ing attor­ney gen­er­al Jef­frey Rosen pre­vent­ed the scheme from being real­ized, cul­mi­nat­ing in an eleventh-hour meet­ing in the Oval Office.

    The report is pre­lim­i­nary, and the inves­ti­ga­tion is ongo­ing. Jeff Clark has yet to agree to a request to appear before the pan­el; the Nation­al Archives has yet to respond to a spring request for doc­u­ments.

    Here are five take­aways from the report.

    1 Bill Barr set the stage for every­thing that hap­pened.

    None of Trump’s efforts to hijack the DOJ and ori­ent it towards sup­port­ing the Big Lie could have tak­en place with­out Barr.

    As the report notes, it was Barr who cleared the way for fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tors to become involved in the first place by issu­ing a memo in Novem­ber 2020 that lift­ed a long­stand­ing ban which pre­vent­ed pros­e­cu­tors from tak­ing overt inves­tiga­tive steps before elec­tion results were set­tled.

    The report doc­u­ments how that put U.S. Attor­ney for the North­ern Dis­trict of Geor­gia BJay Pak in a tough posi­tion: he was forced to inves­ti­gate out­landish claims involv­ing “vote-stuff­ing” and “suit­cas­es” in Decem­ber 2020. It wasn’t enough for Trump, because there was noth­ing to inves­ti­gate, result­ing in Pak’s forced res­ig­na­tion (first report­ed by TPM).

    Inves­ti­ga­tors leave anoth­er Barr-relat­ed ques­tion open: he announced his res­ig­na­tion on Dec. 14, but only depart­ed on Dec. 23. Dur­ing the inter­ven­ing peri­od, Rosen and Donoghue began to face pres­sure from Trump which would lat­er morph into the bid to install Clark as attor­ney gen­er­al.

    Was Barr unaware of this at the time?

    2 Trump beck­oned a coterie of mani­acs to pres­sure DOJ lead­ers.

    Trump opened the flood­gates for a series of ran­dom peo­ple — some with offi­cial posi­tions at var­i­ous lev­els of gov­ern­ment, oth­ers with­out — to begin pes­ter­ing Rosen and Donoghue to inves­ti­gate dubi­ous claims of fraud in the elec­tion.

    In one Dec. 27 instance, Trump asked Donoghue for his cell phone num­ber, so he could have MAGA con­gress­man Rep. Scott Per­ry (R‑PA) call him and demand that the DOJ inves­ti­gate “things going on in Penn­syl­va­nia.”

    Anoth­er episode saw a man named Kurt B. Olsen, a pri­vate attor­ney who had for­mer­ly worked with Texas AG Ken Pax­ton on his Penn­syl­va­nia Supreme Court law­suit, try to con­vince the DOJ to file a case with the Supreme Court seek­ing to block swing states from send­ing their Biden elec­tors to Con­gress.

    ...

    3 Jeff Clark’s coup attempt was unbe­liev­ably ham-fist­ed.

    The spe­cif­ic acts that Clark took dur­ing the final days of Decem­ber and first days of Jan­u­ary come off as very aggres­sive. He was effec­tive­ly attempt­ing to issue orders to his boss, Jef­fery Rosen, and would even­tu­al­ly demand his res­ig­na­tion and inform him that he would replace him.

    Clark also threw his weight around in var­i­ous oth­er ways. He demand­ed that the “act­ing” on his title be removed, for exam­ple, even though he was nev­er con­firmed by the Sen­ate to serve as assis­tant attor­ney gen­er­al for the civ­il divi­sion.

    When it came time for him to “fire” Rosen, Clark told his boss that he would appre­ci­ate it if he stuck around as his deputy attor­ney gen­er­al.

    “There was no uni­verse I could imag­ine in which that would ever hap­pen,” Rosen recalled reply­ing.

    4 The DOJ’s ranks would have been hol­lowed out before staff let Clark become AG.

    Had Clark suc­ceed­ed, the report sug­gests, the DOJ would have been ener­vat­ed.

    Clark would have been attor­ney gen­er­al, but with no senior lead­er­ship. On a call before the momen­tous Jan. 3 meet­ing in the Oval Office, Rosen and Donoghue were pur­port­ed­ly told by senior DOJ lead­ers — that’s the heads of divi­sions in the depart­ment — that they, too, would resign if Rosen were to be canned.

    At the meet­ing with Trump, his own White House coun­sel, Pat Cipol­lone, and deputy, Patrick Philbin, repeat­ed this. Donoghue told Trump that U.S. Attor­neys and oth­er DOJ offi­cials would like­ly fol­low suit in the event of a Clark attor­ney gen­er­al-ship.

    5 Trump is very impres­sion­able.

    This may not be break­ing news, but one over­all take­away from this account and oth­ers is that peo­ple around Trump under­stood that he could be per­suad­ed away from seem­ing­ly dis­as­trous cours­es of action when nec­es­sary.

    Look at the encounter with Clark: it deeply alarms Rosen and oth­er senior offi­cials.

    But when Clark says that the plan is actu­al­ly, final­ly in motion — Trump will fire Rosen and appoint Clark attor­ney gen­er­al — Rosen imme­di­ate­ly knows what to do: sched­ule a meet­ing with The Don­ald.

    And in this case, Trump couldn’t look Rosen in the eye and say, “you’re fired.” Rather, in Rosen’s telling, Trump start­ed the meet­ing off by remark­ing: “One thing we know is you, Rosen, aren’t going to do any­thing to over­turn the elec­tion.”

    From there, those around Trump and at the meet­ing were able to spend the next few hours pres­sur­ing the for­mer Pres­i­dent into keep­ing Rosen on and drop­ping the Clark plan. They brow­beat him, say­ing that “U.S. Attor­neys and oth­er DOJ offi­cials” might also resign en masse, as Eric Her­schmann, a Trump legal advis­er, crit­i­cized Clark’s “qual­i­fi­ca­tions and abil­i­ties.”

    It took time, but it worked: Trump dropped the plan, and Clark depart­ed the DOJ in ignominy before the Biden admin­is­tra­tion arrived.

    ———–

    “Five Key Take­aways From The Sen­ate Report On DOJ And The Big Lie” by Josh Koven­sky; Talk­ing Points Memo; 10/07/2021

    “The report is pre­lim­i­nary, and the inves­ti­ga­tion is ongo­ing. Jeff Clark has yet to agree to a request to appear before the pan­el; the Nation­al Archives has yet to respond to a spring request for doc­u­ments.”

    It may be a damn­ing report, but it’s also just a pre­lim­i­nary damn­ing report for an ongo­ing inves­ti­ga­tion. An ongo­ing inves­ti­ga­tion that may not actu­al­ly be able to suc­cess­ful­ly sub­poe­na or inter­view key fig­ures like Jef­frey Clark. It’s anoth­er aspect of what makes this report so damn­ing: the ongo­ing obstruc­tion by the Trump team.

    Obstruc­tion com­ing from the top, accord­ing to the fol­low­ing Guardian arti­cle describ­ing reports that the four top coup-plot­ters who just received those con­gres­sion­al sub­poe­nas a cou­ple of weeks ago are all plan­ning on defy­ing their sub­poe­nas. Defi­ance with not only Trump’s open bless­ing, but his demands. Accord­ing to sources, Trump is plan­ning on insist­ing that Ban­non, Mead­ows, Patel, and Scav­i­no all defy their sub­poe­nas. On what grounds? Exec­u­tive priv­i­lege. Pro­tect­ing Trump’s exec­u­tive priv­i­lege is going to be the basis for defy­ing this inves­ti­ga­tion. That’s Trump’s plan going for­ward, accord­ing to these sources:

    The Guardian

    Top Trump aides set to defy sub­poe­nas in Capi­tol attack inves­ti­ga­tion

    Source says Mead­ows, Ban­non and oth­ers will move to under­cut House select com­mit­tee inquiry – under instruc­tions from Trump

    Hugo Low­ell in Wash­ing­ton
    Wed 6 Oct 2021 09.47 EDT

    First pub­lished on Wed 6 Oct 2021 01.30 EDT

    The for­mer Trump White House chief of staff Mark Mead­ows and oth­er top aides sub­poe­naed by the House select com­mit­tee inves­ti­gat­ing the Capi­tol attack are expect­ed to defy orders for doc­u­ments and tes­ti­mo­ny relat­ed to 6 Jan­u­ary, accord­ing to a source famil­iar with the mat­ter.

    The move to defy the sub­poe­nas would mark the first major inves­tiga­tive hur­dle faced by the select com­mit­tee and threat­ens to touch off an extend­ed legal bat­tle as the for­mer pres­i­dent push­es some of his most senior aides to under­cut the inquiry.

    All four Trump aides tar­get­ed by the select com­mit­tee – Mead­ows, deputy chief of staff Dan Scav­i­no, strate­gist Steve Ban­non and defense depart­ment aide Kash Patel – are expect­ed to resist the orders because Trump is prepar­ing to direct them to do so, the source said.

    Trump at the ral­ly that pre­ced­ed the riot on Jan­u­ary 6. The select com­mit­tee is expect­ed in the com­ing weeks to autho­rize still fur­ther sub­poe­nas to Trump offi­cials and oth­er indi­vid­u­als con­nect­ed to the Capi­tol attack.
    Capi­tol attack com­mit­tee issues fresh sub­poe­nas over pre-riot Trump ral­ly
    Read more

    The select com­mit­tee had issued the sub­poe­nas under the threat of crim­i­nal pros­e­cu­tion in the event of non-com­pli­ance, warn­ing that the penal­ty for defy­ing a con­gres­sion­al sub­poe­na would be far graver under the Biden admin­is­tra­tion than dur­ing the Trump pres­i­den­cy.

    But increas­ing­ly con­cerned with the far-reach­ing nature of the 6 Jan­u­ary inves­ti­ga­tion, Trump and his legal team, led by the ex-Trump cam­paign lawyer Justin Clark the for­mer deputy White House coun­sel Patrick Philbin, are mov­ing to instruct the attor­neys for the sub­poe­naed aides to defy the orders.

    The basis for Trump’s press­ing aides to not coop­er­ate is being mount­ed on grounds of exec­u­tive priv­i­lege, the source said, over claims that sen­si­tive con­ver­sa­tions about what he knew in advance of plans to stop the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of Joe Biden’s elec­tion vic­to­ry should remain secret.

    Philbin appears less con­vinced than Trump about the strength of the legal argu­ment, the source said, in part because the jus­tice depart­ment pre­vi­ous­ly declined to assert the pro­tec­tion for 6 Jan­u­ary tes­ti­mo­ny, sug­gest­ing it did not exist to pro­tect Trump’s per­son­al inter­ests.

    The for­mer president’s lawyer, the source said, instead seems to view the strat­e­gy more as an effec­tive way to slow-walk the select com­mit­tee, which is aim­ing to pro­duce a final report before the 2022 midterm elec­tions, to keep the inquiry non-par­ti­san.

    It was not clear on Tues­day whether Trump would push aides to defy all ele­ments of the sub­poe­nas, the source cau­tioned – access to some emails or call records demand­ed by the select com­mit­tee might be waived.

    But Trump’s strat­e­gy mir­rors the play­book he used to pre­vent House Democ­rats from depos­ing his top advis­ers dur­ing his pres­i­den­cy. The for­mer White House coun­sel Don McGahn, for instance, only tes­ti­fied to Con­gress about the Mueller inquiry once Trump left office.

    House select com­mit­tee inves­ti­ga­tors had demand­ed that the four Trump aides turn over emails, call records and oth­er doc­u­ments relat­ed to the Capi­tol attack by Thurs­day and then appear before the pan­el for closed-door depo­si­tions next week.

    But with the for­mer pres­i­dent expect­ed to insist to Philbin that Mead­ows, Scav­i­no, Ban­non and Patel mount blan­ket refusals against the sub­poe­nas, the source said, the select com­mit­tee at present appears like­ly to see none of the requests ful­filled.

    The move means that House select com­mit­tee inves­ti­ga­tors now face the key deci­sion over how to enforce the orders – and whether they make a crim­i­nal refer­ral to the jus­tice depart­ment after the Thurs­day dead­line for doc­u­ments or next week’s crunch date for tes­ti­mo­ny.

    The House select com­mit­tee chair­man, Ben­nie Thomp­son, told reporters recent­ly that he was pre­pared to pur­sue crim­i­nal refer­rals to wit­ness­es who defied sub­poe­nas and sub­poe­na dead­lines, as the pan­el esca­lates the pace of the evi­dence-gath­er­ing part of its inves­ti­ga­tion.

    “We’ll do what­ev­er the law allows us to do,” Thomp­son said last Fri­day on the sub­ject of pros­e­cut­ing recal­ci­trant wit­ness­es. “For those who don’t agree to come in vol­un­tar­i­ly, we’ll do crim­i­nal refer­rals.”

    ...

    The legal bat­tle to force some of Trump’s most senior White House aides to com­ply with the sub­poe­nas – how­ev­er it is man­i­fest­ed – is like­ly to lead to con­sti­tu­tion­al clash­es in court that would test the pow­er of Congress’s over­sight author­i­ty over the exec­u­tive branch.

    But mem­bers of the select com­mit­tee in recent days have expressed qui­et opti­mism at least about the poten­tial pros­e­cu­tion of wit­ness­es who might defy sub­poe­nas, in part because of the Biden administration’s pub­lic sup­port for the inves­ti­ga­tion.

    The select com­mit­tee said in the sub­poe­na let­ters to Mead­ows, Ban­non, Scav­i­no and Patel that they were key per­sons of inter­est over what they knew about the extent of Trump’s involve­ment in the Capi­tol attack, which left five dead and more than 140 injured.

    Mead­ows, the for­mer White House chief of staff, remains of spe­cial inter­est to House select com­mit­tee inves­ti­ga­tors since he was involved in efforts to sub­vert the results of the 2020 elec­tion and remained by Trump’s side as riot­ers stormed the Capi­tol in his name.

    He was also in con­tact with Patel at the defense depart­ment, the select com­mit­tee assert­ed, and com­mu­ni­cat­ed with mem­bers of the Women for Amer­i­ca First group that planned the “Stop the Steal” ral­ly that dete­ri­o­rat­ed into the 6 Jan­u­ary insur­rec­tion.

    Scav­i­no, the for­mer White House deputy chief of staff, became a per­son of inter­est after it emerged that he met with Trump the day before the Capi­tol attack to dis­cuss how to per­suade mem­bers of Con­gress not to cer­ti­fy the elec­tion, accord­ing to his sub­poe­na let­ter.

    The select com­mit­tee said in the sub­poe­na let­ter to Ban­non that they want­ed to hear from Trump’s for­mer chief strate­gist, who was present at the Willard Hotel on 5 Jan­u­ary to strate­gize with Trump cam­paign offi­cials how to stop the elec­tion cer­ti­fi­ca­tion.

    Patel, mean­while, is under scruti­ny since he was involved in Pen­ta­gon dis­cus­sions about secu­ri­ty at the Capi­tol before and after the riot. The select com­mit­tee added they were also exam­in­ing reports Trump tried to install him as deputy CIA direc­tor.

    ————-

    “Top Trump aides set to defy sub­poe­nas in Capi­tol attack inves­ti­ga­tion” by Hugo Low­ell; The Guardian; 10/06/2021

    “The legal bat­tle to force some of Trump’s most senior White House aides to com­ply with the sub­poe­nas – how­ev­er it is man­i­fest­ed – is like­ly to lead to con­sti­tu­tion­al clash­es in court that would test the pow­er of Congress’s over­sight author­i­ty over the exec­u­tive branch.”

    A con­sti­tu­tion­al clash: is a con­gres­sion­al inves­ti­ga­tion into a for­mer pres­i­den­cy a vio­la­tion of exec­u­tive priv­i­lege? That’s the legal argu­ment the sub­poe­naed coup-plot­ters. A legal argu­ment ema­nat­ing from the Trump him­self, who is expect­ed to insist that the four sub­poe­naed indi­vid­u­als stay uni­fied in their defi­ance:

    ...
    The basis for Trump’s press­ing aides to not coop­er­ate is being mount­ed on grounds of exec­u­tive priv­i­lege, the source said, over claims that sen­si­tive con­ver­sa­tions about what he knew in advance of plans to stop the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of Joe Biden’s elec­tion vic­to­ry should remain secret.

    ...

    House select com­mit­tee inves­ti­ga­tors had demand­ed that the four Trump aides turn over emails, call records and oth­er doc­u­ments relat­ed to the Capi­tol attack by Thurs­day and then appear before the pan­el for closed-door depo­si­tions next week.

    But with the for­mer pres­i­dent expect­ed to insist to Philbin that Mead­ows, Scav­i­no, Ban­non and Patel mount blan­ket refusals against the sub­poe­nas, the source said, the select com­mit­tee at present appears like­ly to see none of the requests ful­filled.
    ...

    And as the fol­low­ing arti­cle reminds us, this isn’t a legal strat­e­gy Trump arrived at ran­dom­ly. Cit­ing exec­u­tive priv­i­lege to dodge an inves­ti­ga­tion is some­thing Trump already used to great effect dur­ing his first impeach­ment:

    The Guardian

    Trump plans to sue to keep White House records on Capi­tol attack secret

    Legal strat­e­gy could delay and pos­si­bly stymie efforts by House select com­mit­tee into Capi­tol attacks to see key doc­u­ments

    Hugo Low­ell
    Wed 29 Sep 2021 02.00 EDT

    Last mod­i­fied on Wed 29 Sep 2021 02.02 EDT

    Don­ald Trump is prepar­ing to sue to block the release of White House records from his admin­is­tra­tion to the House select com­mit­tee scru­ti­niz­ing the 6 Jan­u­ary attack on the Capi­tol by claim­ing exec­u­tive priv­i­lege, poten­tial­ly touch­ing off an extend­ed legal bat­tle over dis­clo­sure.

    The for­mer pres­i­dent also expects top aides – for­mer White House chief of staff Mark Mead­ows, deputy chief of staff Dan Scav­i­no, strate­gist Steve Ban­non and defense depart­ment aide Kash Patel – to defy select com­mit­tee sub­poe­nas for records and tes­ti­mo­ny.

    ...

    The for­mer pres­i­dent said in recent days that he would cite exec­u­tive priv­i­lege to thwart House select com­mit­tee inves­ti­ga­tors seek­ing to com­pel his top aides to tes­ti­fy about 6 Jan­u­ary and what he knew of plans to stop the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of Joe Biden’s elec­tion win.

    But the sharp­en­ing con­tours of Trump’s inten­tion to stonewall the select com­mit­tee mark a new turn­ing point as he seeks to keep a grip on the rapid­ly esca­lat­ing inves­ti­ga­tion into the events of 6 Jan­u­ary that left five dead and about 140 oth­ers injured.

    The plan to pre­vent House select com­mit­tee inves­ti­ga­tors from receiv­ing Trump White House records revolves around exploit­ing the pro­ce­dure by which the Nation­al Archives allows both the Biden admin­is­tra­tion and Trump to review mate­ri­als for exec­u­tive priv­i­lege claims.

    After the Nation­al Archives iden­ti­fies and trans­mits to Biden and Trump the records request­ed by the select com­mit­tee, Trump has 30 days to review the mate­ri­als and ask the admin­is­tra­tion to assert exec­u­tive priv­i­lege over any to stop their release.

    The records are being deliv­ered to Biden and Trump hun­dreds or thou­sands of pages at a time on a rolling basis, and the first tranche of doc­u­ments was sent by the Nation­al Archives on 31 August, accord­ing to a source famil­iar with the mat­ter.

    As pres­i­dent, Biden retains the final author­i­ty over whether to assert the pro­tec­tion for spe­cif­ic doc­u­ments, mean­ing that he can instruct the White House coun­sel, Dana Remus, to allow their release even over Trump’s objec­tions after an addi­tion­al 60 days has passed.

    The for­mer pres­i­dent, how­ev­er, can then file law­suits to block their release – a legal strat­e­gy that Trump and his advis­ers are prepar­ing to pur­sue inso­far as it could tie up the records in court for months and stymie evi­dence-gath­er­ing by the select com­mit­tee.

    It was not imme­di­ate­ly clear how Trump would approach such legal chal­lenges, and whether it would, for instance, involve indi­vid­ual suits against the release of spe­cif­ic records. A spokesper­son for the for­mer pres­i­dent did not respond to a request for com­ment.

    Trump is not guar­an­teed to win such cas­es over exec­u­tive priv­i­lege giv­en he is no longer pres­i­dent and the White House office of legal coun­sel pre­vi­ous­ly declined to assert the pro­tec­tion for pre­vi­ous 6 Jan­u­ary-relat­ed tes­ti­mo­ny by Trump jus­tice depart­ment offi­cials.

    But the plan could delay, and there­fore ham­per, House select com­mit­tee inves­ti­ga­tors as they aim to pro­duce a final report before the 2022 midterm elec­tions in order to shield their work from accu­sa­tions of par­ti­san­ship as the nation returns to the polls.

    The select com­mit­tee at the very lat­est is prob­a­bly fac­ing a hard dead­line of Jan­u­ary 2023 by which to com­plete its report, since Repub­li­cans will not vote to reau­tho­rize a pan­el inves­ti­gat­ing Trump and his allies should they, as expect­ed, retake con­trol of the House.

    As for the sub­poe­nas issued to his top aides, Trump has said in recent days that he would invoke exec­u­tive priv­i­lege to pre­vent Mead­ows, Scav­i­no, Ban­non and Patel from tes­ti­fy­ing to the select com­mit­tee, repeat­ing a tac­tic suc­cess­ful­ly used dur­ing his first impeach­ment.

    In a free­wheel­ing state­ment after the select com­mit­tee announced the sub­poe­nas – delib­er­a­tions first report­ed by the Guardian – the for­mer pres­i­dent lashed out at the select committee’s inquiry as a par­ti­san exer­cise and crit­i­cized their zeal to tar­get his clos­est advis­ers.

    “We will fight the sub­poe­nas on exec­u­tive priv­i­lege and oth­er grounds for the good of our coun­try, while we wait to find out whether or not sub­poe­nas will be sent out to Antifa and BLM for the death and destruc­tion they have caused,” Trump said.

    The for­mer pres­i­dent sig­naled his inten­tions to threat­en a pro­longed legal fight over White House records from his admin­is­tra­tion after the select com­mit­tee first made its doc­u­ments requests to the Nation­al Archives at the end of August.

    “Exec­u­tive priv­i­lege will be defend­ed, not just on behalf of my admin­is­tra­tion and the patri­ots who worked beside me, but on behalf of the office of the pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States and the future of our nation,” Trump said in a state­ment.

    The jus­tice depart­ment has typ­i­cal­ly fought to keep pri­vate, exec­u­tive-branch dis­cus­sions between pres­i­dents and top advis­ers secret, to avoid set­ting a prece­dent that could pre­vent offi­cials from hav­ing can­did con­ver­sa­tions for fear that they might lat­er become pub­lic.

    But with the for­mer act­ing attor­ney gen­er­al Jeff Rosen and his deputy, Richard Donoghue, the White House office of legal coun­sel cleared them to pro­vide “unre­strict­ed tes­ti­mo­ny” to Con­gress about Trump’s efforts to rein­stall him­self in office because of the grav­i­ty of the mat­ter.

    ————

    “Trump plans to sue to keep White House records on Capi­tol attack secret” by Hugo Low­ell; The Guardian; 09/29/2021

    “As for the sub­poe­nas issued to his top aides, Trump has said in recent days that he would invoke exec­u­tive priv­i­lege to pre­vent Mead­ows, Scav­i­no, Ban­non and Patel from tes­ti­fy­ing to the select com­mit­tee, repeat­ing a tac­tic suc­cess­ful­ly used dur­ing his first impeach­ment.

    It worked before. The ‘pro­tect­ing exec­u­tive priv­i­lege’ tac­tic helped Trump avoid answer­ing ques­tions dur­ing his first impeach­ment hear­ing. Will it work again? How about for non-admin­is­tra­tion fig­ures like Steve Ban­non, who was not at all offi­cial­ly part of the Trump admin­is­tra­tion when he admit­ted­ly advised Trump on Jan­u­ary 5 to “kill the Biden pres­i­den­cy in the crib”? Will Ban­non be allowed to cite exec­u­tive priv­i­lege to pro­tect those kinds of con­ver­sa­tions with Trump? He’s appar­ent­ly going to try to find out. With law­suits:

    ...
    The plan to pre­vent House select com­mit­tee inves­ti­ga­tors from receiv­ing Trump White House records revolves around exploit­ing the pro­ce­dure by which the Nation­al Archives allows both the Biden admin­is­tra­tion and Trump to review mate­ri­als for exec­u­tive priv­i­lege claims.

    After the Nation­al Archives iden­ti­fies and trans­mits to Biden and Trump the records request­ed by the select com­mit­tee, Trump has 30 days to review the mate­ri­als and ask the admin­is­tra­tion to assert exec­u­tive priv­i­lege over any to stop their release.

    The records are being deliv­ered to Biden and Trump hun­dreds or thou­sands of pages at a time on a rolling basis, and the first tranche of doc­u­ments was sent by the Nation­al Archives on 31 August, accord­ing to a source famil­iar with the mat­ter.

    As pres­i­dent, Biden retains the final author­i­ty over whether to assert the pro­tec­tion for spe­cif­ic doc­u­ments, mean­ing that he can instruct the White House coun­sel, Dana Remus, to allow their release even over Trump’s objec­tions after an addi­tion­al 60 days has passed.

    The for­mer pres­i­dent, how­ev­er, can then file law­suits to block their release – a legal strat­e­gy that Trump and his advis­ers are prepar­ing to pur­sue inso­far as it could tie up the records in court for months and stymie evi­dence-gath­er­ing by the select com­mit­tee.

    ...

    The jus­tice depart­ment has typ­i­cal­ly fought to keep pri­vate, exec­u­tive-branch dis­cus­sions between pres­i­dents and top advis­ers secret, to avoid set­ting a prece­dent that could pre­vent offi­cials from hav­ing can­did con­ver­sa­tions for fear that they might lat­er become pub­lic.

    But with the for­mer act­ing attor­ney gen­er­al Jeff Rosen and his deputy, Richard Donoghue, the White House office of legal coun­sel cleared them to pro­vide “unre­strict­ed tes­ti­mo­ny” to Con­gress about Trump’s efforts to rein­stall him­self in office because of the grav­i­ty of the mat­ter.
    ...

    Is Trump him­self going to file the law­suits to block the tes­ti­mo­ny of fig­ures like Steve Ban­non? That’s appar­ent­ly the plan. Just keep stalling while insist­ing that the entire thing is a farce. It’s, again, all part of why this issue of what actu­al­ly hap­pened on Jan­u­ary 6 isn’t going away. The avail­able details are too damn­ing. The only real option the Trump team has is to com­plete embrace the insur­rec­tion as a just and prop­er action. That’s Trump’s best defense. Which is why we should­n’t be sur­prised that he just gave an inter­view where he explic­it­ly stat­ed that noth­ing wrong hap­pened on Jan­u­ary 6 and the real insur­rec­tion took place on Novem­ber 3:

    Just The News

    Trump says Jan. 6 probe no big deal, law­mak­ers should inves­ti­gate the Nov. 3 ‘insur­rec­tion’

    For­mer pres­i­dent also urges law­mak­ers on Capi­tol riot pan­el to inves­ti­gate chair­man Ben­nie Thomp­son’s past ties to vio­lent extrem­ists.

    Updat­ed: Octo­ber 5, 2021 — 11:23pm

    For­mer Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump says he’s not con­cerned by the prospect of his for­mer advis­ers tes­ti­fy­ing before the House select com­mit­tee inves­ti­gat­ing the Jan. 6 Capi­tol riots.

    Law­mak­ers, Trump argued, should instead inves­ti­gate the “insur­rec­tion” that changed last year’s elec­tion rules and com­mit­tee chair­man Ben­nie Thomp­son’s ties to a black sep­a­ratist group whose mem­bers killed cops decades ago.

    Trump told Just the News that he ques­tions why his lawyers want him to invoke exec­u­tive priv­i­lege to block tes­ti­mo­ny and doc­u­ments from going to Thomp­son’s com­mit­tee.

    “I’m mixed, because we did noth­ing wrong,” Trump said dur­ing an inter­view Tues­day with the John Solomon Reports pod­cast. “So I’m sort of say­ing why are we hir­ing lawyers to do this? I’d like to just have every­body go in and say what you have to say.”

    Trump said the real insur­rec­tion occurred in con­nec­tion with the Nov. 3 elec­tion when lib­er­als man­aged to change the rules for elec­tions in key states to, among oth­er things, treat mail-in bal­lots like “junk mail,” use inse­cure drop box­es to col­lect votes, and extend count­ing dead­lines, all in the name of bat­tling the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic.

    While offi­cials in key bat­tle­ground states have insist­ed they have found no wide­spread evi­dence of sys­tem­at­ic fraud in last Novem­ber’s elec­tion, sev­er­al states have since acknowl­edged irreg­u­lar­i­ties, ille­gal­i­ties and mis­man­age­ment.

    Wis­con­sin’s Supreme Court, for instance, has con­clud­ed tens of thou­sands of vot­ers in that state were unlaw­ful­ly allowed to declare them­selves invalid due to COVID and skip pho­to ID require­ments for absen­tee vot­ing. Ari­zon­a’s Sen­ate just com­plet­ed an audit that flagged more than 50,000 bal­lots for prob­lems and fur­ther inves­ti­ga­tion by the state attor­ney gen­er­al, a cache of bal­lots that is five times the mar­gin of Biden’s vic­to­ry.

    And Geor­gia offi­cials belat­ed­ly acknowl­edged that mis­man­age­ment and irreg­u­lar­i­ties were so wide­spread in the state’s largest coun­ty of Ful­ton, where Atlanta is locat­ed, that the state elec­tions board has tak­en the first steps to put the coun­ty’s elec­tion sys­tem in receiver­ship and run the coun­ty’s elec­tions going for­ward. That action was tak­en after Just the News obtained a 29-page memo by a state observ­er chron­i­cling seri­ous irreg­u­lar­i­ties rang­ing from dou­ble scan­ning of bal­lots to pos­si­ble vot­er pri­va­cy vio­la­tions.

    Last week, Geor­gia’s sec­re­tary of state announced an inves­ti­ga­tion of a sec­ond heav­i­ly Demo­c­rat coun­ty, DeKalb, over improp­er chain of cus­tody doc­u­men­ta­tion and mis­han­dling of bal­lots deposit­ed in drop box­es.

    Trump said the mount­ing evi­dence of irreg­u­lar­i­ties war­rants a piv­ot by the Jan. 6 com­mit­tee to inves­ti­gat­ing elec­tion issues.

    “We did noth­ing wrong,” Amer­i­ca’s 45th pres­i­dent said. “They did some­thing wrong. The inves­ti­ga­tion should be on the elec­tion of Novem­ber 3, on the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion of 2020. That’s what the com­mit­tee should be set up for. And that should be a select com­mit­tee, not an uns­e­lect­ed com­mit­tee.”

    “The insur­rec­tion took place on Novem­ber 3,” Trump added, refer­ring to all the rules changes made by states. “That was the insur­rec­tion, when they rigged the elec­tion, the big insur­rec­tion, the real insur­rec­tion, real­ly the crime of the cen­tu­ry.”

    Trump said he is con­tin­u­ing to press lit­i­ga­tion to inves­ti­gate and expose what hap­pened last Novem­ber even though many advis­ers sug­gest he piv­ot to 2022 and beyond.

    “We are press­ing it, and we’re going to con­tin­ue to press it,” he said. “And a lot of very good peo­ple say, ‘Sir, we should think to the future. Think to the future.’ I said, ‘Well, you’re not going to have a future if you don’t solve the past. And we don’t want the same thing to hap­pen in 2022 and 2024.”

    ...

    ———-

    “Trump says Jan. 6 probe no big deal, law­mak­ers should inves­ti­gate the Nov. 3 ‘insur­rec­tion’” by ; Just The News; 10/05/2021

    “We are press­ing it, and we’re going to con­tin­ue to press it...And a lot of very good peo­ple say, ‘Sir, we should think to the future. Think to the future.’ I said, ‘Well, you’re not going to have a future if you don’t solve the past. And we don’t want the same thing to hap­pen in 2022 and 2024.

    Trump him­self is insis­tent that this issue can’t go away. And why would he want it to go away? All of the cov­er­age of the insur­rec­tion and the inves­ti­ga­tion into what actu­al­ly hap­pened can be effec­tive­ly turned into an adver­tise­ment for the GOP’s ‘stolen elec­tion’ Big Lie. It’s a sim­ple recipe. Just repeat the Big Lie over and over at all opportunities...opportunities that include every time some­one brings up the insur­rec­tion. “The insur­rec­tion took place on Novem­ber 3...That was the insur­rec­tion, when they rigged the elec­tion, the big insur­rec­tion, the real insur­rec­tion, real­ly the crime of the cen­tu­ry.” Rinse and repeat:

    ...
    “We did noth­ing wrong,” Amer­i­ca’s 45th pres­i­dent said. “They did some­thing wrong. The inves­ti­ga­tion should be on the elec­tion of Novem­ber 3, on the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion of 2020. That’s what the com­mit­tee should be set up for. And that should be a select com­mit­tee, not an uns­e­lect­ed com­mit­tee.”

    “The insur­rec­tion took place on Novem­ber 3,” Trump added, refer­ring to all the rules changes made by states. “That was the insur­rec­tion, when they rigged the elec­tion, the big insur­rec­tion, the real insur­rec­tion, real­ly the crime of the cen­tu­ry.”
    ...

    Jan­u­ary 6 was­n’t an insur­rec­tion. It was a coun­terin­sur­gency oper­a­tion by patri­ots intend­ed to over­turn the real insur­rec­tion that hap­pened on Elec­tion Day. That’s Trump’s defense. And in the face of so much damn­ing evi­dence laid out in this report, that real­ly is his best defense. What else could he pos­si­bly say?

    So at this point, it’s look­ing like the next phase of this inves­ti­ga­tion isn’t just going to involve the legal bat­tle over try­ing to get those sub­poe­naed indi­vid­u­als to tes­ti­fy. It’s also going to involve the immense ongo­ing pro­pa­gan­da effort to con­vince the US pub­lic that all of the obstruc­tion by Team’s team is actu­al­ly part of a counter-insur­gency oper­a­tion to depose the Biden coup regime. In oth­er words, 2024 is shap­ing up to be two rival coun­terin­sur­gency cam­paigns. The real one and the oth­er one. Keep­ing the pub­lic guess­ing which is which is more or less Trump’s 2024 strat­e­gy.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 8, 2021, 4:06 pm
  22. We’re get­ting reports that House Demo­c­ra­t­ic con­gres­sion­al inves­ti­ga­tors look­ing into the Jan­u­ary 6 Capi­tol insur­rec­tion are final­ly ready to do some­thing LONG over­due: They’re get­ting ready to send Steve Ban­non to jail over his refusal to respond to a con­gres­sion­al sub­poe­na. Recall how Trump has been open­ly claim­ing exec­u­tive priv­i­leges that would pre­vent Ban­non and oth­er Trump insid­ers from hav­ing to tes­ti­fy, a strat­e­gy he deployed to great effect dur­ing his pres­i­den­cy. Con­gres­sion­al Democ­rats will vote next week on whether to pros­e­cute Ban­non so we’ll find out soon whether or not this legal show­down gets amped up to the next lev­el.

    But as the fol­low­ing col­umn reminds us, it’s impor­tant to keep in mind that this big legal show­down over whether or not fig­ures like Ban­non and Trump can open­ly foment an insur­rec­tion is entire­ly in keep­ing with Ban­non’s long-term goal of implod­ing the US’s civ­il insti­tu­tions. Or, to put it in Ban­non-speak, “decon­struct­ing the admin­is­tra­tive state”.

    It’s also the kind of fight Ban­non wants pre­cise­ly because he has such a good shot of suc­ceed­ing. As the col­umn points out, Ban­non does­n’t have to win any legal bat­tle with con­gress. He just needs to drag it out into 2023, at which point the House will come under con­trol of the Repub­li­cans and the inves­ti­ga­tion will pre­sum­ably be killed. That’s all Ban­non needs to do to win this legal bat­tle. Stall and wait for the GOP insur­rec­tion­ist cav­al­ry to arrive. And it’s hard to think of a more effec­tive demo­c­ra­t­ic death rat­tle than Steve Ban­non win­ning this bat­tle. Which he just might do.

    At the same time, as the col­umn notes, it’s not like Democ­rats have a choice in this. They have to pur­sue Ban­non. There’s no oth­er real option that isn’t a com­plete dis­as­ter for the US democ­ra­cy. This is the sit­u­a­tion the US finds itself in: thanks to the stun­ning weak­ness of US insti­tu­tions in the face of the GOP’s sedi­tion, Steve Ban­non’s endur­ing defi­ance in the face of con­gres­sion­al demands has become a gen­uine exis­ten­tial threat to US democ­ra­cy:

    CNN

    Jan­u­ary 6 com­mit­tee expos­es a dark truth in going after Ban­non

    Analy­sis by Stephen Collinson,

    Updat­ed 8:44 AM ET, Fri Octo­ber 15, 2021

    (CNN)The House select com­mit­tee inves­ti­gat­ing the Capi­tol insur­rec­tion is send­ing an aggres­sive mes­sage to Don­ald Trump’s one­time polit­i­cal guru — and to the for­mer Pres­i­dent him­self.

    But by mov­ing for­ward to hold Steve Ban­non, the archi­tect of Trump’s nation­al­ist pop­ulism, in crim­i­nal con­tempt for refus­ing to com­ply with a sub­poe­na, the pan­el may be pro­vid­ing the mas­ter­mind of Trump’s blow-it-all-up strat­e­gy yet anoth­er plat­form to try to tear down Amer­i­ca’s insti­tu­tions.

    Action that will unfold next week against the ex-Pres­i­den­t’s ide­o­log­i­cal soul mate is intend­ed as a warn­ing sign to those in Trump’s wider orbit. And the chair­man of the Jan­u­ary 6 com­mit­tee, Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep. Ben­nie Thomp­son, warned on CNN that no one is “off lim­its” in terms of being com­pelled to tes­ti­fy — includ­ing Trump him­self.

    The pan­el is deter­mined to use every method pos­si­ble to find the truth about the lead-up to a pro-Trump mob storm­ing the Capi­tol on Jan­u­ary 6. But the com­mit­tee’s efforts may also end up empha­siz­ing a dark truth revealed by Trump’s time in pow­er — and high­light­ing the increas­ing threat for the future, too — as Trump relent­less­ly attacks US demo­c­ra­t­ic insti­tu­tions ahead of a pos­si­ble 2024 White House bid.

    Attempts to hold the for­mer Pres­i­den­t’s inner cir­cle account­able often fall short and end up hav­ing the unin­tend­ed effect of fur­ther politi­ciz­ing the vital insti­tu­tions of gov­ern­ment. This com­mit­tee’s effort will face exact­ly the same kind of obstruc­tion and intran­si­gence as pre­vi­ous inves­ti­ga­tions of the for­mer com­man­der in chief meant to sub­ject him to the checks and bal­ances of the US con­sti­tu­tion­al sys­tem.

    In a wider sense, the com­ing legal duel will also under­line how the con­sti­tu­tion­al promise of over­sight has been con­stant­ly shred­ded by Trump both in and out of pow­er. Ban­non nev­er hid his desire to tear down the rules set by Wash­ing­ton’s estab­lish­ment, so he may rel­ish the chal­lenge and the chance to launch a polit­i­cal cause célèbre.

    If so, he will prove again that once-pow­er­ful fig­ures who resolve to defy nor­mal guardrails of polit­i­cal behav­ior — and in Trump’s case, the rule of law itself — often find they can oper­ate with a degree of impuni­ty. For Trump, for instance, even the his­toric stain of two impeach­ments turned out to be no deter­rent to aber­rant behav­ior and abus­es of pow­er — a real­i­ty that rais­es ques­tions about the Con­sti­tu­tion’s resilience against pres­i­dents with auto­crat­ic ten­den­cies.

    At the very least, this lat­est clash between Trump and the norms that have long gov­erned US polit­i­cal life under­scores how des­per­ate the ex-Pres­i­dent is, for what­ev­er rea­son, to con­ceal what real­ly hap­pened on Jan­u­ary 6. And while he is try­ing to obscure the truth about what hap­pened in the last elec­tion, his con­duct is offer­ing a fore­bod­ing pre­view of how he might act in a sec­ond term, if he were to win the 2024 elec­tion.

    The Demo­c­ra­t­ic-led pan­el wants to find out what Ban­non and oth­ers around Trump were telling him before he incit­ed a mob to invade the Capi­tol on the basis of his elec­tion fraud lies. There is no sug­ges­tion at this point that Ban­non com­mit­ted a crime. But his claim that his report­ed con­tacts with Trump ear­li­er this year are cov­ered by exec­u­tive priv­i­lege — which allows a pres­i­dent to receive con­fi­den­tial advice from sub­or­di­nates — is seen by many legal schol­ars as spu­ri­ous since Ban­non, fired as a White House advis­er in 2017, had no gov­ern­ment job under Trump at the time. The tac­tic, there­fore, comes across as an attempt to obstruct a legal­ly con­sti­tut­ed con­gres­sion­al probe into one of the worst attacks on democ­ra­cy in US his­to­ry.

    Trump has shred­ded account­abil­i­ty

    As an exam­ple of how Trump will try to politi­cize the lat­est twist in the Jan­u­ary 6 sto­ry, the ex-Pres­i­dent put out a state­ment on Thurs­day demand­ing that the “Un-Select com­mi­tee” should “hold them­selves in crim­i­nal con­tempt for cheat­ing in the elec­tion” and accused pros­e­cu­tors of try­ing to destroy half the coun­try. He added, “The peo­ple are not going to stand for it.” So more than six months on, the ex-Pres­i­dent is using new attempts to hold him to account as an oppor­tu­ni­ty for fur­ther incite­ment.

    Through­out Trump’s term, the White House resist­ed Con­gress’ over­sight role and requests for doc­u­ments and tes­ti­mo­ny at almost every turn. In the past, some admin­is­tra­tions and polit­i­cal lead­ers have often sought to reach accom­mo­da­tions with inves­ti­ga­tions like the Jan­u­ary 6 com­mit­tee — one rea­son why crim­i­nal refer­rals have been com­par­a­tive­ly rare in recent times. But that’s hard­ly Trump’s style. He showed as a busi­ness­man and celebri­ty even before enter­ing pol­i­tics that he would push con­ven­tion and the rule of law to a break­ing point.

    “What we have seen in the past few years is just com­plete thumb­ing of the nose at Con­gress’ sub­poe­na pow­er,” said Kim Wehle, a pro­fes­sor at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Bal­ti­more School of Law, on CNN’s “News­room” on Thurs­day.

    As well as being an echo of the excess­es of the pre­vi­ous admin­is­tra­tion, the fact that Ban­non is going along with what appears to be a weak exec­u­tive priv­i­lege argu­ment made by Trump’s lawyers con­tains a warn­ing for the future about even more auto­crat­ic behav­ior if the for­mer Pres­i­dent is able to get behind the Oval Office desk again.

    Which is why the Jan­u­ary 6 com­mit­tee does­n’t have much time to act. What is like­ly to be a pro­longed and pos­si­bly incon­clu­sive legal bat­tle with Ban­non could stretch right up until the midterm elec­tions, when a pos­si­ble new GOP House major­i­ty in Jan­u­ary 2023 could just shut down the inves­ti­ga­tion before it has the chance to ink an offi­cial record for his­to­ry on the out­rage of Jan­u­ary 6. As such, Ban­non’s strat­e­gy looks a lot like an attempt to run out the clock.

    A case against Ban­non could take ‘years’

    The House select com­mit­tee is due to meet on Tues­day evening to begin the process of mak­ing the refer­ral, which will require a full House vote. It then goes to the US attor­ney for the Dis­trict of Colum­bia to con­sid­er next steps. Giv­en the deeply polit­i­cal nature of the case, it will almost cer­tain­ly fall to US Attor­ney Gen­er­al Mer­rick Gar­land to decide whether to pur­sue a crim­i­nal case against Ban­non.

    Stan­ley Brand, a for­mer gen­er­al coun­sel to the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, said on CNN’s “News­room” on Thurs­day that the process ahead was strewn with obsta­cles and was not guar­an­teed to pro­duce the result the com­mit­tee is hop­ing for.

    “The his­to­ry of this is not all that easy for the Con­gress,” said Brand, who was gen­er­al coun­sel for the House in 1983, the last time that it referred a crim­i­nal con­tempt case to the Jus­tice Depart­ment.

    “And while they can, in a sense, huff and puff, until they get a con­vic­tion and a final judg­ment, it could be years,” said Brand.

    Thomp­son, the Mis­sis­sip­pi Demo­c­rat who chairs the Jan­u­ary 6 select com­mit­tee, made clear that his pan­el, which includes two Repub­li­cans, is try­ing to make an exam­ple of Ban­non in tak­ing the com­par­a­tive­ly rare step of mak­ing a crim­i­nal refer­ral to the Jus­tice Depart­ment.

    “We think Steve Ban­non has infor­ma­tion that is ger­mane to what hap­pened on Jan­u­ary 6,” Thomp­son told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on “The Sit­u­a­tion Room.”

    “If he refus­es the sub­poe­na like we expect him to con­tin­ue to do, we are left with no oth­er choice than to ask the Jus­tice Depart­ment to lock him up and hold him in con­tempt. Clear­ly, that might send enough of a mes­sage that he will agree to talk to us.”

    Asked whether the com­mit­tee could sub­poe­na Trump, Thomp­son answered: “Nobody is off lim­its.”

    ...

    ———–

    “Jan­u­ary 6 com­mit­tee expos­es a dark truth in going after Ban­non” by Stephen Collinson; CNN; 10/15/2021

    “But by mov­ing for­ward to hold Steve Ban­non, the archi­tect of Trump’s nation­al­ist pop­ulism, in crim­i­nal con­tempt for refus­ing to com­ply with a sub­poe­na, the pan­el may be pro­vid­ing the mas­ter­mind of Trump’s blow-it-all-up strat­e­gy yet anoth­er plat­form to try to tear down Amer­i­ca’s insti­tu­tions.”

    It’s the implic­it dan­ger of try­ing to hold a democ­ra­cy togeth­er: when a large or pow­er­ful enough group of soci­ety wants to blow it all up, it’s hard to stop them. Democ­ra­cy and civ­il soci­ety real­ly is a group effort. And con­gres­sion­al Democ­rats inves­ti­gat­ing the Capi­tol insur­rec­tion are now faced with the task of sub­poe­naing the lead­ers of the “blow it all up” move­ment. Lead­ers with a track record of suc­cess in obstruct­ing the US’s gov­ern­ing insti­tu­tions. That’s the dark truth that risks being revealed by this lat­est attempt to hold Steve Ban­non account­able: it risks reveal­ing how Ban­non, and Trump, real­ly have been effec­tive­ly oper­at­ing above the law. The dark truth is that Amer­i­ca’s insti­tu­tions lack the capac­i­ty to address a ris­ing fas­cist anti-demo­c­ra­t­ic move­ment. Steve Ban­non’s and Don­ald Trump’s impuni­ty is all the evi­dence we need of that dark truth:

    ...
    The pan­el is deter­mined to use every method pos­si­ble to find the truth about the lead-up to a pro-Trump mob storm­ing the Capi­tol on Jan­u­ary 6. But the com­mit­tee’s efforts may also end up empha­siz­ing a dark truth revealed by Trump’s time in pow­er — and high­light­ing the increas­ing threat for the future, too — as Trump relent­less­ly attacks US demo­c­ra­t­ic insti­tu­tions ahead of a pos­si­ble 2024 White House bid.

    Attempts to hold the for­mer Pres­i­den­t’s inner cir­cle account­able often fall short and end up hav­ing the unin­tend­ed effect of fur­ther politi­ciz­ing the vital insti­tu­tions of gov­ern­ment. This com­mit­tee’s effort will face exact­ly the same kind of obstruc­tion and intran­si­gence as pre­vi­ous inves­ti­ga­tions of the for­mer com­man­der in chief meant to sub­ject him to the checks and bal­ances of the US con­sti­tu­tion­al sys­tem.

    In a wider sense, the com­ing legal duel will also under­line how the con­sti­tu­tion­al promise of over­sight has been con­stant­ly shred­ded by Trump both in and out of pow­er. Ban­non nev­er hid his desire to tear down the rules set by Wash­ing­ton’s estab­lish­ment, so he may rel­ish the chal­lenge and the chance to launch a polit­i­cal cause célèbre.

    If so, he will prove again that once-pow­er­ful fig­ures who resolve to defy nor­mal guardrails of polit­i­cal behav­ior — and in Trump’s case, the rule of law itself — often find they can oper­ate with a degree of impuni­ty. For Trump, for instance, even the his­toric stain of two impeach­ments turned out to be no deter­rent to aber­rant behav­ior and abus­es of pow­er — a real­i­ty that rais­es ques­tions about the Con­sti­tu­tion’s resilience against pres­i­dents with auto­crat­ic ten­den­cies.
    ...

    And yet, as the piece notes, the con­gres­sion­al inves­ti­ga­tors don’t have a choice. They have to pur­sue Ban­non, know­ing full well he might get away with defy­ing a con­gres­sion­al sub­poe­na again. And yet there’s noth­ing that guar­an­tees Ban­non won’t suc­cess­ful­ly drag the sub­poe­na fight into 2023, when Repub­li­cans are expect­ed to retake con­trol of the House, when House Repub­li­cans will pre­sum­ably kill the inves­ti­ga­tion, at which point Trump, Ban­non, and the rest of the insur­rec­tion­ist lead­ers will have got­ten away with all of it. That’s why this whole Ban­non pros­e­cu­tion sit­u­a­tion has the feel of being a kind of demo­c­ra­t­ic death-rat­tle: Either Ban­non goes to jail, or democ­ra­cy falls. And Ban­non’s prob­a­bly not going to jail:

    ...
    As well as being an echo of the excess­es of the pre­vi­ous admin­is­tra­tion, the fact that Ban­non is going along with what appears to be a weak exec­u­tive priv­i­lege argu­ment made by Trump’s lawyers con­tains a warn­ing for the future about even more auto­crat­ic behav­ior if the for­mer Pres­i­dent is able to get behind the Oval Office desk again.

    Which is why the Jan­u­ary 6 com­mit­tee does­n’t have much time to act. What is like­ly to be a pro­longed and pos­si­bly incon­clu­sive legal bat­tle with Ban­non could stretch right up until the midterm elec­tions, when a pos­si­ble new GOP House major­i­ty in Jan­u­ary 2023 could just shut down the inves­ti­ga­tion before it has the chance to ink an offi­cial record for his­to­ry on the out­rage of Jan­u­ary 6. As such, Ban­non’s strat­e­gy looks a lot like an attempt to run out the clock.

    A case against Ban­non could take ‘years’

    The House select com­mit­tee is due to meet on Tues­day evening to begin the process of mak­ing the refer­ral, which will require a full House vote. It then goes to the US attor­ney for the Dis­trict of Colum­bia to con­sid­er next steps. Giv­en the deeply polit­i­cal nature of the case, it will almost cer­tain­ly fall to US Attor­ney Gen­er­al Mer­rick Gar­land to decide whether to pur­sue a crim­i­nal case against Ban­non.
    ...

    And that prospect of Ban­non get­ting away with defy­ing con­gress by stalling until 2023, at which point House Repub­li­cans let him off the hook, rais­es anoth­er intrigu­ing ques­tion in all this: will Steve Ban­non’s legal per­il, and the prospect of a GOP House vic­to­ry in 2023 reliev­ing him of that per­il, end up becom­ing a nation­al issue in the 2022 mid-terms?

    Could that kind of polit­i­cal dynam­ic emerge? Ban­non’s legal fate? Because if you had to come up with a sin­gle case that dis­tilled, for both par­ties, the stakes involved with the Capi­tol insur­rec­tion inves­ti­ga­tion, it’s Steve Ban­non’s legal show­down. It’s not like Ban­non is an obscure fig­ure in Amer­i­can life. The guy is a known enti­ty and when US vot­ers cast a vote in those 2022 House races, they are going to be effec­tive­ly decid­ing whether or not Steve Ban­non gets to avoid any account­abil­i­ty. And it’s hard to imag­ine the insur­rec­tion isn’t going to be an issue in those House races. It’s not a stretch to imag­ine Steve Ban­non’s legal bat­tle becom­ing an issue too if which par­ty con­trols the House in 2023 ulti­mate­ly deter­mines whether or not he’s pros­e­cut­ed.

    Will Repub­li­can House can­di­dates be forced to answer ques­tions on whether or not they would vote to drop the insur­rec­tion inves­ti­ga­tion and whether or not Ban­non should be forced to tes­ti­fy? We’ll see, but the odds of that kind of sce­nario com­ing to fruition are going to be a lot if we see more reports like the fol­low­ing: The GOP can­di­date for gov­er­nor of Vir­ginia, Glenn Youngkin, was just forced to dis­tance him­self from a fund-rais­ing ral­ly held in his name this week. Youngkin him­self was­n’t at the ral­ly, which was head­lined by none oth­er than Don­ald Trump and Steve Ban­non. So why was Youngkin forced to dis­tance him­self from his own fund-rais­ing event? No, it was­n’t Trump’s speech at the event decry­ing the elec­tion was stolen that Youngkin dis­tanced him­self from, even though Youngkin him­self has said he does­n’t think the 2020 elec­tion was stolen from Trump. It was the fact that they start­ed the event with a pledge of allegien­ce to a US flag that was car­ried at the Jan­u­ary 6 “Stop the Steal” ral­ly that Youngkin had to dis­tance him­self from.

    Yes, Trump and Ban­non just head­lined a fundrais­ing ral­ly where they brought out a US flag that was at the Jan 6 “Stop the Steal” ral­ly that devolved into the insur­rec­tion and specif­i­cal­ly pledged alle­giance to that flag. That’s what Glenn Youngkin just had to back away from. That whole scene.

    So if we keep see­ing scenes like that, all the while Ban­non is out there defy­ing con­gres­sion­al sub­poe­nas, we have to ask what the odds are of Steve Ban­non’s legal bat­tle becom­ing a nation­al­ized issue. After all, Trump and Ban­non them­selves are the ones nation­al­iz­ing it:

    WUSA9

    GOP can­di­date Glenn Youngkin dis­avows polit­i­cal vio­lence after sup­port­ers pledge alle­giance to insur­rec­tion flag
    At a Wednes­day ral­ly near Rich­mond, Youngkin sup­port­ers pledged alle­giance to a flag they said flew on Jan­u­ary 6.

    Author: Bruce Leshan
    Pub­lished: 5:51 PM EDT Octo­ber 14, 2021
    Updat­ed: 9:25 PM EDT Octo­ber 14, 2021

    WARRENTON, Va. — Repub­li­can Glenn Youngkin is dis­avow­ing polit­i­cal vio­lence and an insur­rec­tion flag a day after some of his sup­port­ers in the Vir­ginia gov­er­nor’s race pledged alle­giance to a ban­ner that alleged­ly flew over the Jan­u­ary 6 riot.

    Under ques­tion­ing by reporters, Youngkin dis­tanced him­self from a con­tro­ver­sial gath­er­ing Wednes­day night head­lined by Steve Ban­non and for­mer Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump.

    Youngkin was­n’t at the sub­ur­ban Rich­mond meet­ing, but it was designed to ener­gize his sup­port­ers and “Take Back Vir­ginia.” For­mer Pres­i­dent Trump’s Vir­ginia cam­paign direc­tor led the pledge to a flag that alleged­ly flew at the insur­rec­tion.

    “I also want to invite Kim from Chesa­peake. She’s car­ry­ing an Amer­i­can flag that was car­ried at the peace­ful ral­ly with Don­ald Trump on Jan­u­ary 6,” orga­niz­er Martha Bone­ta told the crowd at the event Wednes­day in Hen­ri­co Coun­ty.

    At Thurs­day’s Youngkin-orga­nized event in War­ren­ton, the can­di­date ini­tial­ly put off reporters. “This is our Amer­i­can flag, and this is the flag we should always pledge alle­giance to,” he said, turn­ing his head toward an Amer­i­can flag on the podi­um.

    But pressed lat­er about pledg­ing alle­giance to an insur­rec­tion flag, he said, “I was­n’t there, so I don’t know, but if that’s the case, we should­n’t pledge alle­giance to that. And oh, by the way, I’ve been so clear there is no place for vio­lence, none, none, in Amer­i­ca today,” Youngkin said.

    Some of Youngk­in’s strongest sup­port­ers con­tin­ue to deny the facts.

    “Jan­u­ary 6... I real­ly believe it was all planned out by some of these left­ist folks,” said Karl Nichols of Fredricks­burg after lis­ten­ing to Youngkin. “I think we’ll nev­er know what hap­pened on Jan­u­ary 6. There was well-known Antifa,” said two oth­er Fauquier Coun­ty moms who declined to give their names, refer­ring to a con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry that left-wing anti-fas­cist activists were some­how behind the inva­sion of Con­gress.

    ...

    Youngkin said he was hap­py Trump called him, “a great gen­tle­man,” but declined to say if he would wel­come the for­mer pres­i­dent to cam­paign for him in the clos­ing days of the elec­tion. Glenn Youngkin will be cam­paign­ing for Glenn Youngkin, he said.

    ———–

    “GOP can­di­date Glenn Youngkin dis­avows polit­i­cal vio­lence after sup­port­ers pledge alle­giance to insur­rec­tion flag” by Bruce Leshan; WUSA9; 10/14/2021

    ““I also want to invite Kim from Chesa­peake. She’s car­ry­ing an Amer­i­can flag that was car­ried at the peace­ful ral­ly with Don­ald Trump on Jan­u­ary 6,” orga­niz­er Martha Bone­ta told the crowd at the event Wednes­day in Hen­ri­co Coun­ty.”

    There’s Amer­i­can flags and then there’s the real Amer­i­can flag. That was the unmis­tak­able mes­sage from that ral­ly. Trump and Ban­non rep­re­sent the real US gov­ern­ment. Unless you’re pledg­ing alle­giance to that flag, you’re pledg­ing alle­giance to the fake US gov­ern­ment that stole the elec­tion from Trump. A fake gov­ern­ment that’s cur­rent­ly per­se­cut­ing poor patri­ot Steve Ban­non.

    As we saw, Youngkin him­self was­n’t exact­ly keen on embrac­ing this mes­sage. But he’s also run­ning in a rel­a­tive­ly ‘Blue’ state. That’s not going to be the case for most Repub­li­cans run­ning in 2022. If any­thing, embrac­ing Ban­non’s legal cause will be one of those things that GOP­ers use to dis­tin­guish them­selves and win pri­maries. Espe­cial­ly if Ban­non and Trump are both barn­storm­ing the nation and head­lin­ing events that put the ‘stolen elec­tion’ at the cen­ter of the GOP’s mes­sage.

    That’s all part of the polit­i­cal cal­cu­lus that House Democ­rats have to be think­ing about as they’re plan­ning on how to vote next week on whether or not to pros­e­cute Ban­non over his sub­poe­na defi­ance. Ban­non has effec­tive­ly forced them into this sit­u­a­tion. They can’t ignore his defi­ance. But they also can’t assume they’re going to suc­ceed, espe­cial­ly if the pow­er to pun­ish Ban­non ulti­mate falls on the shoul­ders of Attor­ney Gen­er­al Gar­land.

    All in all, you have to give cred­it where cred­it is due: Steve Ban­non has man­aged to cre­ate a sit­u­a­tion where his own legal fate in a case involv­ing his attempt­ed over­throw of the US gov­ern­ment could deter­mine whether or not the US gov­ern­ment has the insti­tu­tion­al capac­i­ty to with­stand future coup attempts. And there’s a very good chance he’ll win this case. It goes to show that you don’t need to actu­al­ly be in pow­er in order to “decon­struct the admin­is­tra­tive state”. You just need to show that those in pow­er don’t actu­al­ly have real pow­er in the face of your defi­ance and the admin­is­tra­tive state will just kind of whith­er away on its own at that point.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 15, 2021, 4:50 pm
  23. It’s worse than we thought. That’s the take­away mes­sage from a new Wash­ing­ton Post report on the actions by con­ser­v­a­tive attor­ney John East­man in the lead up to the Jan­u­ary 6 Cap­i­tal insur­rec­tion. But not just the lead up to the insur­rec­tion. After the insur­rec­tion too. Yes, East­man was report­ed­ly encour­ag­ing Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence to con­tin­ue with the scheme of block­ing the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of Elec­toral Col­lege vote after the insur­rec­tion took place and con­gress recon­vened to com­plete the process. What was the basis for East­man’s post-insur­rec­tion Plan B? Well, the delay imposed by the insur­rec­tion on the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion process caused the whole process to extend past the time lim­it laid out in the Elec­toral Count Act, and there­fore Pence had a basis to halt the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion. Yep, the insur­rec­tion itself because the new excuse to halt the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion on the evening of Jan­u­ary 6.

    That’s how bad faith an actor John East­man has been in all of this. Recall how we’ve already seen reports on East­man advis­ing Pence car­ry out these schemes as a sur­prise move with­out any warn­ing. Also recall how East­man was part of the team occu­py­ing the “War room” at the Willard hotel in the days around Jan­u­ary 6, along with Rudy Giu­liani and Steve Ban­non. He was a cen­tral fig­ure in this sto­ry.

    And now we just learned a lot more about what exact­ly East­man was propos­ing to Mike Pence’s team dur­ing this peri­od. Pro­pos­als that includ­ed mul­ti­ple schemes of dif­fer­ing sever­i­ty. Some schemes revolved around block­ing the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of some state elec­toral col­lege votes for fur­ther inves­ti­ga­tion of fraud claims. But the most extreme pro­pos­al involved Pence just out­right throw­ing out the votes of con­test­ed states, imme­di­ate­ly hand­ing the win to Trump. And we are told it was this scheme that East­man first pushed dur­ing a Jan­u­ary 5 strat­e­gy meet­ing at the Willard. That’s how extreme this plan was.

    But per­haps the worst exam­ple of East­man’s bad faith is the fact that he was appar­ent­ly forced to con­cede by the end of the Jan­u­ary 5 meet­ing that the idea of hav­ing Pence just out­right throw out states had no basis in the con­sti­tu­tion. But dur­ing phone calls lat­er on Jan 5, after he was forced to con­cede the idea of Pence block­ing the vote was a bad idea, East­man was still propos­ing that Pence throw the votes back to the states. And he appar­ent­ly jus­ti­fied this idea based on the idea that the courts would invoke “the polit­i­cal ques­tion doc­trine” and not inter­vene. In oth­er words, East­man’s plan was to cre­ate a con­sti­tu­tion­al cri­sis so huge the courts would be too scared to inter­vene. It was a gen­uine­ly dia­bol­i­cal plan pro­posed with the worst kind bad faith.

    And as we’ll see, when the insur­rec­tion final­ly tran­spires, East­man has the gall to send Pence’s aide Greg Jacob, “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.” He actu­al­ly said that.

    Oh, and we have to point out that this is the same John East­man who was pub­licly denounc­ing these schemes and dis­tanc­ing him­self from them in an inter­view with the Nation­al Review last week, but who was then caught on tape back­ing up and jus­ti­fy­ing the schemes at a con­ser­v­a­tive event when ques­tions by some­one pre­tend­ing to be a sup­port­er just a few days lat­er. The guy thrives on bad faith. So as this over­all Cap­i­tal insur­rec­tion inves­ti­ga­tion con­tin­ues to play out, it’s look­ing like the open bad faith of John East­man is set to become a big­ger and big­ger issue. Because while it still looks like the insur­rec­tion was part of the a long-term strat­e­gy laid out by the GOP’s fas­cists strate­gists like Steve Ban­non, it’s look­ing more and more like the John East­man has emerged as the GOP’s mas­ter mer­ce­nary legal tac­ti­cian. An absolute­ly unre­pen­tant mer­ce­nary legal tac­ti­cian who is ready and will­ing to con­tin­ue act­ing is pro­found bad faith:

    The Wash­ing­ton Post

    Dur­ing Jan. 6 riot, Trump attor­ney told Pence team the vice president’s inac­tion caused attack on Capi­tol

    By Josh Dawsey, Jacque­line Ale­many, Jon Swaine and Emma Brown

    10/29/2021 at 10:26 p.m. EDT

    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.

    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.”

    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.

    East­man said the email say­ing Pence’s inac­tion led to the vio­lence was a response to an email in which Jacob told him that his “bull—-” legal advice was why Pence’s team was “under siege,” and that Jacob had lat­er apol­o­gized.

    A per­son famil­iar with the emails said Jacob apol­o­gized for using pro­fan­i­ty but still main­tained that Eastman’s advice was “snake oil.” That per­son, like sev­er­al oth­ers inter­viewed for this sto­ry, spoke on the con­di­tion of anonymi­ty to dis­cuss pri­vate con­ver­sa­tions.

    ...

    In the days before the attack, East­man was work­ing to sal­vage Trump’s pres­i­den­cy out of a “com­mand cen­ter” in rooms at the Willard hotel near the White House, along­side such top Trump allies as Rudolph W. Giu­liani.

    Jacob wrote in his draft arti­cle that East­man and Giu­liani were part of a “cadre of out­side lawyers” who had “spun a web of lies and dis­in­for­ma­tion” in an attempt to pres­sure Pence to betray his oath of office and the Con­sti­tu­tion.

    Jacob wrote that legal author­i­ties should con­sid­er tak­ing action against the attor­neys.

    “Now that the moment of imme­di­ate cri­sis has passed, the legal pro­fes­sion should dis­pas­sion­ate­ly exam­ine whether the attor­neys involved should be dis­ci­plined for using their cre­den­tials to sell a stream of snake oil to the most pow­er­ful office in the world, wrapped in the guise of a lawyer’s advice,” he wrote in the draft.

    Robert Costel­lo, a lawyer for Giu­liani, said Jacob had a right to his opin­ion. “This is an opin­ion piece, and not sur­pris­ing­ly, he agrees with his own opin­ion,” Costel­lo said.

    A bipar­ti­san group of for­mer gov­ern­ment offi­cials and legal fig­ures, includ­ing two for­mer fed­er­al judges, has asked the Cal­i­for­nia bar asso­ci­a­tion to inves­ti­gate Eastman’s con­duct.

    Eastman’s mem­os gave sev­er­al options for Pence to use the vice president’s cer­e­mo­ni­al role of count­ing elec­toral col­lege votes to halt Trump’s defeat. East­man has argued that the 1887 Elec­toral Count Act is uncon­sti­tu­tion­al, and that the vice pres­i­dent has pow­er under the 12th Amend­ment to decide whether elec­toral votes are valid.

    Under the most dras­tic of the options out­lined in the mem­os, Pence would have reject­ed elec­toral votes for Biden from states where Repub­li­cans were claim­ing fraud, mak­ing Trump the win­ner — a pro­pos­al that East­man has more recent­ly tried to dis­own as a “crazy” sug­ges­tion he did not endorse.

    East­man made the case for Pence to act dur­ing a meet­ing in the Oval Office with Trump, Pence, Jacob and Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short, on the after­noon of Jan. 4, accord­ing to two peo­ple famil­iar with the dis­cus­sions. The meet­ing was report­ed in the media soon after. Pence advis­ers said they had nev­er heard of East­man before Jan­u­ary.

    The meet­ing was called, the peo­ple said, because Trump was frus­trat­ed that Pence was not acced­ing to his demands, and want­ed the vice pres­i­dent to hear argu­ments from East­man, whom he viewed as hav­ing more cred­i­bil­i­ty in legal cir­cles than some of Trump’s oth­er legal advis­ers.

    East­man argued that Pence should at least try the maneu­ver of not cer­ti­fy­ing elec­tors on Jan. 6, because it had nev­er been done before, and so had not been ruled on by the courts, one of the peo­ple famil­iar with the dis­cus­sions said. East­man told The Post he did not recall mak­ing “any such state­ment.”

    East­man said that, in response to a ques­tion from Pence, he said in the meet­ing that it was an “open ques­tion” whether Pence had the abil­i­ty to uni­lat­er­al­ly decide which elec­toral votes to count.

    Dur­ing a lit­tle-noticed radio inter­view that evening, East­man said that although it would be polit­i­cal­ly impos­si­ble for a vice pres­i­dent to cer­ti­fy his “favorite slate of elec­tors” with­out any evi­dence of fraud, the “lev­el of cor­rup­tion” in the 2020 vote could not be allowed to stand.

    “I think that makes the exer­cise of the vice president’s pow­er here very com­pelling,” East­man said.

    In a meet­ing the fol­low­ing day with Short and Jacob at the Eisen­how­er Exec­u­tive Office Build­ing, East­man began by argu­ing that Pence should reject Biden elec­tors, accord­ing to the two peo­ple. He did not share his mem­os out­lin­ing how to stop Biden’s vic­to­ry with Pence’s team at either the Jan. 4 or the Jan. 5 meet­ings, accord­ing to the peo­ple famil­iar with the dis­cus­sions. Eastman’s mem­os were first report­ed in the book “Per­il” by Wash­ing­ton Post reporters Bob Wood­ward and Robert Cos­ta.

    Jacob wrote in his draft arti­cle that a Trump lawyer con­ced­ed to him in a Jan. 5 meet­ing that “not a sin­gle mem­ber of the Supreme Court would sup­port his posi­tion,” that“230 years of his­tor­i­cal prac­tice were firm­ly against it,” and that “no rea­son­able per­son would cre­ate a rule that invest­ed a sin­gle indi­vid­ual with uni­lat­er­al author­i­ty to deter­mine the valid­i­ty of dis­put­ed elec­toral votes for Pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States.”

    The two peo­ple famil­iar with the mat­ter said East­man was the only lawyer in the Jan. 5 meet­ing.

    By the end of the two-hour meet­ing, the peo­ple said, East­man had con­ced­ed that hav­ing Pence reject Biden elec­tors was not a good plan.

    East­man denied to The Post that he made con­ces­sions and said he nev­er advo­cat­ed for Pence to reject the elec­tors out­right. “That is false,” he said. “And dis­tort­ing the con­ver­sa­tion, which depends heav­i­ly on what sce­nario was being dis­cussed.”

    In tele­phone calls lat­er on Jan. 5, East­man pro­posed to Pence advis­ers that he take a less dras­tic option out­lined in the mem­os of “send­ing it back to the states” for the unfound­ed fraud claims to be exam­ined. East­man also sug­gest­ed on sev­er­al occa­sions, accord­ing to the peo­ple with knowl­edge of the meet­ings, that Pence could inter­vene because the courts would invoke “the polit­i­cal ques­tion doc­trine” and not inter­vene.

    “But if the courts stayed out of a stand­off between the Vice Pres­i­dent and Con­gress over the fate of the pres­i­den­cy, then where would the issue be decid­ed? In the streets?” Jacob wrote in his draft op-ed.

    East­man told The Post: “I did not push for elec­tors to be thrown out, but for the dis­putes to be referred to state leg­is­la­tures, as had been request­ed by key leg­is­la­tors in sev­er­al states, for assess­ment of the impact of the acknowl­edged ille­gal­i­ty in the con­duct of the elec­tion.”

    Around 1 p.m. on Jan. 6, as Trump addressed sup­port­ers at a ral­ly near the White House, Pence’s office released a let­ter to Con­gress stat­ing that he would not block the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion. Thou­sands of Trump sup­port­ers marched to the Capi­tol and riot­ed.

    “What the lawyers did not tell the crowd — and to the best of my knowl­edge, nev­er told the pres­i­dent — is that they were push­ing an abstract legal the­o­ry that had over­whelm­ing draw­backs and lim­i­ta­tions,” Jacob wrote in the op ed.

    Jacob wrote that Pence nev­er con­sid­ered a dif­fer­ent course of action.

    After the unrest began on Jan. 6, Jacob sent an email to memo­ri­al­ize his con­ver­sa­tion with East­man from the day before, accord­ing to the two peo­ple with knowl­edge.

    After Pence was escort­ed out of the Sen­ate, Jacob emailed East­man to crit­i­cize the legal advice he had pushed to Pence on stop­ping cer­ti­fi­ca­tion.

    “Thanks to your bull—-, we are now under siege,” Jacob wrote, accord­ing to East­man. East­man, while will­ing to dis­cuss the email, declined to pro­vide a copy to The Post. One of the oth­er peo­ple with knowl­edge of the mat­ter con­firmed the con­tent of Jacob’s email.

    That led to East­man send­ing the email stat­ing that Pence’s deci­sion led to the “siege.”

    The two exchanged fur­ther mes­sages in which Jacob apol­o­gized for his exple­tive, but not his cri­tiques, and East­man said that he had want­ed Pence to post­pone the count to allow states to inves­ti­gate, accord­ing to East­man and the two peo­ple famil­iar with the exchange.

    That evening, East­man told Jacob in anoth­er email that Pence should still not cer­ti­fy the results, accord­ing to East­man and one of the peo­ple famil­iar with the emails. That email from East­man came after the riot­ers had been cleared from the Capi­tol and Pence had returned to the chair to pre­side over the pro­ceed­ings and vowed to con­tin­ue.

    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.”

    East­man, 61, is a vet­er­an con­ser­v­a­tive legal activist who clerked for Supreme Court Jus­tice Clarence Thomas. A long­time mem­ber of the Fed­er­al­ist Soci­ety, he has spent much of his legal career fight­ing same-sex mar­riage.

    He is a senior fel­low at the Clare­mont Insti­tute, a con­ser­v­a­tive think tank based in Upland, Calif., whose lead­ers stri­dent­ly defend­ed East­man from crit­i­cism over his role in Trump’s attempt to over­turn the elec­tion and attacked the media’s cov­er­age of it.

    East­man was sharply crit­i­cized by Democ­rats in August last year for writ­ing an arti­cle for Newsweek that ques­tioned then-Sen. Kamala D. Harris’s eli­gi­bil­i­ty to be vice pres­i­dent on the grounds that her par­ents were not U.S. cit­i­zens when she was born. He said his under­stand­ing was that Trump first noticed him argu­ing against birthright cit­i­zen­ship on Fox News.

    East­man has said that he first made con­tact with lawyers work­ing on Trump’s elec­tion chal­lenges dur­ing the week­end after the elec­tion in Philadel­phia, where he hap­pened to be attend­ing an aca­d­e­m­ic con­fer­ence. The law firm Jones Day had just with­drawn from rep­re­sent­ing Trump and, East­man said in a pod­cast inter­view in June, “some­body had heard I was in town and brought me over to the head­quar­ters.”

    Eastman’s vis­it to Trump’s team was brief, but “long enough to catch covid,” he said on the pod­cast host­ed by David Clements, a for­mer New Mex­i­co State Uni­ver­si­ty pro­fes­sor who is well known in elec­tion-denial cir­cles.

    East­man tes­ti­fied via video about pur­port­ed fraud to Geor­gia state sen­a­tors at a Dec. 3 hear­ing where Giu­liani also spoke. Giu­liani said state leg­is­la­tors were giv­en copies of a paper by East­man that argued they could reject elec­tion results and direct­ly appoint elec­tors.

    Eastman’s sev­en-page paper fea­tured the­o­ries about vot­er fraud pub­lished by the right-wing blog the Gate­way Pun­dit and an anony­mous Twit­ter user named “DuckDiver19,” accord­ing to a copy East­man shared with The Post.

    East­man has said that Trump asked him to draft a brief call­ing for the Supreme Court to allow Trump to inter­vene in a case filed by Texas Attor­ney Gen­er­al Ken Pax­ton ®, which sought to block the elec­toral col­lege votes from four states. East­man sub­mit­ted his brief on Dec. 9 and the high court reject­ed the case two days lat­er.

    ...

    ———

    “Dur­ing Jan. 6 riot, Trump attor­ney told Pence team the vice president’s inac­tion caused attack on Capi­tol” By Josh Dawsey, Jacque­line Ale­many, Jon Swaine and Emma Brown; The Wash­ing­ton Post; 10/29/2021

    “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.”

    Yes, John East­man did­n’t just pro­pose one absurd scheme after anoth­er for Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence to block the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of the elec­toral vote in the lead up to the Jan­u­ary 6 Capi­tol insur­rec­tion. He con­tin­ued push­ing Pence to block the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion after the insur­rec­tion, using the insur­rec­tion’s dis­rup­tion of the whole process as the legal jus­ti­fi­ca­tion! Accord­ing to East­man, the time lim­it for the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of the vote estab­lished in the Elec­toral Count Act was vio­lat­ed by the insur­rec­tion. There­fore Mike Pence had grounds to block the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of the vote. It’s such an amaz­ing­ly bad faith argu­ment:

    ...
    Around 1 p.m. on Jan. 6, as Trump addressed sup­port­ers at a ral­ly near the White House, Pence’s office released a let­ter to Con­gress stat­ing that he would not block the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion. Thou­sands of Trump sup­port­ers marched to the Capi­tol and riot­ed.

    “What the lawyers did not tell the crowd — and to the best of my knowl­edge, nev­er told the pres­i­dent — is that they were push­ing an abstract legal the­o­ry that had over­whelm­ing draw­backs and lim­i­ta­tions,” Jacob wrote in the op ed.

    Jacob wrote that Pence nev­er con­sid­ered a dif­fer­ent course of action.

    ...

    That evening, East­man told Jacob in anoth­er email that Pence should still not cer­ti­fy the results, accord­ing to East­man and one of the peo­ple famil­iar with the emails. That email from East­man came after the riot­ers had been cleared from the Capi­tol and Pence had returned to the chair to pre­side over the pro­ceed­ings and vowed to con­tin­ue.

    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.”

    ...

    It’s a pat­tern of bad faith that’s so per­va­sive in this sto­ry we even find East­man send­ing Pence’s team emails blam­ing their lack of action for the insur­rec­tion as the insur­rec­tion was under­way. As East­man wrote to Jacob, “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” And that was obvi­ous­ly fol­lowed up by East­man’s sug­ges­tion that the insur­rec­tion vio­lat­ed the Elec­toral Count Act thus giv­ing Pence the lee­way he need­ed:

    ...
    “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.

    ...

    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.

    East­man said the email say­ing Pence’s inac­tion led to the vio­lence was a response to an email in which Jacob told him that his “bull—-” legal advice was why Pence’s team was “under siege,” and that Jacob had lat­er apol­o­gized.

    A per­son famil­iar with the emails said Jacob apol­o­gized for using pro­fan­i­ty but still main­tained that Eastman’s advice was “snake oil.” That per­son, like sev­er­al oth­ers inter­viewed for this sto­ry, spoke on the con­di­tion of anonymi­ty to dis­cuss pri­vate con­ver­sa­tions.

    ...

    After the unrest began on Jan. 6, Jacob sent an email to memo­ri­al­ize his con­ver­sa­tion with East­man from the day before, accord­ing to the two peo­ple with knowl­edge.

    After Pence was escort­ed out of the Sen­ate, Jacob emailed East­man to crit­i­cize the legal advice he had pushed to Pence on stop­ping cer­ti­fi­ca­tion.

    “Thanks to your bull—-, we are now under siege,” Jacob wrote, accord­ing to East­man. East­man, while will­ing to dis­cuss the email, declined to pro­vide a copy to The Post. One of the oth­er peo­ple with knowl­edge of the mat­ter con­firmed the con­tent of Jacob’s email.

    That led to East­man send­ing the email stat­ing that Pence’s deci­sion led to the “siege.”

    The two exchanged fur­ther mes­sages in which Jacob apol­o­gized for his exple­tive, but not his cri­tiques, and East­man said that he had want­ed Pence to post­pone the count to allow states to inves­ti­gate, accord­ing to East­man and the two peo­ple famil­iar with the exchange.
    ...

    Even more absurd is that one of East­man’s pro­posed options for Pence was pred­i­cat­ed on the idea tha the Elec­toral Count Act is, itself, uncon­sti­tu­tion­al. But it’s the sug­ges­tion by East­man that Pence just out­right reject votes for con­test­ed states that gives us an idea of just how far they were were will­ing to go in terms of devis­ing legal jus­ti­fi­ca­tions for what they were plan­ning. East­man real­ly was oper­a­tion as a kind of con­sti­tu­tion­al mer­ce­nary. And he ratio­nal­ized it with the obser­va­tion that it’s nev­er been tried before:

    ...
    Eastman’s mem­os gave sev­er­al options for Pence to use the vice president’s cer­e­mo­ni­al role of count­ing elec­toral col­lege votes to halt Trump’s defeat. East­man has argued that the 1887 Elec­toral Count Act is uncon­sti­tu­tion­al, and that the vice pres­i­dent has pow­er under the 12th Amend­ment to decide whether elec­toral votes are valid.

    Under the most dras­tic of the options out­lined in the mem­os, Pence would have reject­ed elec­toral votes for Biden from states where Repub­li­cans were claim­ing fraud, mak­ing Trump the win­ner — a pro­pos­al that East­man has more recent­ly tried to dis­own as a “crazy” sug­ges­tion he did not endorse.

    ...

    East­man argued that Pence should at least try the maneu­ver of not cer­ti­fy­ing elec­tors on Jan. 6, because it had nev­er been done before, and so had not been ruled on by the courts, one of the peo­ple famil­iar with the dis­cus­sions said. East­man told The Post he did not recall mak­ing “any such state­ment.”

    East­man said that, in response to a ques­tion from Pence, he said in the meet­ing that it was an “open ques­tion” whether Pence had the abil­i­ty to uni­lat­er­al­ly decide which elec­toral votes to count.
    ...

    Adding to the bad faith is the report­ing on how East­man was effec­tive­ly start­ed the Jan­u­ary 5 meet­ing propos­ing that Pence take that extreme step of just out­right reject­ing Biden elec­tors. That was appar­ent­ly Plan A on Jan 5. By the end of the meet­ing, he was appar­ent­ly forced to con­cede that the scheme had no con­sti­tu­tion­al basis. Even then, dur­ing this meet­ing East­man appar­ent­ly repeat­ed­ly sug­gest­ed Pence go through with the scheme because the courts would invoke “the polit­i­cal ques­tion doc­trine” and not inter­vene. It was a bad faith scheme rely­ing on bul­ly­ing a judi­cia­ry that is assumed to be oper­at­ing on with a good faith def­er­ence to demo­c­ra­t­ic insti­tu­tions. Which is kind of the worst type of bad faith:

    ...
    In a meet­ing the fol­low­ing day with Short and Jacob at the Eisen­how­er Exec­u­tive Office Build­ing, East­man began by argu­ing that Pence should reject Biden elec­tors, accord­ing to the two peo­ple. He did not share his mem­os out­lin­ing how to stop Biden’s vic­to­ry with Pence’s team at either the Jan. 4 or the Jan. 5 meet­ings, accord­ing to the peo­ple famil­iar with the dis­cus­sions. Eastman’s mem­os were first report­ed in the book “Per­il” by Wash­ing­ton Post reporters Bob Wood­ward and Robert Cos­ta.

    Jacob wrote in his draft arti­cle that a Trump lawyer con­ced­ed to him in a Jan. 5 meet­ing that “not a sin­gle mem­ber of the Supreme Court would sup­port his posi­tion,” that“230 years of his­tor­i­cal prac­tice were firm­ly against it,” and that “no rea­son­able per­son would cre­ate a rule that invest­ed a sin­gle indi­vid­ual with uni­lat­er­al author­i­ty to deter­mine the valid­i­ty of dis­put­ed elec­toral votes for Pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States.”

    The two peo­ple famil­iar with the mat­ter said East­man was the only lawyer in the Jan. 5 meet­ing.

    By the end of the two-hour meet­ing, the peo­ple said, East­man had con­ced­ed that hav­ing Pence reject Biden elec­tors was not a good plan.

    East­man denied to The Post that he made con­ces­sions and said he nev­er advo­cat­ed for Pence to reject the elec­tors out­right. “That is false,” he said. “And dis­tort­ing the con­ver­sa­tion, which depends heav­i­ly on what sce­nario was being dis­cussed.”

    In tele­phone calls lat­er on Jan. 5, East­man pro­posed to Pence advis­ers that he take a less dras­tic option out­lined in the mem­os of “send­ing it back to the states” for the unfound­ed fraud claims to be exam­ined. East­man also sug­gest­ed on sev­er­al occa­sions, accord­ing to the peo­ple with knowl­edge of the meet­ings, that Pence could inter­vene because the courts would invoke “the polit­i­cal ques­tion doc­trine” and not inter­vene.

    “But if the courts stayed out of a stand­off between the Vice Pres­i­dent and Con­gress over the fate of the pres­i­den­cy, then where would the issue be decid­ed? In the streets?” Jacob wrote in his draft op-ed.

    East­man told The Post: “I did not push for elec­tors to be thrown out, but for the dis­putes to be referred to state leg­is­la­tures, as had been request­ed by key leg­is­la­tors in sev­er­al states, for assess­ment of the impact of the acknowl­edged ille­gal­i­ty in the con­duct of the elec­tion.”
    ...

    Last­ly, as an exam­ple of how wild­ly bad faith an actor East­man tru­ly is, just note how his Dec 3 tes­ti­mo­ny to Geor­gia state sen­a­tors mak­ing the case for vot­er fraud relied on the­o­ries from none oth­er than the Gate­way Pun­dit blog and an anony­mous Twit­ter account:

    ...
    East­man tes­ti­fied via video about pur­port­ed fraud to Geor­gia state sen­a­tors at a Dec. 3 hear­ing where Giu­liani also spoke. Giu­liani said state leg­is­la­tors were giv­en copies of a paper by East­man that argued they could reject elec­tion results and direct­ly appoint elec­tors.

    Eastman’s sev­en-page paper fea­tured the­o­ries about vot­er fraud pub­lished by the right-wing blog the Gate­way Pun­dit and an anony­mous Twit­ter user named “DuckDiver19,” accord­ing to a copy East­man shared with The Post.

    East­man has said that Trump asked him to draft a brief call­ing for the Supreme Court to allow Trump to inter­vene in a case filed by Texas Attor­ney Gen­er­al Ken Pax­ton ®, which sought to block the elec­toral col­lege votes from four states. East­man sub­mit­ted his brief on Dec. 9 and the high court reject­ed the case two days lat­er.
    ...

    Final­ly, not Jacob’s rec­om­men­da­tion for East­man’s incred­i­ble bad faith: legal con­se­quences. Will that hap­pen? Prob­a­bly not, but this is good point to recall all of the con­niv­ing East­man was mak­ing around legal prece­dent. He was look­ing for any prece­dent, or lack of prece­dent, he could find to jus­ti­fy his scheme. So what sort of legal prece­dent is being estab­lished by allow­ing East­man to get away with all this?

    ...
    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.”

    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.”

    ...

    In the days before the attack, East­man was work­ing to sal­vage Trump’s pres­i­den­cy out of a “com­mand cen­ter” in rooms at the Willard hotel near the White House, along­side such top Trump allies as Rudolph W. Giu­liani.

    Jacob wrote in his draft arti­cle that East­man and Giu­liani were part of a “cadre of out­side lawyers” who had “spun a web of lies and dis­in­for­ma­tion” in an attempt to pres­sure Pence to betray his oath of office and the Con­sti­tu­tion.

    Jacob wrote that legal author­i­ties should con­sid­er tak­ing action against the attor­neys.

    “Now that the moment of imme­di­ate cri­sis has passed, the legal pro­fes­sion should dis­pas­sion­ate­ly exam­ine whether the attor­neys involved should be dis­ci­plined for using their cre­den­tials to sell a stream of snake oil to the most pow­er­ful office in the world, wrapped in the guise of a lawyer’s advice,” he wrote in the draft.
    ...

    Will John East­man con­tin­ue to be allowed to prac­tice as an attor­ney after all this? Yes. So far. Just as he’s allowed to more or less So far the answer is yes. So it’s going to be worth keep­ing in mind that while we def­i­nite­ly saw an insur­rec­tionary scheme play out, we did­n’t see all of them play out. East­man gave Pence quite a few options, after all. And he’s pre­sum­ably still work­ing on com­ing up with more for 2024. It’s not like any­thing is stop­ping him.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 30, 2021, 4:31 pm
  24. Are polit­i­cal hang­ings going to be part of the Trump 2024 reelec­tion cam­paign plat­form? Maybe, accord­ing to new­ly released audio of a 90 minute inter­view of Don­ald Trump. At least that’s what we can rea­son­ably infer from the answer Trump gave to ques­tions of whether or not Trump was him­self con­cerned about Mike Pence’s safe­ty dur­ing the Jan­u­ary 6 Capi­tol insur­rec­tion. Ini­tial­ly, Trump replay that now, he was not con­cerned because Pence was well-pro­tect­ed.

    But when pressed about hear­ing the chants of peo­ple call­ing for the hang­ing of Mike Pence, Trump’s answer sud­den­ly shift­ed. It was no longer an answer explain­ing why he felt Pence was safe that day and turned into an answer about why those chants for the hang­ing of Pence were actu­al­ly just express­ing com­mon sense. Because it’s com­mon sense that you would be extreme­ly angry at some­one for cer­ti­fy­ing a fraud­u­lent vote. As Trump explic­it­ly says in the answer:

    Because it’s com­mon sense, Jon. It’s com­mon sense that you’re sup­posed to pro­tect. How can you — if you know a vote is fraud­u­lent, right? — how can you pass on a fraud­u­lent vote to Con­gress? How can you do that? And I’m telling you: 50/50, it’s right down the mid­dle for the top con­sti­tu­tion­al schol­ars when I speak to them. Any­body I spoke to — almost all of them at least pret­ty much agree, and some very much agree with me — because he’s pass­ing on a vote that he knows is fraud­u­lent. How can you pass a vote that you know is fraud­u­lent? Now, when I spoke to him, I real­ly talked about all of the fraud­u­lent things that hap­pened dur­ing the elec­tion. I did­n’t talk about the main point, which is the leg­is­la­tures did not approve — five states. The leg­is­la­tures did not approve all of those changes that made the dif­fer­ence between a very easy win for me in the states, or a loss that was very close, because the loss­es were all very close.

    And there we have it: Trump agrees to this day with the Hang Mike Pence chants of Jan­u­ary 6. Because want­i­ng to hang Mike Pence for cer­ti­fy­ing the elec­toral col­lege vote that he knew was fraud­u­lent is just com­mon sense. He could­n’t be more explic­it:

    Axios

    Exclu­sive audio: Trump defends threats to “hang” Pence

    Mike Allen
    11/12/2021

    For­mer Pres­i­dent Trump — in a taped inter­view with Jonathan Karl of ABC News that was shared with Axios — defend­ed, quite exten­sive­ly, sup­port­ers who threat­ened to “hang” for­mer Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence.

    Why it mat­ters: Well, it is unprece­dent­ed for a for­mer pres­i­dent to open­ly say it was OK to threat­en the life of his vice pres­i­dent.

    * Oh, the two men are on track to run against each oth­er for the GOP nom­i­na­tion in 2024.

    Zoom out: This is a slice of a 90-minute inter­view — con­duct­ed at Mar-a-Lago on March 18 — for Kar­l’s book, “Betray­al,” out on Tues­day.

    ...

    Go deep­er: We will let the Q&A tell the sto­ry.

    Jonathan Karl: “Were you wor­ried about him dur­ing that siege? Were you wor­ried about his safe­ty?”

    Trump: “No, I thought he was well-pro­tect­ed, and I had heard that he was in good shape. No. Because I had heard he was in very good shape. But, but, no, I think — ”

    Karl: “Because you heard those chants — that was ter­ri­ble. I mean — ”

    Trump: “He could have — well, the peo­ple were very angry.”

    Karl: “They were say­ing ‘hang Mike Pence.’ ”

    Trump:Because it’s com­mon sense, Jon. It’s com­mon sense that you’re sup­posed to pro­tect. How can you — if you know a vote is fraud­u­lent, right? — how can you pass on a fraud­u­lent vote to Con­gress? How can you do that? And I’m telling you: 50/50, it’s right down the mid­dle for the top con­sti­tu­tion­al schol­ars when I speak to them. Any­body I spoke to — almost all of them at least pret­ty much agree, and some very much agree with me — because he’s pass­ing on a vote that he knows is fraud­u­lent. How can you pass a vote that you know is fraud­u­lent? Now, when I spoke to him, I real­ly talked about all of the fraud­u­lent things that hap­pened dur­ing the elec­tion. I did­n’t talk about the main point, which is the leg­is­la­tures did not approve — five states. The leg­is­la­tures did not approve all of those changes that made the dif­fer­ence between a very easy win for me in the states, or a loss that was very close, because the loss­es were all very close.”

    ———–

    “Exclu­sive audio: Trump defends threats to “hang” Pence” by Mike Allen; Axios; 11/12/2021

    So that gives us an update on the odds of Mike Pence rejoin­ing Trump on a 2024 tick­et. Trump/Bannon 2024? Maybe, but in oth­er news, Steve Ban­non was charged with crim­i­nal con­tempt by the Jus­tice Depart­ment today for his refusal to com­ply with a con­gres­sion­al sub­poe­na over the Jan­u­ary 6 insur­rec­tion inves­ti­ga­tion. What sort of treat­ment will the guy who is cur­rent­ly mas­ter­mind­ing Trump’s 2024 coup attempt ulti­mate­ly receive from the US jus­tice sys­tem? We’ll see, but if he should some­how end up in prison over this there might need to be a Ban­non jail-break pro­vi­sion added to the Trump 2024 plat­form. Which would only be com­mon sense.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 12, 2021, 5:05 pm
  25. A num­ber of ques­tions were raised by the indict­ment of Steve Ban­non over his refusal to sub­mit to a con­gres­sion­al sub­poe­na, but per­haps the most tan­ta­liz­ing imme­di­ate ques­tion is sim­ply how long might Ban­non be sent to jail. And the answer appears to be up to two years. One year for each of the two charges. And that leads to the fol­low up ques­tion of what type of access to the inter­net and his War­Room pod­cast audi­ence will Ban­non be allowed to main­tain while in prison? Will Ban­non poten­tial­ly be broad­cast­ing the War­Room from jail for the next cou­ple of years? It’s a trag­i­cal­ly non-triv­ial ques­tion. Because as we’ve seen, one of Steve Ban­non’s pet projects in recent months has been lead­ing his audi­ence to flood the US elec­tion sys­tem and vol­un­teer for the thou­sands of posi­tions across the US admin­is­ter­ing elec­tions. And that’s the kind of project that’s going to require a sus­tained dri­ve. Tens of thou­sands of Ban­non fol­low­ers are going to have to be moti­vat­ed and kept moti­vat­ed if they’re going to remain com­mit­ted to the project of embed­ding them­selves into the US elec­tions bureau­cra­cy.

    But as the fol­low­ing new Reuters inves­ti­ga­tion also hints at, there’s anoth­er poten­tial angle to this scheme to put Ban­non acolytes in charge of elec­tions: a nation­al intim­i­da­tion cam­paign seem­ing­ly designed to scare exist­ing elec­tions offi­cials into leav­ing their jobs. And it turns out this intim­i­da­tion cam­paign, which con­sists of call­ing up pub­lic offi­cials and leav­ing mes­sages threat­en­ing vio­lence, is appar­ent­ly entire­ly legal and pro­tect­ed free speech. Yep. At least that’s the take by the author­i­ties tasked with fol­low­ing up on these threats. In one case after anoth­er, the threats were deemed to be not spe­cif­ic enough to con­sti­tute ille­gal speech. Which pre­sum­ably means this nation­al intim­i­da­tion cam­paign seem­ing­ly designed to get the US’s work­force of expe­ri­enced elec­tion offi­cials to resign is going to con­tin­ue.

    Of course, Trump’s own endorse­ment of threats to hang Mike Pence as only “com­mon sense” is the ulti­mate fuel gen­er­at­ing these flames, but there’s no deny­ing Ban­non’s role in strate­gi­cal­ly chan­nel­ing those flames.

    As we’re also going to see, while the indi­vid­u­als iden­ti­fied mak­ing these calls who were inter­viewed for the arti­cle all claimed to be act­ing on their own, inves­ti­ga­tors point out that we could be look­ing as a script­ed larg­er inter-state cam­paign that isn’t just a bunch of indi­vid­u­als inde­pen­dent­ly decid­ing to do the same thing.

    So giv­en that Steve Ban­non is quite open about his desire to have his fol­low­ers take of the admin­is­tra­tion of US elec­tion sys­tems, what are the odds that this far right intim­i­da­tion cam­paign isn’t also in part of a Steve Ban­non oper­a­tion? And that’s what the ques­tion of whether or not Steve Ban­non be allowed to broad­cast from prison is kind of a big ques­tion at the moment. Because Ban­non real­ly does appear to be the orga­niz­ing fig­ure at the cen­ter of the nation­al ‘Big Lie’ cam­paign to rad­i­cal­ize the Repub­li­can base into an per­ma­nent insur­rec­tionary fer­vor. And it’s that fer­vor that’s clear­ly dri­ving this intim­i­da­tion cam­paign, whether Ban­non is active­ly steer­ing this or not:

    Reuters

    Reuters unmasks Trump sup­port­ers who ter­ri­fied U.S. elec­tion offi­cials

    Law enforce­ment has tak­en lit­tle action as back­ers of Don­ald Trump aim stark threats at elec­tion offi­cials. Reuters tracked down nine of the harassers. Most were unre­pen­tant.

    By LINDA SO and JASON SZEP

    Filed Nov. 9, 2021, 11 a.m. GMT

    This sto­ry con­tains text, images and audio clips with offen­sive lan­guage.

    In Ari­zona, a stay-at-home dad and part-time Lyft dri­ver told the state’s chief elec­tion offi­cer she would hang for trea­son. In Utah, a youth treat­ment cen­ter staffer warned Colorado’s elec­tion chief that he knew where she lived and watched her as she slept.

    In Ver­mont, a man who says he works in con­struc­tion told work­ers at the state elec­tion office and at Domin­ion Vot­ing Sys­tems that they were about to die.

    “This might be a good time to put a f—— pis­tol in your f—— mouth and pull the trig­ger,” the man shout­ed at Ver­mont offi­cials in a thick New Eng­land accent last Decem­ber. “Your days are f—— num­bered.”

    The three had much in com­mon. All described them­selves as patri­ots fight­ing a con­spir­a­cy that robbed Don­ald Trump of the 2020 elec­tion. They are reg­u­lar con­sumers of far-right web­sites that embrace Trump’s stolen-elec­tion false­hoods. And none have been charged with a crime by the law enforce­ment agen­cies alert­ed to their threats.

    They were among nine peo­ple who told Reuters in inter­views that they made threats or left oth­er hos­tile mes­sages to elec­tion work­ers. In all, they are respon­si­ble for near­ly two dozen harass­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tions to six elec­tion offi­cials in four states. Sev­en made threats explic­it enough to put a rea­son­able per­son in fear of bod­i­ly harm or death, the U.S. fed­er­al stan­dard for crim­i­nal pros­e­cu­tion, accord­ing to four legal experts who reviewed their mes­sages at Reuters’ request.

    These cas­es pro­vide a unique per­spec­tive into how peo­ple with every­day jobs and lives have become rad­i­cal­ized to the point of ter­ror­iz­ing pub­lic offi­cials. They are part of a broad­er cam­paign of fear waged against front­line work­ers of Amer­i­can democ­ra­cy chron­i­cled by Reuters this year. The news orga­ni­za­tion has doc­u­ment­ed near­ly 800 intim­i­dat­ing mes­sages to elec­tion offi­cials in 12 states, includ­ing more than 100 that could war­rant pros­e­cu­tion, accord­ing to legal experts.

    The exam­i­na­tion of the threats also high­lights the paral­y­sis of law enforce­ment in respond­ing to this extra­or­di­nary assault on the nation’s elec­toral machin­ery. After Reuters report­ed the wide­spread intim­i­da­tion in June, the U.S. Depart­ment of Jus­tice launched a task force to inves­ti­gate threats against elec­tion staff and said it would aggres­sive­ly pur­sue such cas­es. But law enforce­ment agen­cies have made almost no arrests and won no con­vic­tions.

    In many cas­es, they didn’t inves­ti­gate. Some mes­sages were too hard to trace, offi­cials said. Oth­er instances were com­pli­cat­ed by America’s patch­work of state laws gov­ern­ing crim­i­nal threats, which pro­vide vary­ing lev­els of pro­tec­tion for free speech and make local offi­cials in some states reluc­tant to pros­e­cute such cas­es. Adding to the con­fu­sion, legal schol­ars say, the U.S. Supreme Court hasn’t for­mu­lat­ed a clear def­i­n­i­tion of a crim­i­nal threat.

    For this report, Reuters set out to iden­ti­fy the peo­ple behind these attacks on elec­tion work­ers and under­stand their moti­va­tions. Reporters sub­mit­ted pub­lic-records requests and inter­viewed dozens of elec­tion offi­cials in 12 states, obtain­ing phone num­bers and email address­es for two dozen of the threat­en­ers.

    Reuters was able to inter­view nine of them. All admit­ted they were behind the threats or oth­er hos­tile mes­sages. Eight did so on the record, iden­ti­fy­ing them­selves by name.

    In the sev­en cas­es that legal schol­ars said could be pros­e­cut­ed, law enforce­ment agen­cies were alert­ed by elec­tion offi­cials to six of them. The peo­ple who made those threats told Reuters they nev­er heard from police.

    All nine harassers inter­viewed by Reuters said they believed they did noth­ing wrong. Just two expressed regret when told their mes­sages had fright­ened offi­cials or caused secu­ri­ty scares. The sev­en oth­ers were unre­pen­tant, with some say­ing the elec­tion work­ers deserved the men­ac­ing mes­sages.

    Ross Miller, a Geor­gia real-estate investor, warned an offi­cial in the Atlanta area that he’d be tarred and feath­ered, hung or face fir­ing squads unless he addressed vot­er fraud. In an inter­view, Miller said he would con­tin­ue to make such calls “until they do some­thing.” He added: “We can’t have anoth­er elec­tion until they fix what hap­pened in the last one.”

    The harassers expressed beliefs sim­i­lar to those voiced by riot­ers who stormed the U.S. Capi­tol on Jan­u­ary 6, try­ing to block Demo­c­rat Joe Biden’s cer­ti­fi­ca­tion as pres­i­dent. Near­ly all of the threat­en­ers saw the coun­try dete­ri­o­rat­ing into a war between good and evil – “patri­ots” against “com­mu­nists.” They echoed extrem­ist ideas pop­u­lar­ized by QAnon, a col­lec­tive of base­less con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries that often cast Trump as a sav­ior fig­ure and Democ­rats as vil­lains. Some said they were prepar­ing for civ­il war. Six were in their 50s or old­er; all but two were men.

    They are part of a nation­al phe­nom­e­non. America’s fed­er­al elec­tions are admin­is­tered by state and local offi­cials. But the threat­en­ers are tar­get­ing work­ers far from home: Sev­en of the nine harassed offi­cials in oth­er states. Some tar­get­ed elec­tion offi­cials in states where Trump lost by sub­stan­tial mar­gins, such as Col­orado – or even Ver­mont, where Biden won by 35 per­cent­age points.

    “These peo­ple firm­ly believe in the ‘Big Lie’ that the for­mer pres­i­dent legit­i­mate­ly won the elec­tion,” said Chris Krebs, who ran the Cyber­se­cu­ri­ty and Infra­struc­ture Secu­ri­ty Agency at the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty. Krebs was fired by Trump last year for declar­ing that the 2020 elec­tion had been con­duct­ed fair­ly. By ter­ror­iz­ing elec­tion offi­cials, he said, they’re effec­tive­ly act­ing as Trump’s “foot sol­diers.”

    ...

    Rep­re­sen­ta­tive John Sar­banes, a Mary­land Demo­c­rat, intro­duced leg­is­la­tion in June to make it a fed­er­al crime to intim­i­date, threat­en or harass an elec­tion work­er. The bill, which has not come up for a vote, fol­lowed a Reuters inves­ti­ga­tion into such threats pub­lished the same month.

    “I think we’re on a dan­ger­ous path,” Sar­banes said last week when told the threats were con­tin­u­ing with lit­tle law enforce­ment inter­ven­tion. “We want there to be some effec­tive and sus­tained push back on this kind of harass­ment.”

    You’re “about to get f—— popped”

    Only one of the nine harassers Reuters inter­viewed wouldn’t reveal his iden­ti­ty: the man threat­en­ing Ver­mont offi­cials. Before reporters start­ed exam­in­ing him, law enforce­ment offi­cials had decid­ed against inves­ti­gat­ing, as many oth­er agen­cies have done in sim­i­lar cas­es nation­wide.

    Late last year, between Nov. 22 and Dec. 1, he left three mes­sages with the sec­re­tary of state’s office from a num­ber that state police deemed “essen­tial­ly untrace­able,” accord­ing to an inter­nal police email obtained through a pub­lic-records request. The man iden­ti­fied him­self as a Ver­mont res­i­dent in one voice­mail.

    Police didn’t pur­sue a case on the grounds that he didn’t threat­en a spe­cif­ic per­son or indi­cate an immi­nent plan to act, accord­ing to emails and pros­e­cu­tion records. State police nev­er spoke with the caller, accord­ing to inter­views with state offi­cials, a law enforce­ment source and a review of inter­nal police emails.

    Reuters did.

    Reporters con­nect­ed with him in Sep­tem­ber on the phone num­ber police called untrace­able. In five con­ver­sa­tions over four days span­ning more than three hours, he acknowl­edged threat­en­ing Ver­mont offi­cials and described his think­ing.

    He soon grew agi­tat­ed, pep­per­ing two Reuters reporters with 137 texts and voice­mails over the past month, threat­en­ing the jour­nal­ists and describ­ing his elec­tion con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries.

    The man tele­phoned the sec­re­tary of state’s office again on Oct. 17 from the same phone num­ber used in the oth­er threats. This time he was more explic­it. Address­ing state staffers and refer­ring to the two jour­nal­ists by name, he said he guar­an­teed that all would soon get “popped.”

    “You guys are a bunch of f—— clowns, and all you dirty c—suckers are about to get f—— popped,” he said. “I f—— guar­an­tee it.”

    The offi­cials referred the voice­mail to state police, who again declined to inves­ti­gate. Agency spokesper­son Adam Sil­ver­man said in a state­ment that the mes­sage didn’t con­sti­tute an “unam­bigu­ous ref­er­ence to gun vio­lence,” adding that the word “popped” – com­mon Amer­i­can slang for “shot” – “is unclear and non­spe­cif­ic, and could be a ref­er­ence to some­one being arrest­ed.”

    Legal experts didn’t see it that way. Fred Schauer, a Uni­ver­si­ty of Vir­ginia law pro­fes­sor, said the mes­sage like­ly con­sti­tut­ed a crim­i­nal threat under fed­er­al law by threat­en­ing gun vio­lence at spe­cif­ic indi­vid­u­als. “There’s cer­tain­ly an intent to put peo­ple in fear,” Schauer said.

    After Reuters asked Ver­mont offi­cials about the Octo­ber threat, the Fed­er­al Bureau of Inves­ti­ga­tion began an inquiry into the mat­ter, accord­ing to two local law enforce­ment offi­cials.

    The FBI declined to con­firm or deny any inves­ti­ga­tion into that threat and oth­ers report­ed in this sto­ry. In a state­ment, the bureau said it takes such acts seri­ous­ly, work­ing with oth­er law enforce­ment agen­cies “to iden­ti­fy and stop any poten­tial threats to pub­lic safe­ty” and “inves­ti­gate any and all fed­er­al vio­la­tions to the fullest.”

    ‘I’m a patri­ot’

    Many of the harassers have been rad­i­cal­ized by a grow­ing uni­verse of far-right web­sites and oth­er sources of dis­in­for­ma­tion about the 2020 elec­tion. Like Trump, they bashed main­stream news out­lets and cast them as com­plic­it in an elab­o­rate scheme to steal the elec­tion.

    Jamie Fialkin of Peo­ria, Ari­zona, talked of a grand con­spir­a­cy of those con­trol­ling the media, the bank­ing sys­tem and social media com­pa­nies. “When you have those three things, you can get away with any­thing – you can tell peo­ple, ‘black is white, white is black,’ and peo­ple go, ‘OK,’” Fialkin said.

    On the sur­face, noth­ing about Fialkin’s biog­ra­phy sug­gests extrem­ism. A for­mer stand-up come­di­an from Brook­lyn, New York, Fialkin said he has a degree in actu­ar­i­al sci­ence, the study of insur­ance data. In 2017, he self-pub­lished a book mar­ket­ed as a “sur­vival guide” for first-time old­er par­ents. The 54-year-old said he spends most days tak­ing care of his two young daugh­ters and dri­ving part-time for Lyft.

    At a 2006 com­e­dy show, he poked fun at his “pro­fes­sion­al bowler” physique, bald­ing head, and inabil­i­ty to play golf. The self-described Ortho­dox Jew also took aim at Pales­tini­ans and described his polit­i­cal views as “a lit­tle more to the right.”

    Fialkin said in an inter­view that he’s no longer in a jok­ing mood.

    He believes Amer­i­ca is head­ed for civ­il war. He endorsed Trump’s false claims that mil­lions of fraud­u­lent votes swung the elec­tion to Biden. He said he’s con­vinced that for­mer Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma, a Demo­c­rat, and pro­gres­sive phil­an­thropist George Soros bought fake bal­lots from Chi­na, anoth­er debunked the­o­ry pro­mot­ed by Trump’s allies.

    Fialkin blamed one per­son in par­tic­u­lar for Trump’s Ari­zona loss: Sec­re­tary of State Katie Hobbs, the state’s top elec­tion offi­cial. On June 3, Fialkin called Hobbs’ office and left a mes­sage say­ing she’d hang “from a f—— tree.”

    “They’re going to hang you for trea­son, you f—— bitch,” Fialkin said.

    Min­utes lat­er, Fialkin left anoth­er voice­mail in which he rec­om­mend­ed a “good slo­gan” for Demo­c­rat Hobbs’ cam­paign for gov­er­nor: “Don’t vote for me, for one rea­son. Back in Decem­ber, I got hung for trea­son.”

    Fialkin said he nev­er intend­ed to harm Hobbs, but was unapolo­getic.

    “I’m not deny­ing any­thing,” he said, “because I’m a patri­ot.”

    Fialkin said he changed his Repub­li­can vot­er reg­is­tra­tion to inde­pen­dent because the par­ty didn’t fight hard enough for Trump.

    “I’m like most Amer­i­cans,” he said. “We’re just wait­ing to see when the civ­il war starts.”

    Fialkin’s mes­sages were part of a bar­rage tar­get­ing Hobbs. Two oth­ers came from Jeff Yea­ger, a 56-year-old self-employed elec­tri­cian from Los Ange­les, Cal­i­for­nia. Yea­ger, too, called for her exe­cu­tion.

    Yea­ger acknowl­edged leav­ing the mes­sages and said he didn’t care if Hobbs felt threat­ened. “If she thinks that I’m a threat to her, I’m not,” he said. “But the pub­lic is going to hang this woman.”

    Yea­ger said he sees the main­stream media as full of dis­in­for­ma­tion; he called Reuters “one of the most evil orga­ni­za­tions on the plan­et.” He said he gets his news from “alter­na­tive web­sites that are not cen­sored,” includ­ing social net­work Gab and Bitchute, a video-shar­ing site known for host­ing far-right fig­ures and con­spir­a­cy the­o­rists.

    “Every­thing we’re being told is a lie,” he said.

    In an inter­view, Hobbs said the threats by Fialkin, Yea­ger and oth­ers have been “emo­tion­al­ly drain­ing” for her and her staff. The mes­sages from Fialkin and Yea­ger were sent to the FBI, her spokesper­son said. Some threats trig­gered a secu­ri­ty detail, Hobbs said.

    Jared Carter, a Cor­nell Uni­ver­si­ty law pro­fes­sor spe­cial­iz­ing in con­sti­tu­tion­al free-speech issues, said the threats by both men could be pros­e­cut­ed under fed­er­al law. “In light of the mul­ti­ple voice­mails from the same per­son, and the over­all tone of the mes­sages, a court could find them to be true threats,” Carter said.

    Elec­tion admin­is­tra­tors such as Hobbs are part of a broad­er array of pub­lic offi­cials tar­get­ed by Trump sup­port­ers. The day before Yea­ger spoke with Reuters in Sep­tem­ber, he said, two FBI agents vis­it­ed him at his Los Ange­les home to dis­cuss threats he made to two nation­al politi­cians: Repub­li­can Sen­a­tor Mitt Rom­ney and Demo­c­ra­t­ic House Speak­er Nan­cy Pelosi, both of whom denounced Trump for incit­ing the Jan­u­ary 6 insur­rec­tion. He said the FBI agents pro­duced tran­scripts of his calls to Pelosi and Rom­ney. Yea­ger said the tran­scripts quot­ed him as say­ing “we will kill you.”

    The agents instruct­ed him how to law­ful­ly express his polit­i­cal views, Yea­ger said, and left with­out arrest­ing him. “I’m not mak­ing any more calls to any­body,” he said. “I may have crossed the line in one sen­tence, but I’m no dan­ger to any­body.”

    ...

    Inspired by Trump

    Oth­ers who threat­ened elec­tion offi­cials told Reuters they were direct­ly inspired by Trump or his promi­nent allies, who have denounced spe­cif­ic elec­tion offices nation­wide for allow­ing vot­er fraud, turn­ing them into tar­gets.

    Eric Pick­ett, a 42-year-old night staffer at a youth treat­ment cen­ter in Utah, said his anger boiled over after watch­ing an Aug. 10 “cyber sym­po­sium” held by pil­low mag­nate Mike Lin­dell, a Trump ally who has pushed false elec­tion con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries.

    Pick­ett said he paid close atten­tion as one of the symposium’s speak­ers, Tina Peters, a Repub­li­can clerk in Colorado’s Mesa Coun­ty, crit­i­cized Col­orado Sec­re­tary of State Jena Gris­wold, a Demo­c­rat. Gris­wold has been lead­ing an inves­ti­ga­tion into Peters over a vot­ing-sys­tem secu­ri­ty breach in Mesa, one of the state’s most con­ser­v­a­tive coun­ties. At the sym­po­sium, Peters, an elec­tion-fraud con­spir­a­cy the­o­rist, claimed Gris­wold “raid­ed” her office to pro­duce false evi­dence and “bul­ly” her.

    None of that was true, accord­ing to state offi­cials. Nonethe­less, Pick­ett snapped. He got on Face­book and sent Gris­wold a mes­sage.

    “You raid­ed an office. You broke the law. STOP USING YOUR TACTICS. STOP NOW. Watch your back. I KNOW WHERE YOU SLEEP, I SEE YOU SLEEPING. BE AFRAID, BE VERRY AFFRAID. I hope you die.”

    A Gris­wold spokesper­son said the August mes­sage was prompt­ly referred to state and fed­er­al law enforce­ment. The threat was report­ed by Reuters in Sep­tem­ber.

    Pick­ett said in an inter­view that he “got wrapped up in the moment.” He was sur­prised Gris­wold found the mes­sage threat­en­ing and expressed regret for caus­ing alarm.

    “I didn’t know they would take it as a threat,” he said. “I was think­ing they would just take it as some­body just trolling them.”

    Col­orado State Patrol, in response to a records request, said they had no inves­tiga­tive reports on the threat. A spokesper­son, Sergeant Troy Kessler, said the State Patrol reviewed all mes­sages it received from Griswold’s office and that no one had been arrest­ed.

    Three legal experts said the mes­sage met the thresh­old of a threat that could be pros­e­cut­ed under fed­er­al law. “The whole pur­pose of the threats doc­trine is to pro­tect peo­ple from not only a prospect of phys­i­cal vio­lence, but the dam­age of liv­ing with a threat hang­ing over you,” said Tim­o­thy Zick, a William & Mary Law School pro­fes­sor.

    ...

    Tarred and feath­ered

    Trump’s stolen-elec­tion claims about Geor­gia, tra­di­tion­al­ly a Repub­li­can strong­hold, have sparked some of the most seri­ous elec­tion threats.

    In a Dec. 10 hear­ing orga­nized by Geor­gia Repub­li­can law­mak­ers, Trump lawyer Rudy Giu­liani played a short snip­pet of sur­veil­lance footage from Atlanta’s State Farm Are­na, which was used as a tab­u­la­tion site. He claimed it showed Ful­ton Coun­ty elec­tion work­ers pulling out suit­cas­es full of fraud­u­lent bal­lots in Biden’s favor. State inves­ti­ga­tors and coun­ty offi­cials have said the “suit­cas­es” were stan­dard bal­lot con­tain­ers and the video shows nor­mal vote-count­ing.

    Ross Miller, the real-estate investor in Forsyth Coun­ty, Geor­gia, saw the video. He left a Dec. 31 voice­mail for Ful­ton Coun­ty Elec­tions Direc­tor Richard Bar­ron, say­ing he “bet­ter run” and that he’ll be tarred and feath­ered and exe­cut­ed unless “ya’ll do some­thing” about vot­er fraud. Bar­ron for­ward­ed the threat to police, accord­ing to a coun­ty email.

    How­ev­er, Ful­ton Coun­ty Police Chief Wade Yates said his agency did not con­tact Miller after con­clud­ing the mes­sage did not con­sti­tute a threat under Geor­gia law.

    In an inter­view, Miller acknowl­edged mak­ing the call.

    “I left the mes­sage because I’m a patri­ot, and I’m sick and tired of what’s going on in this coun­try,” he said. “That’s what hap­pens when you com­mit trea­son: You get hung.”

    Miller, who said he was in his six­ties, said he’s been kicked off Twit­ter sev­en times for his views. He fol­lows “Tore Says,” a pod­cast pop­u­lar with QAnon adher­ents whose host, Terp­si­chore Maras-Lin­de­man, has called for a “rev­o­lu­tion­ary move­ment.”

    “You’ve got to stand up,” said Miller. “You’re either a patri­ot for the free­dom of this coun­try or you’re a com­mu­nist against it.”

    ‘You’re all f—— dead’

    Some Ver­mont offi­cials ques­tioned why the man intim­i­dat­ing state offi­cials wasn’t inves­ti­gat­ed or pros­e­cut­ed, high­light­ing a broad­er nation­al debate over how to respond to post-elec­tion threats. In a pat­tern seen across Amer­i­ca, Ver­mont law enforce­ment offi­cials decid­ed this man’s repeat­ed men­ac­ing mes­sages amount­ed to legal­ly pro­tect­ed free speech.

    The threat­en­er focused on one of the cen­tral con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries pro­mot­ed by Trump and his allies: That offi­cials had rigged vote-count­ing tech­nol­o­gy from Domin­ion Vot­ing Sys­tems to flip mil­lions of votes to Biden.

    “Just let every­body know that their days are f—— num­bered,” he said in a Dec. 1 voice­mail. “There are a lot of peo­ple who are going to be exe­cut­ed.”<

    Around that time, offi­cials at Dominion’s head­quar­ters in Col­orado received three unset­tling voice­mails. “You’re all f—— dead,” said one mes­sage. “We’re going to f—— kill you all.” The caller’s tele­phone num­ber and voice matched those on the Ver­mont threats.

    The threats to Domin­ion were referred to the Den­ver Police Depart­ment and the FBI. Den­ver police failed to iden­ti­fy the caller, a depart­ment spokesper­son said.

    The Ver­mont sec­re­tary of state’s office is locat­ed in a his­toric 19th-cen­tu­ry brick Queen Anne-style house in the cap­i­tal of Mont­pe­lier. The staff helps reg­is­ter vot­ers and admin­is­ter elec­tions in a state with one of America’s low­est rates of vio­lent crime. The voice­mails ter­ri­fied some staffers.

    “I had to try to calm peo­ple down,” Sec­re­tary of State Jim Con­dos said in an inter­view. “We were all on edge.”

    After the Dec. 1 threats, Ver­mont Deputy Sec­re­tary of State Chris Win­ters expressed aston­ish­ment that police wouldn’t pur­sue the caller, accord­ing to emails between sec­re­tary-of-state offi­cials and police obtained through a records’ request.

    “I am try­ing to make sense of this,” Win­ters wrote in an email to Daniel Trudeau, the crim­i­nal divi­sion com­man­der of the Ver­mont State Police. “If some­one makes a veiled threat to come to the Sec­re­tary of State’s office and exe­cute only the guilty ones on the elec­tion team, with­out nam­ing names, they’ve not bro­ken the law?” Win­ters added that he want­ed to know “who we’re deal­ing with.”

    Trudeau replied that he had con­sult­ed with oth­er offi­cers and didn’t see a crime, because the caller did not spec­i­fy that he would come to the sec­re­tary of state’s office and did not say that he per­son­al­ly would exe­cute any­one.

    Vermont’s state police intel­li­gence unit tried but failed to iden­ti­fy the caller. Police exam­ined the num­ber, which bore a Ver­mont area code, but said it was untrace­able, accord­ing to an email between state police offi­cials. The unit’s com­man­der, Shawn Loan, wrote to Trudeau say­ing that the threats could be part of a “larg­er cam­paign” and the calls “may have been script­ed.” He added that the caller used voice-over-inter­net tech­nol­o­gy. Two for­mer FBI agents said such calls can be hard­er to trace than those made from land­lines or cel­lu­lar phones.

    Loan was not imme­di­ate­ly avail­able for com­ment, a spokesper­son said.

    Ver­mont State Police didn’t pur­sue the threat­en­er. Rory Thibault, the state’s attor­ney in Wash­ing­ton Coun­ty, which includes Mont­pe­lier, sup­port­ed Trudeau’s deci­sion in a four-page Dec. 15 memo to state police. The mes­sages were “pro­tect­ed speech,” Thibault wrote, because they were not “direct­ed at a sin­gle per­son or offi­cial.” They were “con­di­tion­al” on a “per­cep­tion of malfea­sance in the elec­tion process,” and the caller didn’t indi­cate he would per­son­al­ly inflict harm, he said.

    Zick, the William & Mary pro­fes­sor, said a threat doesn’t nec­es­sar­i­ly have to sin­gle out a spe­cif­ic indi­vid­ual to be pros­e­cut­ed under fed­er­al law. If some­one calls in a bomb threat to Con­gress rather than to a spe­cif­ic senator’s office, for instance, “that’s still a threat.”

    In an inter­view, Thibault said Ver­mont laws pose unique chal­lenges for pur­su­ing such cas­es because they offer greater pro­tec­tions for indi­vid­ual rights than fed­er­al laws. He added that the threats and the rise of extrem­ist rhetoric are lead­ing to a push for tougher anti-harass­ment laws.

    Ver­mont State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Max­ine Grad said she plans to intro­duce a bill in the Jan­u­ary ses­sion aimed at broad­en­ing pro­tec­tions for peo­ple who have received crim­i­nal threats, such as elec­tion work­ers.

    On Dec. 16, a day after the state’s attor­ney ruled out an inves­ti­ga­tion, the uniden­ti­fied caller taunt­ed Ver­mont elec­tion offi­cials in a new voice­mail. “All the trai­tors will be pun­ished” in the “next few weeks,” he said. “Kill your­self now.”

    This time, the caller used a dif­fer­ent num­ber that appeared to be a pre-paid “burn­er” phone.

    Mont­pe­lier Police Chief Bri­an Peete was con­cerned. “Very dis­turb­ing,” he wrote to state police, secu­ri­ty and sec­re­tary of state offi­cials after review­ing the Dec. 16 threat. “Fits pro­file of some­one who may act.”

    Again, state police declined to inves­ti­gate because the caller didn’t threat­en a spe­cif­ic indi­vid­ual, accord­ing to police emails.

    The phone num­bers used by the caller left few clues about his iden­ti­ty. One reverse phone lookup ser­vice linked his num­ber to Ben­ning­ton, a town of about 15,000 peo­ple in south­west Ver­mont. Den­ver police couldn’t iden­ti­fy the caller, but found “decent infor­ma­tion” link­ing the num­ber to Ben­ning­ton, accord­ing to a Den­ver Police Depart­ment report on the threats to Domin­ion.

    Sur­round­ed by the Green Moun­tains, the Ben­ning­ton area is known for its pic­turesque farm hous­es, a tow­er­ing Rev­o­lu­tion­ary War bat­tle mon­u­ment and blaz­ing autumn foliage. Less known is that the rur­al, most­ly white town and oth­er parts of south­ern Ver­mont have seen a rise in Trump-inspired mili­tia activ­i­ty in recent years, res­i­dents and state offi­cials say.

    In April, the town agreed to pay a $137,500 set­tle­ment to Kiah Mor­ris, the state legislature’s only black female elect­ed offi­cial, who resigned in Sep­tem­ber 2018, fol­low­ing com­plaints that Ben­ning­ton police failed to prop­er­ly inves­ti­gate racial­ly moti­vat­ed harass­ment against her. Mor­ris declined to com­ment for this sto­ry.

    The calls from the still-uniden­ti­fied man threat­en­ing elec­tion offi­cials and reporters were referred to the FBI, accord­ing to police emails.

    Reuters first reached the man on Sept. 17. In a brief inter­view, he ref­er­enced the Domin­ion con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry. Asked for his name, he swore and hung up.

    A week lat­er, the jour­nal­ists con­tact­ed him again on the same num­ber. He admit­ted leav­ing the voice­mails to express his “absolute dis­sat­is­fac­tion” in the elec­tion. In three sub­se­quent phone inter­views on Oct. 6 and 7 that spanned a total of two and a half hours, he opened up about his views.

    The man said he believed thou­sands of fake bal­lots were cast in Ari­zona, repeat­ing debunked claims. He said mem­bers of the media would face tri­bunals and be exe­cut­ed like the Nazi lead­ers who were hung after the Nurem­berg tri­als in the 1940s and that per­pe­tra­tors of elec­tion fraud would be sent to mil­i­tary prison.

    He said he lived “in the woods,” and worked in con­struc­tion. He didn’t own a gun, but said he had “a base­ball bat and a machete.” He shared videos from the far-right web­site Bitchute and said he watched “all kinds of stuff that def­i­nite­ly needs to be inves­ti­gat­ed.”

    Then he turned on the Reuters jour­nal­ists.

    In an Oct. 11 voice­mail, he threat­ened to sue the reporters for obtain­ing his tele­phone num­ber from state records. Over the next 25 days, he texted them 91 times, shar­ing mis­in­for­ma­tion on the ori­gins of the coro­n­avirus and oth­er con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries. On Oct. 17, he left the new voice­mails at the Ver­mont sec­re­tary of state’s office, includ­ing the one threat­en­ing that the reporters and elec­tion staffers would get “popped.”

    The next morn­ing, the caller fol­lowed up with more texts to the jour­nal­ists. “I am going to destroy you and that is a threat.” In mul­ti­ple texts, he said he would “ruin” the life of one of the reporters. On Oct. 30, he left two more voice­mails for them. “You are all going to f—— hang. I’m going to make sure of it,” said one. “Bad s— is gonna to hap­pen to you,” said the oth­er. “Your days are f—— num­bered.”

    He also sent the reporters four mes­sages with the same pic­ture: a grainy black-and-white pho­to­graph of a pub­lic exe­cu­tion that has been shared wide­ly in far-right social media, with a cap­tion claim­ing it showed “mem­bers of the media” hang­ing in “Nurem­berg, Ger­many.” (In fact, the pho­to was tak­en in Kiev, Ukraine, depict­ing Nazi offi­cers being hung for war crimes.)

    The man’s threats and the rise in extrem­ism in Ver­mont and nation­wide since the elec­tion are a con­cern for Peete and his small staff in the Mont­pe­lier Police Depart­ment.

    “It’s some­thing that keeps me and all of us here up at night,” the police chief said.

    ———–

    “Reuters unmasks Trump sup­port­ers who ter­ri­fied U.S. elec­tion offi­cials” by LINDA SO and JASON SZEP; Reuters; 11/09/2021

    “All nine harassers inter­viewed by Reuters said they believed they did noth­ing wrong. Just two expressed regret when told their mes­sages had fright­ened offi­cials or caused secu­ri­ty scares. The sev­en oth­ers were unre­pen­tant, with some say­ing the elec­tion work­ers deserved the men­ac­ing mes­sages.”

    They did noth­ing wrong and will con­tin­ue doing it until they are stopped. That’s the gen­er­al mes­sage from the peo­ple inter­viewed in this report. And based on the answers from the law enforce­ment offi­cials tasked with decid­ing whether or not to pros­e­cute these indi­vid­u­als, the callers were large­ly cor­rect. It real­ly is pro­tect­ed free speech to engage in this kind of sys­tem­at­ic intim­i­da­tion cam­paign. As long as the threats of vio­lence are vague enough to be non-spe­cif­ic, it’s pro­tect­ed. How vague? Well, that’s a mat­ter of inter­pre­ta­tion, with a num­ber of legal experts view­ing these threats indeed pros­e­cutable under fed­er­al law. So we’re look­ing at a nation­al elec­tion work­ing intim­i­da­tion cam­paign that could be pros­e­cut­ed but isn’t for what­ev­er rea­son in state after state:

    ...
    Reuters was able to inter­view nine of them. All admit­ted they were behind the threats or oth­er hos­tile mes­sages. Eight did so on the record, iden­ti­fy­ing them­selves by name.

    In the sev­en cas­es that legal schol­ars said could be pros­e­cut­ed, law enforce­ment agen­cies were alert­ed by elec­tion offi­cials to six of them. The peo­ple who made those threats told Reuters they nev­er heard from police.

    ...

    Ross Miller, a Geor­gia real-estate investor, warned an offi­cial in the Atlanta area that he’d be tarred and feath­ered, hung or face fir­ing squads unless he addressed vot­er fraud. In an inter­view, Miller said he would con­tin­ue to make such calls “until they do some­thing.” He added: “We can’t have anoth­er elec­tion until they fix what hap­pened in the last one.”

    ...

    They are part of a nation­al phe­nom­e­non. America’s fed­er­al elec­tions are admin­is­tered by state and local offi­cials. But the threat­en­ers are tar­get­ing work­ers far from home: Sev­en of the nine harassed offi­cials in oth­er states. Some tar­get­ed elec­tion offi­cials in states where Trump lost by sub­stan­tial mar­gins, such as Col­orado – or even Ver­mont, where Biden won by 35 per­cent­age points.

    ...

    The man tele­phoned the sec­re­tary of state’s office again on Oct. 17 from the same phone num­ber used in the oth­er threats. This time he was more explic­it. Address­ing state staffers and refer­ring to the two jour­nal­ists by name, he said he guar­an­teed that all would soon get “popped.”

    “You guys are a bunch of f—— clowns, and all you dirty c—suckers are about to get f—— popped,” he said. “I f—— guar­an­tee it.”

    The offi­cials referred the voice­mail to state police, who again declined to inves­ti­gate. Agency spokesper­son Adam Sil­ver­man said in a state­ment that the mes­sage didn’t con­sti­tute an “unam­bigu­ous ref­er­ence to gun vio­lence,” adding that the word “popped” – com­mon Amer­i­can slang for “shot” – “is unclear and non­spe­cif­ic, and could be a ref­er­ence to some­one being arrest­ed.”

    Legal experts didn’t see it that way. Fred Schauer, a Uni­ver­si­ty of Vir­ginia law pro­fes­sor, said the mes­sage like­ly con­sti­tut­ed a crim­i­nal threat under fed­er­al law by threat­en­ing gun vio­lence at spe­cif­ic indi­vid­u­als. “There’s cer­tain­ly an intent to put peo­ple in fear,” Schauer said.

    ...

    Fialkin’s mes­sages were part of a bar­rage tar­get­ing Hobbs. Two oth­ers came from Jeff Yea­ger, a 56-year-old self-employed elec­tri­cian from Los Ange­les, Cal­i­for­nia. Yea­ger, too, called for her exe­cu­tion.

    Yea­ger acknowl­edged leav­ing the mes­sages and said he didn’t care if Hobbs felt threat­ened. “If she thinks that I’m a threat to her, I’m not,” he said. “But the pub­lic is going to hang this woman.”

    ...

    Jared Carter, a Cor­nell Uni­ver­si­ty law pro­fes­sor spe­cial­iz­ing in con­sti­tu­tion­al free-speech issues, said the threats by both men could be pros­e­cut­ed under fed­er­al law. “In light of the mul­ti­ple voice­mails from the same per­son, and the over­all tone of the mes­sages, a court could find them to be true threats,” Carter said.

    ...

    A Gris­wold spokesper­son said the August mes­sage was prompt­ly referred to state and fed­er­al law enforce­ment. The threat was report­ed by Reuters in Sep­tem­ber.

    Pick­ett said in an inter­view that he “got wrapped up in the moment.” He was sur­prised Gris­wold found the mes­sage threat­en­ing and expressed regret for caus­ing alarm.

    “I didn’t know they would take it as a threat,” he said. “I was think­ing they would just take it as some­body just trolling them.”

    Col­orado State Patrol, in response to a records request, said they had no inves­tiga­tive reports on the threat. A spokesper­son, Sergeant Troy Kessler, said the State Patrol reviewed all mes­sages it received from Griswold’s office and that no one had been arrest­ed.

    Three legal experts said the mes­sage met the thresh­old of a threat that could be pros­e­cut­ed under fed­er­al law. “The whole pur­pose of the threats doc­trine is to pro­tect peo­ple from not only a prospect of phys­i­cal vio­lence, but the dam­age of liv­ing with a threat hang­ing over you,” said Tim­o­thy Zick, a William & Mary Law School pro­fes­sor.
    ...

    So is this nation­al intim­i­da­tion cam­paign an exam­ple of ‘lead­er­less resis­tance’, where fig­ures like Ban­non indi­rect­ly encour­age a large num­ber of indi­vid­u­als to inde­pen­dent­ly take up a par­tic­u­lar line of action? Per­haps in part, yes. But as police in Ver­mont observed, these seem­ing­ly inde­pen­dent actors could be part of a “larg­er cam­paign” and the calls “may have been script­ed”. But, of course, that’s what these kinds of lead­er­less resis­tance style cam­paigns are: larg­er cam­paigns of seem­ing­ly inde­pen­dent actors:

    ...
    Some Ver­mont offi­cials ques­tioned why the man intim­i­dat­ing state offi­cials wasn’t inves­ti­gat­ed or pros­e­cut­ed, high­light­ing a broad­er nation­al debate over how to respond to post-elec­tion threats. In a pat­tern seen across Amer­i­ca, Ver­mont law enforce­ment offi­cials decid­ed this man’s repeat­ed men­ac­ing mes­sages amount­ed to legal­ly pro­tect­ed free speech.

    The threat­en­er focused on one of the cen­tral con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries pro­mot­ed by Trump and his allies: That offi­cials had rigged vote-count­ing tech­nol­o­gy from Domin­ion Vot­ing Sys­tems to flip mil­lions of votes to Biden.

    “Just let every­body know that their days are f—— num­bered,” he said in a Dec. 1 voice­mail. “There are a lot of peo­ple who are going to be exe­cut­ed.”<

    Around that time, offi­cials at Dominion’s head­quar­ters in Col­orado received three unset­tling voice­mails. “You’re all f—— dead,” said one mes­sage. “We’re going to f—— kill you all.” The caller’s tele­phone num­ber and voice matched those on the Ver­mont threats.

    ...

    Vermont’s state police intel­li­gence unit tried but failed to iden­ti­fy the caller. Police exam­ined the num­ber, which bore a Ver­mont area code, but said it was untrace­able, accord­ing to an email between state police offi­cials. The unit’s com­man­der, Shawn Loan, wrote to Trudeau say­ing that the threats could be part of a “larg­er cam­paign” and the calls “may have been script­ed.” He added that the caller used voice-over-inter­net tech­nol­o­gy. Two for­mer FBI agents said such calls can be hard­er to trace than those made from land­lines or cel­lu­lar phones.

    Loan was not imme­di­ate­ly avail­able for com­ment, a spokesper­son said.
    ...

    This is part of why the ques­tion of what Steve Ban­non will be up to while in jail is poten­tial­ly quite sig­nif­i­cant. He real­ly is play­ing an impor­tant role as a leader in this ‘open lead­er­less resis­tance’ phase of Trumpism...a phase where the planned actions can’t be spo­ken out loud, at least not too direct­ly, lest they lose their right to intim­i­date their polit­i­cal oppo­nents out of the area with sys­tem­at­ic threats of vio­lence.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 13, 2021, 5:22 pm
  26. With the seem­ing­ly end­less del­uge of new details about the plot­ting lead­ing up to the Jan­u­ary 6 Capi­tol insur­rec­tion, some of the gen­er­al ques­tions raised now include how many hours long will the inevitable movie about these events be? Because a sto­ry this insane and impor­tant is going to have at least one movie made about it. But with this many details already avail­able, that’s going to be a whale of sto­ry to tell. Can you real­ly do it jus­tice with just a sin­gle film? A two-parter per­haps? Is a tril­o­gy of trea­son called for?

    But as the fol­low­ing pair of sto­ries make clear, who­ev­er ends up land­ing these roles are going to have quite a chal­lenge on their hands. Specif­i­cal­ly, the chal­lenge of effec­tive­ly con­vey­ing just how utter­ly insane these cen­tral fig­ures real­ly were behav­ing with­out over­do­ing it and turn­ing it into a dark com­e­dy that every­one just laughs off.

    In par­tic­u­lar, who­ev­er lands the roles of Michael Fly­nn and Syd­ney Pow­ell are going to have the act­ing chal­lenge of a life­time on their hands. How does one accu­rate­ly con­vey the gen­uine nation­al per­il being cre­at­ed by these two with­out under­cut­ting the seri­ous­ness of the sit­u­a­tion? Because as Jon Kar­l’s new book, “Betray­al”, describes the sit­u­a­tion, both Fly­nn and Pow­ell were active­ly lob­by­ing then-act­ing under­sec­re­tary of defense of intel­li­gence, Ezra Cohen-Wat­nick, to engage in extreme mea­sures to secure the elec­tion for Trump.

    First, short­ly after Trump par­doned Fly­nn in late Novem­ber, Fly­nn called Cohen-Wat­nick to ask him to return to DC from a trip over­seas so he could sign orders like the mil­i­tary seizure of elec­tion bal­lots. That’s how close they got to that fate­ful deci­sion of hav­ing the mil­i­tary direct­ly inter­vene with the elec­tion dis­pute. They tried to make it hap­pen. Plead­ed. But Cohen-Wat­nick ulti­mate­ly did­n’t budge, and report­ed­ly felt like Fly­nn sound­ed man­ic dur­ing the call.

    Part of the rea­son this episode is so sig­nif­i­cant is that Cohen-Wat­nick was one of the fig­ures oper­a­tion in the Trump admin­is­tra­tion’s nation­al secu­ri­ty orbit who clear­ly should­n’t have been there and was only there, in part, due to his long-time asso­ci­a­tion with Michael Fly­nn. And yet while Cohen-Wat­nick was a like­ly tar­get for a depar­ture after Fly­nn him­self was kicked out of the NSC in 2017 he report­ed­ly had the back­ing of both Steve Ban­non and Jared Kush­n­er and was able to sur­vive the post-Fly­nn purge. So Michael Fly­nn is some­one Cohen-Wat­nick knows well and accord­ing to Cohen-Wat­nick, Fly­nn was man­ic at the time. This def­i­nite­ly calls for some method act­ing.

    But short­ly after Cohen-Wat­nick­’s call with Fly­nn, he got anoth­er utter­ly insane call from Sid­ney Pow­ell. Pow­ell want­ed Cohen-Wat­nick to trav­el to Ger­many, were then-CIA direc­tor Gina Haspel was appar­ent­ly injured by US spe­cial forces who were car­ry­ing out a raid of the servers secret­ly used to manip­u­late the US 2020 elec­tion. Haspel were there on a secret mis­sion to destroy the servers. In oth­er words, Haspel was cov­er­ing up the evi­dence of the CIA’s involve­ment in the deep state plot to steal the elec­tion when she was injured by pre­sum­ably patri­ot­ic mil­i­tary forces work­ing for Trump to expose the plot. Pow­ell want­ed Cohen-Wat­nick to trav­el to Ger­many imme­di­ate­ly to force the injured Haspel to “con­fess”.

    This call appar­ent­ly real­ly did hap­pen, as insane as that sounds. Cohen-Wat­nick report­ed­ly thought Pow­ell sound­ed unhinged, and informed the then-act­ing Defense sec­re­tary of the call. It’s worth recall­ing the reports that Trump was prepar­ing to fire Haspel in Decem­ber and replac­ing her with loy­al­ist Kash Patel. Mil­ley sought to inter­vene, con­fronting then White House Chief of Staff Mark Mead­ows about it at the annu­al Army-Navy foot­ball game. So when we’re hear­ing about Pow­ell’s fan­tasies of Haspel trav­el­ing to Ger­many to extract a con­fes­sion out of Haspel, it’s impor­tant to keep in mind that Haspel was viewed as not being full on board with the Flynn/Powell scheming...scheming the obvi­ous­ly had Trump’s implic­it back­ing.

    Final­ly, it’s impor­tant to recall that Ezra Cohen-Wat­nick was just one of a num­ber of fig­ures who were pro­mot­ed to senior lev­el posi­tions in the Pen­ta­gon fol­low­ing the Novem­ber elec­tion, rais­ing all sorts of eye­brows about what Trump had in mind for the mil­i­tary. Fig­ures like Antho­ny Tata, Rich Hig­gins, and Michael Ellis. So when Cohen-Wath­nick was ele­vate to act­ing under­sec­re­tary of Defense for intel­li­gence and secu­ri­ty at the same time Kash Patel was made the Sec­re­tary of Defense’s new chief of staff, it was clear some­thing was in the works. We’re now get­ting a much clear­er idea of what exact­ly was in the works, and it was a plot so insane they could even get Cohen-Wat­nick to go along with it. Not for lack of try­ing...:

    Talk­ing Points Memo
    News

    New Deets On Fly­nn And Powell’s Batsh*t Attempts To Get Mil­i­tary To Over­turn Elec­tion

    By Cristi­na Cabr­era
    Novem­ber 16, 2021 12:26 p.m.

    ABC News reporter Jonathan Karl’s upcom­ing book, “Betray­al,” reveals more eye-pop­ping details on ex-Trump advis­er Michael Fly­nn and his lawyer, Sid­ney Pow­ell, urg­ing the use of the U.S. mil­i­tary to steal the elec­tion for then-Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump–by going direct­ly to the Defense Depart­ment and ped­dling wacky con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries about vot­er fraud.

    Flynn’s Pitch

    ...

    Accord­ing to Karl’s book, Fly­nn (fresh after receiv­ing a par­don from Trump) report­ed­ly called Ezra Cohen-Wat­nick, by then a senior intel­li­gence offi­cial, who was trav­el­ing in the Mid­dle East at the time, and demand­ed that he cut his trip short, telling Cohen that “we need you” in the U.S. and that “there was going to be an epic show­down over the elec­tion results.”

    Fly­nn told Cohen-Wat­nick that he need­ed to sign orders to seize elec­tion bal­lots, accord­ing to Karl.

    When Cohen-Wat­nick report­ed­ly told Fly­nn it was “time to move on” from the elec­tion, the for­mer Trump advis­er accused him of being a “quit­ter” and insist­ed that “This is not over!”

    Cohen-Wat­nick was Flynn’s for­mer pro­tégé at the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil, and at one point he was at the cen­ter of the scan­dal in 2017 over whether he had giv­en then-House Intel­li­gence Com­mit­tee Chair­man Devin Nunes (R‑CA) clas­si­fied infor­ma­tion to help sub­stan­ti­ate Trump’s accu­sa­tions that the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion had been spy­ing on him. He was oust­ed by then-Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Advis­er H.R. McMas­ter in McMaster’s purge of Trump loy­al­ists at the NSC before being rein­stat­ed at the Jus­tice Depart­ment.

    But dur­ing his call with Fly­nn, even Cohen-Wat­nick felt that his men­tor sound­ed “man­ic,” in Karl’s words.

    Months after Trump left office, Fly­nn ful­ly endorsed a coup in the U.S. akin to the one in Myan­mar in Feb­ru­ary, argu­ing dur­ing a pro-QAnon MAGA event that it “should hap­pen here.”

    Powell’s Pitch

    Like Fly­nn, Pow­ell repeat­ed­ly pushed for a war on the elec­tion results: In addi­tion to attend­ing infa­mous Oval Office meet­ing with her client in Decem­ber, the lawyer ampli­fied calls online for the then-pres­i­dent to invoke the Insur­rec­tion Act and hijack the Elec­toral Col­lege cer­ti­fi­ca­tion vote so mil­i­tary tri­bunals could inves­ti­gate non-exis­tent vot­er fraud.

    And new rev­e­la­tions in Karl’s book lay out how Pow­ell took her demand for mil­i­tary inter­ven­tion to a anoth­er extreme on the basis of one of the many mind-bog­gling con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries she regur­gi­tat­ed regard­ing vot­er fraud.

    Cohen got a wild call from Pow­ell fea­tur­ing yet anoth­er tru­ly bonkers con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry about the “deep state” and for­eign elec­tion med­dling after his heat­ed call with Fly­nn, accord­ing to Karl.

    Pow­ell report­ed­ly urged the offi­cial to launch a “spe­cial oper­a­tions mis­sion” to retrieve then-CIA direc­tor Gina Haspel from Ger­many, where Pow­ell claimed Haspel had been tak­en into cus­tody after being injured dur­ing a secret mis­sion to destroy a serv­er con­tain­ing evi­dence of vot­ing machines rig­ging the elec­tion against Trump.

    It was a bla­tant­ly false con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry that emerged from QAnon cir­cles, and Pow­ell was invok­ing it to push the Defense Depart­ment to send spe­cial forces to Ger­many imme­di­ate­ly and force Haspel to “con­fess,” accord­ing to Karl.

    Cohen report­ed­ly thought Pow­ell sound­ed unhinged, and he informed the then-act­ing Defense sec­re­tary of the call.

    ———–

    “New Deets On Fly­nn And Powell’s Batsh*t Attempts To Get Mil­i­tary To Over­turn Elec­tion” by Cristi­na Cabr­era; Talk­ing Points Memo; 11/16/2021

    “Months after Trump left office, Fly­nn ful­ly endorsed a coup in the U.S. akin to the one in Myan­mar in Feb­ru­ary, argu­ing dur­ing a pro-QAnon MAGA event that it “should hap­pen here.””

    When Michael Fly­nn declared a Myan­mar style coup “should hap­pen here” back in Feb­ru­ary, he should have said “almost hap­pened here”. His own acolyte was placed in posi­tion at the Pen­ta­gon to issue the kind of orders they need­ed for the mil­i­tary to get involved in the elec­tion dis­pute. But after get­ting par­doned, Fly­nn calls Cohen-Wat­nick to put the plan into and action and is ulti­mate­ly shot down. It was just too insane:

    ...
    Accord­ing to Karl’s book, Fly­nn (fresh after receiv­ing a par­don from Trump) report­ed­ly called Ezra Cohen-Wat­nick, by then a senior intel­li­gence offi­cial, who was trav­el­ing in the Mid­dle East at the time, and demand­ed that he cut his trip short, telling Cohen that “we need you” in the U.S. and that “there was going to be an epic show­down over the elec­tion results.”

    Fly­nn told Cohen-Wat­nick that he need­ed to sign orders to seize elec­tion bal­lots, accord­ing to Karl.

    When Cohen-Wat­nick report­ed­ly told Fly­nn it was “time to move on” from the elec­tion, the for­mer Trump advis­er accused him of being a “quit­ter” and insist­ed that “This is not over!”

    ...

    But dur­ing his call with Fly­nn, even Cohen-Wat­nick felt that his men­tor sound­ed “man­ic,” in Karl’s words.
    ...

    Short­ly after Fly­n­n’s man­ic call, Cohen-Wat­nick gets an even more insane call from Sid­ney Pow­ell, ask­ing him to trav­el to Ger­many to extract a con­fes­sion from then-CIA direc­tor Gina Haspel, who was appar­ent­ly injured on a secret mis­sion to destroy a serv­er con­tain­ing evi­dence of the over­seas elec­tion manip­u­la­tion. This call real­ly hap­pened. It was so insane, Cohen-Wat­nick report­ed it to the then-act­ing Defense sec­re­tary:

    ...
    Cohen got a wild call from Pow­ell fea­tur­ing yet anoth­er tru­ly bonkers con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry about the “deep state” and for­eign elec­tion med­dling after his heat­ed call with Fly­nn, accord­ing to Karl.

    Pow­ell report­ed­ly urged the offi­cial to launch a “spe­cial oper­a­tions mis­sion” to retrieve then-CIA direc­tor Gina Haspel from Ger­many, where Pow­ell claimed Haspel had been tak­en into cus­tody after being injured dur­ing a secret mis­sion to destroy a serv­er con­tain­ing evi­dence of vot­ing machines rig­ging the elec­tion against Trump.

    It was a bla­tant­ly false con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry that emerged from QAnon cir­cles, and Pow­ell was invok­ing it to push the Defense Depart­ment to send spe­cial forces to Ger­many imme­di­ate­ly and force Haspel to “con­fess,” accord­ing to Karl.

    Cohen report­ed­ly thought Pow­ell sound­ed unhinged, and he informed the then-act­ing Defense sec­re­tary of the call.
    ...

    This is the lev­el of mad­ness that was play­ing out at the high­est lev­els of the Trump White House. One part of the cabal try­ing to con­vince anoth­er part of the cabal to go along with a plot so insane the cabal could­n’t ulti­mate­ly hold itself togeth­er. A lot of sep­a­rate mov­ing parts need­ed to be work­ing togeth­er for a scheme this vast to work, and hav­ing just one per­son not play along caused all their plans to fiz­zle.

    So how cru­cial was Cohen-Wat­nick­’s refusal to go along with this scheme in the even­tu­al deci­sion by the Trump team to not go along with the mil­i­tary seizure of bal­lots? Was Trump him­self back­ing Fly­n­n’s plan at that time when Fly­nn called Cohen-Wat­nick? How about Pow­ell’s mis­sion to Ger­many to extract a con­fes­sion? Did Trump endorse that too? Was every­one else in the plot ready and will­ing to go with it? Again, Cohen-Wat­nick was ele­vat­ed to his posi­tion after the Novem­ber elec­tion. One of many fig­ures pro­mot­ed at that late hour for mys­te­ri­ous rea­sons. And we’re now learn­ing he was pres­sured to car­ry out some extreme actions. So what about all these oth­er fig­ures pro­mot­ed post-elec­tion? Were they also asked to car­ry­ing out insane mis­sions for this plot? And did they agree? Just how close were we to see­ing the mil­i­tary actu­al­ly get involved in this elec­tion? It remains unan­swered. The Trumpian deep state was­n’t quite deep enough to pull this off, but it was pret­ty deep. Almost deep enough to make this scheme hap­pen, in which case we would­n’t be talk­ing about a Capi­tol insur­rec­tion but some­thing far more dire like the day the mil­i­tary end­ed the US democ­ra­cy.

    Like with so many of these sto­ries, the more answers we get the more dire the new ques­tions are that get raised. But at at least we have a much bet­ter idea of why Mark Mil­ley may have felt the need to call up Chi­na dur­ing the insur­rec­tion to let them know the US was­n’t about to descend into a mil­i­tary dic­ta­tor­ship. Talk about an act­ing chal­lenge for who­ev­er plays Mil­ley dur­ing that scene...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 16, 2021, 5:54 pm

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