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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

46 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
  27. Just how shocked and alarmed was Don­ald Trump Jr as the Jan­u­ary 6 Capi­tol insur­rec­tion was play­ing out? That’s one of the many ques­tions raised by a num­ber of text mes­sages released by Pres­i­dent Trump’s for­mer chief of staff Mark Mead­ows to the House Jan 6 Com­mit­tee this week. Text mes­sages sent to Mead­ows from a vari­ety of right-wing fig­ures, includ­ing a num­ber of Fox News hosts, beg­ging him to get Trump to con­demn and call of the attack. As Don Jr put it, in one text: “He’s got to con­demn this shit ASAP. The Capi­tol Police tweet is not enough.”

    It’s the kind of text mes­sage that is simul­ta­ne­ous­ly extreme­ly guilty sound­ing but still seems to express a sense of shock and dis­may over what was tran­spir­ing. So just how plau­si­ble is that appar­ent sense of shock and dis­may? That’s one of the big ques­tions raised by these new­ly released texts.

    So it’s worth recall­ing a num­ber of details relat­ed to exact­ly this top­ic of what role Don Jr and those close to him may have played in the plan­ning and orga­niz­ing of the Jan­u­ary 6 ral­ly and the events that day that led up to the insur­rec­tion. First, recall how we already learned back in Jan­u­ary how Car­o­line Wren — the for­mer deputy to Don Jr.‘s girl­friend Kim­ber­ly Guil­foyle — had been rais­ing mon­ey for the ral­ly specif­i­cal­ly from Pub­lix heiress Julie Jenk­ins Fan­cel­li. Fan­cel­li’s financ­ing was report­ed­ly facil­i­tat­ing by none oth­er than Alex Jones. And in the week lead­ing up to the ral­ly, there were a num­ber of changes in the plans. Changes pushed by Wren.

    We got some updates on those last-minute changes, includ­ing changes that Wren and Guil­foyle pushed for with­out suc­cess. It turns out both Guil­foyle and Wren were advo­cat­ing at the last minute, on Jan 5, that fig­ures like Roger Stone, Alex Jones, and Ali Alexan­der be allowed to speak a the ral­ly. Inter­est­ing­ly, the day before, Bre­it­bart leaked a list of the planned speak­ers that includ­ed these names. Guil­foyle appar­ent­ly viewed the leak­ing of the list as inter­fer­ence by the White House.

    Yes, it appears there was a real strug­gle inside the Trump camp over whether or not to have the most extreme fig­ures asso­ci­at­ed with the ‘Stop the Steal’ move­ment speak at the ral­ly, with Guil­foyle and Wren advo­cat­ing on the side of the extrem­ists. So when we read about Don Jr send­ing Mark Mead­ows alarmed texts dur­ing the insur­rec­tion, it’s impor­tant to keep in mind that part of that alarm prob­a­bly had to do with a sense of cul­pa­bil­i­ty over the all the intense pre-insur­rec­tionary plan­ning he and his girl­friend had just been involved with:

    Pro Pub­li­ca

    Texts Show Kim­ber­ly Guil­foyle Bragged About Rais­ing Mil­lions for Ral­ly That Fueled Capi­tol Riot
    Text mes­sages reviewed by ProP­ub­li­ca rep­re­sent the strongest indi­ca­tion yet that mem­bers of the Trump fam­i­ly inner cir­cle were involved in financ­ing and orga­niz­ing the Jan. 6 “Save Amer­i­ca” ral­ly, which imme­di­ate­ly pre­ced­ed the Capi­tol riot.

    by Joaquin Sapi­en and Joshua Kaplan
    Nov. 18, 11:05 a.m. EST

    Kim­ber­ly Guil­foyle, a top fundrais­er for for­mer Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and the girl­friend of his son Don­ald Trump Jr., boast­ed to a GOP oper­a­tive that she had raised $3 mil­lion for the ral­ly that helped fuel the Jan. 6 Capi­tol riot.

    In a series of text mes­sages sent on Jan. 4 to Kat­ri­na Pier­son, the White House liai­son to the event, Guil­foyle detailed her fundrais­ing efforts and sup­port­ed a push to get far-right speak­ers on the stage along­side Trump for the ral­ly, which sought to over­turn the elec­tion of Pres­i­dent Joe Biden.

    Guilfoyle’s texts, reviewed by ProP­ub­li­ca, rep­re­sent the strongest indi­ca­tion yet that mem­bers of the Trump fam­i­ly cir­cle were direct­ly involved in the financ­ing and orga­ni­za­tion of the ral­ly. The attack on the Capi­tol that fol­lowed it left five dead and scores injured.

    A House select com­mit­tee inves­ti­gat­ing the events of Jan. 6 has sub­poe­naed more than 30 Trump allies for tes­ti­mo­ny and doc­u­ments, includ­ing Pier­son and Car­o­line Wren, a for­mer deputy to Guil­foyle. But Guil­foyle her­self has so far not received any offi­cial scruti­ny from Con­gress.

    Guilfoyle’s attor­ney, Joe Tacopina, denied that Guil­foyle had any­thing to do with fundrais­ing or approv­ing speak­ers. He said the text from Guil­foyle “did not relate to the Save Amer­i­ca ral­ly” on Jan. 6 and the “con­tent of the mes­sage itself” was “inac­cu­rate” and “tak­en out of con­text.” He did not respond to addi­tion­al ques­tions ask­ing about the accu­ra­cy and con­text of the mes­sage.

    ...

    The text mes­sages show that Guil­foyle expressed spe­cif­ic con­cerns that she might not be allowed to speak on stage at the Jan. 6 ral­ly. Pier­son respond­ed that Trump him­self set the speak­ing line­up and that it was lim­it­ed to peo­ple he select­ed, includ­ing some of his chil­dren and Amy Kre­mer, a grass­roots activist who orga­nized the event.

    Guil­foyle replied that she only want­ed to intro­duce Trump Jr. and had “raised so much mon­ey for this.”

    “Lit­er­al­ly one of my donors Julie at 3 mil­lion,” she added.

    Guil­foyle was refer­ring to Julie Jenk­ins Fan­cel­li, a Pub­lix super­mar­ket heir who Guil­foyle had devel­oped a pro­fes­sion­al rela­tion­ship with dur­ing the cam­paign.

    Until now, Wren has been the only per­son iden­ti­fied as hav­ing worked with Fan­cel­li. As ProP­ub­li­ca report­ed last month, Wren also boast­ed in pri­vate con­ver­sa­tions with col­leagues of rais­ing $3 mil­lion for the events of Jan. 6.

    It remains unclear whether that amount was real­ly raised and, if so, how the major­i­ty of it was spent. Some of the mon­ey raised from Fan­cel­li flowed to dark mon­ey groups that sup­port­ed the ral­ly, accord­ing to wire trans­fers described to ProP­ub­li­ca, plan­ning doc­u­ments and inter­views with insid­ers.

    In a state­ment from her attor­ney, Wren acknowl­edged help­ing to pro­duce the ral­ly but did not pro­vide fur­ther details about her role in fundrais­ing.

    “To Ms. Wren’s knowl­edge, Kim­ber­ly Guil­foyle had no involve­ment in rais­ing funds for any events on Jan­u­ary 6th,” the state­ment said. “They were both present at a peace­ful ral­ly with hun­dreds of thou­sands of Amer­i­cans who were in DC to law­ful­ly exer­cise their first amend­ment rights, a pri­ma­ry pil­lar of Amer­i­can democ­ra­cy.”

    The texts between Guil­foyle and Pier­son and inter­views with Trump offi­cials also sug­gest that Guil­foyle attempt­ed to influ­ence the line­up of speak­ers sched­uled to appear at the event.

    On the night of Jan. 5, Trump Jr., Guil­foyle and Wren attend­ed an event at the Trump Inter­na­tion­al Hotel in Wash­ing­ton, where Trump donors min­gled with promi­nent fig­ures in the move­ment to over­turn the elec­tion, accord­ing to inter­views and social media posts from atten­dees.

    Around the time of that event, Wren called ral­ly staff and urged them to allow speak­ing roles for Ali Alexan­der, a far-right provo­ca­teur and leader of the Stop the Steal move­ment; Roger Stone, a for­mer Trump advi­sor; and con­spir­a­cy the­o­rist and InfoWars leader Alex Jones, accord­ing to a for­mer cam­paign offi­cial who was told details of the call by peo­ple who lis­tened to it.

    Trump aides had already deemed the men too rad­i­cal to go on stage, wor­ry­ing they might embar­rass the pres­i­dent.

    Dur­ing the call, Guil­foyle voiced her sup­port for the con­tro­ver­sial speak­ers, the for­mer cam­paign offi­cial was told. She also specif­i­cal­ly demand­ed that Texas Attor­ney Gen­er­al Ken Pax­ton, who had sued to chal­lenge elec­tion results in four oth­er states, address the crowd. Alexan­der lat­er said on a news­cast that he also received a call from Guil­foyle that same evening.

    Tacopina, Guil­foyle’s lawyer, said she did not urge staffers to change the speak­ers. “Your con­tention that Ms. Guil­foyle approved a speak­ing list for Jan­u­ary 6th is patent­ly false,” he wrote. He threat­ened to “aggres­sive­ly pur­sue all legal reme­dies avail­able” against ProP­ub­li­ca.

    But the texts show Guil­foyle and Pier­son talk­ing about a “leaked” speak­ing list — an appar­ent ref­er­ence to an arti­cle about the Jan. 6 ral­ly pub­lished by the con­ser­v­a­tive news web­site Bre­it­bart the day before.

    That list includ­ed Alexan­der, Stone and Pax­ton, among oth­ers.

    “All I know is that some­one leaked a list of ‘speak­ers’ that the WH had not seen or approved,” Pier­son wrote. “I’ve nev­er had so much inter­fer­ence.”

    Guil­foyle respond­ed: “Yea and this the list we approved.”

    Tacopina did not answer fur­ther ques­tions about what Guil­foyle meant in the text where she said “we” had approved a speak­ing list.

    Untan­gling the rela­tion­ship between Guil­foyle, Wren and Fan­cel­li is key to under­stand­ing the financ­ing of the events of Jan. 6.

    In Jan­u­ary 2020, Guil­foyle was appoint­ed nation­al chair of the Trump Vic­to­ry finance com­mit­tee, a lead­ing fundrais­ing vehi­cle for Trump’s reelec­tion cam­paign. She brought Wren on as her deputy.

    Guil­foyle, through her rela­tion­ship with Trump Jr., had access to the fam­i­ly and a cer­tain star pow­er that appealed to donors. Wren, by all accounts a relent­less, high-ener­gy work­er, brought fundrais­ing exper­tise and a Rolodex of wealthy Repub­li­cans will­ing to invest hand­some­ly to keep Trump in office. The duo ulti­mate­ly brought in tens of mil­lions of dol­lars toward Trump’s reelec­tion.

    The pair focused pri­mar­i­ly on ramp­ing up the campaign’s “bundling” pro­gram, a method of fundrais­ing that relies on vol­un­teers col­lect­ing mon­ey from their per­son­al net­works.

    Fan­cel­li, a reclu­sive mem­ber of one of the country’s rich­est fam­i­lies, was one of those vol­un­teers, accord­ing to inter­views and inter­nal Trump Vic­to­ry records. Split­ting her time between Flori­da and Italy, Fan­cel­li raised at least $72,000 from her friends and fam­i­ly.

    She stood out to Wren and Guil­foyle, who in 2020 con­sid­ered her for a role as Flori­da state co-chair for the bundling pro­gram, accord­ing to an inter­nal Trump Vic­to­ry plan­ning doc­u­ment reviewed by ProP­ub­li­ca. The doc­u­ment high­light­ed Fan­cel­li as a per­son Guil­foyle should con­tact per­son­al­ly.

    Tacopina said Guil­foyle had nev­er seen any such doc­u­ment “nor is aware of its sup­posed exis­tence.”

    On or just before July 14, 2020, Guil­foyle called Fan­cel­li direct­ly, accord­ing to a dif­fer­ent set of text mes­sages reviewed by ProP­ub­li­ca. The next day, Fan­cel­li made her largest fed­er­al polit­i­cal con­tri­bu­tion to date, accord­ing to cam­paign finance records: $250,000 to Trump Vic­to­ry.

    By elec­tion night, she had chipped in $565,000 more, records show.

    Tacopina did not address the July 2020 phone call in his state­ment and did not respond to ques­tions about Guilfoyle’s rela­tion­ship with Fan­cel­li. Fan­cel­li did not respond to requests for com­ment.

    After the elec­tion, Wren became the main fundrais­ing con­sul­tant for a new­ly formed super PAC run by two of Trump Jr.’s clos­est aides. The super PAC, called “Save the US Sen­ate PAC,” placed ads star­ring Trump Jr. in which he encour­aged Geor­gians to vote Repub­li­can in the bit­ter­ly con­test­ed runoff elec­tions that would result in Demo­c­ra­t­ic con­trol of the Sen­ate.

    That PAC was pri­mar­i­ly fund­ed by LJ Man­age­ment Ser­vices Inc., a com­pa­ny close­ly linked to Fancelli’s fam­i­ly foun­da­tion. It gave $800,000 to the PAC in sev­er­al install­ments, records show.

    In late Decem­ber, Wren became involved in the ral­ly prepa­ra­tions for Jan. 6.

    Wren told mul­ti­ple orga­niz­ers inter­viewed by ProP­ub­li­ca that she was car­ry­ing out the wish­es of the Trump fam­i­ly. Some believed her and feared that defy­ing her would upset the Trumps. Oth­ers sus­pect­ed she was exag­ger­at­ing.

    “Car­o­line kept talk­ing about her con­nec­tions to Don Jr. and Kim­ber­ly Guil­foyle,” said Cindy Chafi­an, a ral­ly orga­niz­er who told ProP­ub­li­ca she was put in touch with Wren and Fan­cel­li by Alex Jones. “I thought she was full of crap.”

    As ProP­ub­li­ca pre­vi­ous­ly report­ed, Wren told Dustin Stock­ton, anoth­er ral­ly orga­niz­er, that she had raised $3 mil­lion for Jan. 6 and “parked” funds with three Repub­li­can dark mon­ey groups sup­port­ing the ral­ly.

    In one case, Wren rout­ed rough­ly $150,000 from Fan­cel­li to the Repub­li­can Attor­neys Gen­er­al Association’s Rule of Law Defense Fund, which then pur­chased a robo­call instruct­ing Trump sup­port­ers to come to Wash­ing­ton and march on the Capi­tol after the president’s speech. The robo­call was pur­chased in order to sat­is­fy the con­di­tions of the dona­tion, a per­son famil­iar with the trans­ac­tion told ProP­ub­li­ca.

    ProP­ub­li­ca also report­ed that Wren had pres­sured ral­ly orga­niz­ers to allow Jones and oth­er far-right lead­ers to speak on stage before the pres­i­dent. The effort grew so intense and volatile that on the morn­ing of Jan. 6, a senior White House offi­cial sug­gest­ed ral­ly orga­niz­ers call the U.S. Park Police on Wren to have her escort­ed off the Ellipse. Offi­cers arrived but took no action. Wren has pre­vi­ous­ly declined to com­ment on the inci­dent.

    Around the same time, Guil­foyle sat with Trump and oth­er mem­bers of his inner cir­cle in the Oval Office and dis­cussed the grow­ing throngs out­side, accord­ing to The Wash­ing­ton Post. “They’re just reflect­ing the will of the peo­ple,” she report­ed­ly told the pres­i­dent. “This is the will of the peo­ple.”

    On stage lat­er that morn­ing, Guil­foyle gave a rous­ing speech intro­duc­ing Trump Jr. “We will not allow the lib­er­als and the Democ­rats to steal our dream or steal our elec­tions,” Guil­foyle told the crowd.

    Trump Jr. then exhort­ed the crowd to send a mes­sage to the Repub­li­can mem­bers of Con­gress who “did noth­ing to stop the steal.”

    ...

    Jones and Alexan­der left the ral­ly ear­ly. Wren escort­ed the men away from the White House as they pre­pared to lead the march on the Capi­tol.

    As the Capi­tol plunged into chaos lat­er that day — police offi­cers out­num­bered and over­run, law­mak­ers hud­dled behind makeshift bunkers, tear gas enshroud­ing the build­ing — Guil­foyle board­ed a pri­vate jet.

    She was off to Flori­da with at least two major Trump donors, Nebras­ka guber­na­to­r­i­al can­di­date Charles Herb­ster and Cal­i­for­nia entre­pre­neur Richard Kofoed, who had char­tered the jet. The plane left Dulles Inter­na­tion­al Air­port at 3:47 p.m., accord­ing to avi­a­tion records. It dropped Herb­ster off on Florida’s Amelia Island before head­ing for West Palm Beach. Wren list­ed both Kofoed and Herb­ster as her VIPs for the ral­ly in plan­ning doc­u­ments. Plan­ning doc­u­ments show Cas­sidy Kofoed, Richard Kofoed’s 23-year-old daugh­ter, also worked with Wren on prepa­ra­tions for Jan. 6.

    Herb­ster con­firmed that he was on board the plane with Guil­foyle. Richard and Cas­sidy Kofoed did not respond to requests for com­ment.

    In response to ques­tions about the flight, Tacopina said that Guil­foyle lived with Kofoed and his wife at a rent­ed prop­er­ty in Mar-a-Lago from approx­i­mate­ly Decem­ber 2020 through July 2021.

    Guil­foyle has con­tin­ued her role as a major Trump fundrais­er. In Octo­ber, she was put at the helm of Trump’s super PAC, called Make Amer­i­ca Great Again, Again!

    ————-

    “Texts Show Kim­ber­ly Guil­foyle Bragged About Rais­ing Mil­lions for Ral­ly That Fueled Capi­tol Riot” by Joaquin Sapi­en and Joshua Kaplan; Pro Pub­li­ca; 11/18/2021

    Guilfoyle’s texts, reviewed by ProP­ub­li­ca, rep­re­sent the strongest indi­ca­tion yet that mem­bers of the Trump fam­i­ly cir­cle were direct­ly involved in the financ­ing and orga­ni­za­tion of the ral­ly. The attack on the Capi­tol that fol­lowed it left five dead and scores injured.”

    It was less than a month ago that ProP­ub­lic pub­lished the strongest evi­dence yet that mem­bers of the Trump fam­i­ly were direct­ly involved in both the financ­ing and orga­niz­ing of the Jan­u­ary 6 ral­ly. Evi­dence in form of texts between Don Jr’s girl­friend Kim­ber­ly Guil­foyle and her for­mer deputy, Car­o­line Wren, show­ing how Wren and Guil­foyle had man­aged to find a whale of a donor with Julie Fan­cel­li who alone pledged $3 mil­lion:

    ...
    A House select com­mit­tee inves­ti­gat­ing the events of Jan. 6 has sub­poe­naed more than 30 Trump allies for tes­ti­mo­ny and doc­u­ments, includ­ing Pier­son and Car­o­line Wren, a for­mer deputy to Guil­foyle. But Guil­foyle her­self has so far not received any offi­cial scruti­ny from Con­gress.

    Guilfoyle’s attor­ney, Joe Tacopina, denied that Guil­foyle had any­thing to do with fundrais­ing or approv­ing speak­ers. He said the text from Guil­foyle “did not relate to the Save Amer­i­ca ral­ly” on Jan. 6 and the “con­tent of the mes­sage itself” was “inac­cu­rate” and “tak­en out of con­text.” He did not respond to addi­tion­al ques­tions ask­ing about the accu­ra­cy and con­text of the mes­sage.

    ...

    The text mes­sages show that Guil­foyle expressed spe­cif­ic con­cerns that she might not be allowed to speak on stage at the Jan. 6 ral­ly. Pier­son respond­ed that Trump him­self set the speak­ing line­up and that it was lim­it­ed to peo­ple he select­ed, includ­ing some of his chil­dren and Amy Kre­mer, a grass­roots activist who orga­nized the event.

    Guil­foyle replied that she only want­ed to intro­duce Trump Jr. and had “raised so much mon­ey for this.”

    “Lit­er­al­ly one of my donors Julie at 3 mil­lion,” she added.

    Guil­foyle was refer­ring to Julie Jenk­ins Fan­cel­li, a Pub­lix super­mar­ket heir who Guil­foyle had devel­oped a pro­fes­sion­al rela­tion­ship with dur­ing the cam­paign.

    Until now, Wren has been the only per­son iden­ti­fied as hav­ing worked with Fan­cel­li. As ProP­ub­li­ca report­ed last month, Wren also boast­ed in pri­vate con­ver­sa­tions with col­leagues of rais­ing $3 mil­lion for the events of Jan. 6.
    ...

    Then on the night of Jan 5, Don Jr, Guil­foyle, and Wren attend­ed an event at the Trump Inter­na­tion­al Hotel. Dur­ing this time, both Wren and Guil­foyle made a push for adding Ali Alexan­der, Roger Stone, and Alex Jones to the speak­ers list at the ral­ly. And as we see, Jones and Alexan­der left the ral­ly ear­ly, with Wren escort­ing them away from the White House as they pre­pared to lead the march on the Capi­tol. There sure was a lot of coor­di­nat­ing that day:

    ...
    On the night of Jan. 5, Trump Jr., Guil­foyle and Wren attend­ed an event at the Trump Inter­na­tion­al Hotel in Wash­ing­ton, where Trump donors min­gled with promi­nent fig­ures in the move­ment to over­turn the elec­tion, accord­ing to inter­views and social media posts from atten­dees.

    Around the time of that event, Wren called ral­ly staff and urged them to allow speak­ing roles for Ali Alexan­der, a far-right provo­ca­teur and leader of the Stop the Steal move­ment; Roger Stone, a for­mer Trump advi­sor; and con­spir­a­cy the­o­rist and InfoWars leader Alex Jones, accord­ing to a for­mer cam­paign offi­cial who was told details of the call by peo­ple who lis­tened to it.

    Trump aides had already deemed the men too rad­i­cal to go on stage, wor­ry­ing they might embar­rass the pres­i­dent.

    Dur­ing the call, Guil­foyle voiced her sup­port for the con­tro­ver­sial speak­ers, the for­mer cam­paign offi­cial was told. She also specif­i­cal­ly demand­ed that Texas Attor­ney Gen­er­al Ken Pax­ton, who had sued to chal­lenge elec­tion results in four oth­er states, address the crowd. Alexan­der lat­er said on a news­cast that he also received a call from Guil­foyle that same evening.

    ...

    ProP­ub­li­ca also report­ed that Wren had pres­sured ral­ly orga­niz­ers to allow Jones and oth­er far-right lead­ers to speak on stage before the pres­i­dent. The effort grew so intense and volatile that on the morn­ing of Jan. 6, a senior White House offi­cial sug­gest­ed ral­ly orga­niz­ers call the U.S. Park Police on Wren to have her escort­ed off the Ellipse. Offi­cers arrived but took no action. Wren has pre­vi­ous­ly declined to com­ment on the inci­dent.

    ...

    Jones and Alexan­der left the ral­ly ear­ly. Wren escort­ed the men away from the White House as they pre­pared to lead the march on the Capi­tol.
    ...

    And note this inter­est­ing detail: the speak­ers list for the ral­ly had appar­ent­ly been leaked by Bre­it­bart and this list includ­ed Alexan­der, Stone, and oth­er speak­ers deemed by some mem­bers of the Trump team to be too con­tro­ver­sial. Guil­foyle viewed the leak as a form of inter­fer­ence and referred to hav­ing approved the list already. That strong­ly sug­gests it real­ly was Guil­foyle and Wren who were mak­ing these deci­sions:

    .
    ...
    Tacopina, Guil­foyle’s lawyer, said she did not urge staffers to change the speak­ers. “Your con­tention that Ms. Guil­foyle approved a speak­ing list for Jan­u­ary 6th is patent­ly false,” he wrote. He threat­ened to “aggres­sive­ly pur­sue all legal reme­dies avail­able” against ProP­ub­li­ca.

    But the texts show Guil­foyle and Pier­son talk­ing about a “leaked” speak­ing list — an appar­ent ref­er­ence to an arti­cle about the Jan. 6 ral­ly pub­lished by the con­ser­v­a­tive news web­site Bre­it­bart the day before.

    That list includ­ed Alexan­der, Stone and Pax­ton, among oth­ers.

    “All I know is that some­one leaked a list of ‘speak­ers’ that the WH had not seen or approved,” Pier­son wrote. “I’ve nev­er had so much inter­fer­ence.”

    Guil­foyle respond­ed: “Yea and this the list we approved.”

    Tacopina did not answer fur­ther ques­tions about what Guil­foyle meant in the text where she said “we” had approved a speak­ing list.

    Untan­gling the rela­tion­ship between Guil­foyle, Wren and Fan­cel­li is key to under­stand­ing the financ­ing of the events of Jan. 6.
    ...

    Final­ly, to under­score Fan­cel­li’s involve­ment in all this, we find that Wren became the main fundrais­ing con­sul­tant for a new­ly formed super PAC run by two of Trump Jr.’s clos­est aides but pri­mar­i­ly fund­ed by a com­pa­ny close to the Fan­cel­li fam­i­ly foun­da­tion. It high­lights how impor­tant a role Fan­cel­li was play­ing dur­ing this post-elec­tion peri­od. With Wren and Guil­foyle play­ing the role of key Fan­cel­li inter­me­di­aries:

    ...
    After the elec­tion, Wren became the main fundrais­ing con­sul­tant for a new­ly formed super PAC run by two of Trump Jr.’s clos­est aides. The super PAC, called “Save the US Sen­ate PAC,” placed ads star­ring Trump Jr. in which he encour­aged Geor­gians to vote Repub­li­can in the bit­ter­ly con­test­ed runoff elec­tions that would result in Demo­c­ra­t­ic con­trol of the Sen­ate.

    That PAC was pri­mar­i­ly fund­ed by LJ Man­age­ment Ser­vices Inc., a com­pa­ny close­ly linked to Fancelli’s fam­i­ly foun­da­tion. It gave $800,000 to the PAC in sev­er­al install­ments, records show.

    In late Decem­ber, Wren became involved in the ral­ly prepa­ra­tions for Jan. 6.

    Wren told mul­ti­ple orga­niz­ers inter­viewed by ProP­ub­li­ca that she was car­ry­ing out the wish­es of the Trump fam­i­ly. Some believed her and feared that defy­ing her would upset the Trumps. Oth­ers sus­pect­ed she was exag­ger­at­ing.
    ...

    So when we read about Don Jr send­ing Mark Mead­ows on Jan 6 alarmed texts about how every­thing had “gone too far”, don’t for­get that Don Jr’s girl­friend Kim­ber­ly had spent the pri­or night argu­ing that the planned speak­ers list did­n’t go far enough, and could real­ly use more talks from fig­ures like Roger Stone and Alex Jones. Which is the kind of sit­u­a­tion that could def­i­nite­ly lead to some alarmed texts. Just not nec­es­sar­i­ly inno­cent alarmed texts.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 14, 2021, 4:34 pm
  28. We’re get­ting new details on the fas­ci­nat­ing mil­i­tary psy­cho­log­i­cal war­fare team that appears to have played a major role in the Trump White House­’s schem­ing to stay in office through any means nec­es­sary.

    First, recall how we’ve already learned about the “war room” that was cre­at­ed at the the Willard Hotel in down­town DC. Steven Ban­non was there, along with Rudy Giu­liani, John East­man, and a team of “dig­i­tals war­riors” lead by Phil Wal­dron, a retired Army colonel who spe­cial­ized in psy­cho­log­i­cal oper­a­tions. Wal­dron, in turn, was work­ing close­ly with Rus­sell Ram­s­land, a Texas Repub­li­can who has been one of the key right-wing fig­ures mass spread­ing elec­tion-fraud con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries ever since 2018, when Ted Cruz almost lost his Sen­ate bid. Ram­s­land was present in one of the Willard rooms on the evening of Jan. 6. Ramsland’s pri­vate intel­li­gence com­pa­ny, Allied Secu­ri­ty Oper­a­tions Group (ASOG), was start­ed in June 2017 by Adam T. Kraft, a for­mer senior offi­cial at the Defense Intel­li­gence Agency. Kraft was soon joined by a three men: Alvan “Locke” Neely, J. Keet Lewis, and Ram­s­land. Neely was a retired Secret Ser­vice agent who became ASOG’s chief oper­a­tions offi­cer. J. Keet Lewis was named ASOG’s vice pres­i­dent of strat­e­gy and Ram­s­land joined as ASOG’s chief finan­cial offi­cer. Ram­s­land and Lewis have both been mem­bers of the Coun­cil for Nation­al Pol­i­cy, with Lewis hav­ing ser­viced on the exec­u­tive com­mit­tee.. Intrigu­ing­ly, before it became focus on ‘elec­tion integri­ty’ fol­low­ing Ted Cruz’s near-loss in 2018, ASOG had been doing work for Bannon’s Chi­nese bil­lion­aire patron, Guo Wen­gui. It’s the activ­i­ties of Phil Wal­dron and his ASOG team that we’re learn­ing more about.

    In par­tic­u­lar, a Pow­er­Point pre­sen­ta­tion devel­oped by Wal­dron’s team for how Trump could pre­vent the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of the elec­tion results was leaked and pub­lished. And we’re learn­ing that this same pre­sen­ta­tion was deliv­ered to then-Trump chief of staff Mark Mead­ows on Jan 5. As we already recent­ly learned, Jan 5 was the day Trump learned once and for all that then-Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence was going to be unwill­ing to go along with any of the schemes Wal­dron and East­man worked out. This report­ed­ly prompt­ed Trump to call the Willard Hotel war room team at some time between late Ja 5 and ear­ly morn­ing Jan 6, when he informed them Pence was­n’t going to play ball and they need­ed a new strat­e­gy that did­n’t require Pence’s coop­er­a­tion. And they did indeed try to put such a strat­e­gy in place, with Rudy Giu­liani con­tact­ing elect­ed Repub­li­cans in the hopes they could some­how derail the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion process. So when we learn that Phil Wal­dron’s psy­cho­log­i­cal war­fare team put togeth­er a Pow­er­Point pre­sen­ta­tion that made its way into the White House­’s inner cir­cle on Jan 5, a day before the insur­rec­tion, it’s impor­tant to keep in mind that Jan 5 was the day the Trumpian pan­ic was tru­ly unleashed fol­low­ing the betray­al of Mike Pence:

    The Wash­ing­ton Post

    Elec­tion denier who cir­cu­lat­ed Jan. 6 Pow­er­Point says he met with Mead­ows at White House

    By Emma Brown, Jon Swaine, Jacque­line Ale­many, Josh Dawsey and Tom Ham­burg­er
    Decem­ber 11, 2021 at 12:30 p.m. EST

    A retired U.S. Army colonel who cir­cu­lat­ed a pro­pos­al to chal­lenge the 2020 elec­tion, includ­ing by declar­ing a nation­al secu­ri­ty emer­gency and seiz­ing paper bal­lots, said that he vis­it­ed the White House on mul­ti­ple occa­sions after the elec­tion, spoke with Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s chief of staff “maybe eight to 10 times” and briefed sev­er­al mem­bers of Con­gress on the eve of the Jan. 6 riot.

    Phil Wal­dron, the retired colonel, was work­ing with Trump’s out­side lawyers and was part of a team that briefed the law­mak­ers on a Pow­er­Point pre­sen­ta­tion detail­ing “Options for 6 JAN,” Wal­dron told The Wash­ing­ton Post. He said his con­tri­bu­tion to the pre­sen­ta­tion focused on his claims of for­eign inter­fer­ence in the vote, as did his dis­cus­sions with the White House.

    A ver­sion of the pre­sen­ta­tion made its way to the White House chief of staff, Mark Mead­ows, on Jan. 5. That infor­ma­tion sur­faced pub­licly this past week after the con­gres­sion­al com­mit­tee inves­ti­gat­ing the insur­rec­tion released a let­ter that said Mead­ows had turned the doc­u­ment over to the com­mit­tee.

    “The pre­sen­ta­tion was that there was sig­nif­i­cant for­eign inter­fer­ence in the elec­tion, here’s the proof,” Wal­dron said. “These are con­sti­tu­tion­al, legal, fea­si­ble, accept­able and suit­able cours­es of action.”

    The Pow­er­Point cir­cu­lat­ed by Wal­dron includ­ed pro­pos­als for Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence on Jan. 6 to reject elec­tors from “states where fraud occurred” or replace them with Repub­li­can elec­tors. It includ­ed a third pro­pos­al in which the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of Joe Biden’s vic­to­ry was to be delayed, and U.S. mar­shals and Nation­al Guard troops were to help “secure” and count paper bal­lots in key states.

    Mul­ti­ple schol­ars have said there was no legal basis for Pence to inter­vene in the count­ing of elec­toral votes on Jan. 6. Numer­ous bal­lot recounts and legal pro­ceed­ings have con­firmed that there was no evi­dence of any sig­nif­i­cant fraud in the 2020 elec­tion.

    Although Trump at the time was pres­sur­ing Pence to delay cer­ti­fy­ing Biden’s vic­to­ry, it is not clear how wide­ly the Pow­er­Point was cir­cu­lat­ed or how seri­ous­ly the ideas in it were con­sid­ered. A lawyer for Mead­ows, George J. Ter­williger III, said on Fri­day that there was no indi­ca­tion that Mead­ows did any­thing with the doc­u­ment after receiv­ing it by email. “We pro­duced it [to the com­mit­tee] because it was not priv­i­leged,” Ter­williger said. A Mead­ows spokesman, Ben Williamson, declined to com­ment. Wal­dron said he was not the per­son who sent the Pow­er­Point to Mead­ows.

    Still, Waldron’s account of his inter­ac­tions with the White House, togeth­er with a 36-page ver­sion of the pre­sen­ta­tion that sur­faced online this past week and was reviewed by The Post, shed new light on the wild the­o­ries and pro­pos­als that cir­cu­lat­ed among the peo­ple advis­ing Trump as they worked to over­turn his elec­tion defeat, caus­ing a cri­sis at the heart of gov­ern­ment. They sug­gest that Mead­ows, who also pressed senior Jus­tice Depart­ment lead­ers to inves­ti­gate base­less con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries about elec­tion fraud, was more direct­ly in con­tact with pro­po­nents of such the­o­ries than was pre­vi­ous­ly known.

    Wal­dron, a cyber­se­cu­ri­ty con­sul­tant who spe­cial­ized in psy­cho­log­i­cal oper­a­tions dur­ing his mil­i­tary career, said that a meet­ing he and oth­ers had with Mead­ows in the days around Christ­mas turned to ques­tions about how to deter­mine whether the elec­tion had been hacked. He said Mead­ows asked, “What do you need? What would help?” Wal­dron said his team devel­oped a list for Mead­ows with infor­ma­tion on IP address­es, servers and oth­er data that he believed need­ed to be inves­ti­gat­ed “using the pow­ers of the world’s great­est nation­al secu­ri­ty intel­li­gence appa­ra­tus.”

    One per­son famil­iar with what Wal­dron called a “shop­ping list” con­firmed the efforts to assem­ble it. That per­son, like some oth­ers quot­ed in this report, spoke on the con­di­tion of anonymi­ty to dis­cuss sen­si­tive mat­ters.

    Wal­dron said Mead­ows indi­cat­ed that he would pass the list on to John Rat­cliffe, then the direc­tor of nation­al intel­li­gence, but said he did not know whether Mead­ows ulti­mate­ly did. Through a spokesman, Rat­cliffe said he did not receive such a doc­u­ment.

    One per­son famil­iar with the mat­ter con­firmed that Mead­ows met with Wal­dron at the White House in Decem­ber, although a per­son famil­iar with Meadows’s think­ing stressed that Mead­ows had “lit­tle or noth­ing to do” with Wal­dron and did not endorse the doc­u­ment. The per­son said that Meadows’s role, as chief of staff, was often to receive infor­ma­tion and pass it along to an appro­pri­ate recip­i­ent. He said Mead­ows often did this with­out endors­ing the sub­stance of a giv­en idea or sug­ges­tion.

    Wal­dron said that he and Mead­ows “weren’t pen pals” and that their com­mu­ni­ca­tion was often through Trump’s per­son­al attor­ney Rudolph W. Giu­liani, who some­times asked him to “explain this to Mark” over the phone. Giu­liani did not respond to requests for com­ment.

    Wal­dron told The Post that he also attend­ed a Nov. 25 meet­ing with Trump and sev­er­al Penn­syl­va­nia leg­is­la­tors in the Oval Office. A per­son famil­iar with that meet­ing con­firmed Waldron’s pres­ence.

    Wal­dron said he also once briefed Sen. Lind­sey O. Gra­ham (R‑S.C.) at the White House, in the chief of staff’s office, with Giu­liani present. Gra­ham did not respond to a request for com­ment.

    In ear­ly Jan­u­ary, Wal­dron was work­ing along­side Giu­liani and anoth­er Trump attor­ney, John C. East­man, from a suite at the Willard hotel in down­town Wash­ing­ton, gath­er­ing pur­port­ed evi­dence of elec­tion fraud, The Post pre­vi­ous­ly report­ed. Wal­dron was a sup­port­ing wit­ness for Giu­liani at hear­ings on elec­tion fraud held by law­mak­ers in bat­tle­ground states after the 2020 vote.

    Rep. Ben­nie G. Thomp­son (D‑Miss.), the chair­man of the select com­mit­tee inves­ti­gat­ing the Jan. 6 attack, said in a let­ter to Ter­williger this past week that Mead­ows had turned over an email regard­ing a 38-page Pow­er­Point pre­sen­ta­tion “that was to be pro­vid­ed ‘on the hill,’ ” titled “Elec­tion Fraud, For­eign Inter­fer­ence & Options for 6 JAN.” The 36-page pre­sen­ta­tion reviewed by The Post and shared by Wal­dron with con­ser­v­a­tive broad­cast­ers in Jan­u­ary has the same title.

    Two peo­ple famil­iar with Meadows’s evi­dence said that he had also turned over the pre­sen­ta­tion itself and that it was sim­i­lar in sub­stance to the 36-page pre­sen­ta­tion. “The over­all con­clu­sions are the same, but there are some small dif­fer­ences,” one of the peo­ple said. The peo­ple were not autho­rized to dis­cuss the mat­ter pub­licly.

    Hav­ing turned over this and oth­er records that his attor­neys say encom­passed thou­sands of doc­u­ments and mes­sages, Mead­ows has reject­ed the committee’s demand that he appear for tes­ti­mo­ny, cit­ing exec­u­tive priv­i­lege. In a law­suit, he has asked a judge to inval­i­date the panel’s sub­poe­nas, call­ing them “over­ly broad and undu­ly bur­den­some.”

    The com­mit­tee plans to vote Mon­day on a rec­om­men­da­tion that the House refer Mead­ows to the Jus­tice Depart­ment for pros­e­cu­tion on a charge of con­tempt of Con­gress.

    The role played after the elec­tion by Wal­dron is anoth­er exam­ple of how the pres­i­dent aligned him­self with a cast of fringe per­son­al­i­ties as he worked to sab­o­tage the U.S. demo­c­ra­t­ic process.

    Wal­dron said in the inter­view that he trav­eled to Wash­ing­ton around Nov. 9 or 10, 2020, and first met a few days lat­er with Giu­liani and Giuliani’s asso­ciate Bernard Kerik, a for­mer New York City police com­mis­sion­er.

    Wal­dron said he joined the Penn­syl­va­nia law­mak­ers in the Nov. 25 meet­ing with Trump in the Oval Office. Dur­ing that peri­od, the pres­i­dent was meet­ing with leg­is­la­tors from key states and urg­ing them to reject the offi­cial vote counts in their states, accord­ing to pre­vi­ous reports.

    Describ­ing the meet­ing, Wal­dron told The Post that Trump “didn’t ask me any­thing.”

    “I was just there. He was more inter­est­ed in talk­ing to the leg­is­la­tors and under­stand­ing what hap­pened in the Penn­syl­va­nia elec­tions. . . . It was very infor­mal. He had a lot of con­ver­sa­tion with state leg­is­la­tors and sen­a­tors and just asked them, ‘What do you think?’ ”

    A Trump spokesman did not respond to a request for com­ment.

    Wal­dron said he went on to brief Sen. Ron John­son (R‑Wis.) and Johnson’s staff ahead of a Dec. 16 hear­ing on elec­tion fraud by the Sen­ate Home­land Secu­ri­ty Com­mit­tee. In a state­ment to The Post on Fri­day, John­son did not direct­ly address whether Wal­dron had briefed him and his staff. “My staff took meet­ings from many who could offer their exper­tise on elec­tion secu­ri­ty and to hear from those who had con­cerns about irreg­u­lar­i­ties ahead of my Decem­ber 16, 2020, hear­ing,” he said.

    Wal­dron said that on Jan. 5 he was among about a half-dozen peo­ple who briefed sev­er­al mem­bers of Con­gress in a con­gres­sion­al office. He declined to iden­ti­fy the mem­bers with­out their per­mis­sion and said that oth­ers may have joined by video. The mem­bers were “shocked” by the pre­sen­ta­tion but did not com­mit to any action, Wal­dron recalled.

    Wal­dron shared the 36-page pre­sen­ta­tion with the hosts of a con­ser­v­a­tive pod­cast and an online talk show lat­er in Jan­u­ary and dis­cussed parts of it in inter­views with them.

    Wal­dron, 57, who is based in Drip­ping Springs, Tex., told The Post that before the elec­tion, he start­ed work­ing with the Texas com­pa­ny Allied Secu­ri­ty Oper­a­tions Group (ASOG). Rus­sell J. Ram­s­land Jr., ASOG’s leader, was also pho­tographed at the Willard in the days before the riot, and East­man told The Post that he met Ram­s­land around that time. Over the pre­vi­ous two years, the firm pro­mot­ed claims about the dan­gers of elec­tron­ic vot­ing to a pro­ces­sion of con­ser­v­a­tive law­mak­ers, activists and donors, The Post has report­ed.

    Ram­s­land said in an email to The Post that he did not know who put the Pow­er­Point pre­sen­ta­tion togeth­er or who sent it to Mead­ows. He did not answer a ques­tion about his pres­ence at the Willard or his rela­tion­ship to Giuliani’s team.

    In 2018 and 2019, when Mead­ows was a con­gress­man from North Car­oli­na, his cam­paign paid ASOG more than $700 for “secu­ri­ty ser­vices,” accord­ing to cam­paign finance dis­clo­sures.

    Wal­dron served in the Army, Army Reserve, Texas Army Nation­al Guard and the Indi­vid­ual Ready Reserve from May 1986 to June 2016 and received mul­ti­ple ser­vice awards, an Army spokesman told The Post last year, adding that Wal­dron retired as a psy­cho­log­i­cal oper­a­tions and civ­il affairs offi­cer. Wal­dron was deployed to Iraq from 2004 to 2005, the spokesman said.

    Wal­dron has said that the team behind the Pow­er­Point includ­ed for­mer intel­li­gence offi­cers and mil­i­tary vet­er­ans and was sup­port­ed by hun­dreds of “dig­i­tal war­riors” who pro­vid­ed research. Jovan H. Pulitzer, a Texas-based entre­pre­neur who is a vocal elec­tion denier, told The Post that he con­tributed mate­r­i­al for it.

    “It was a pret­ty wide vari­ety of folks from around this coun­try that jumped in to say, ‘How can we help?’ ” Wal­dron told The Post.

    The Wal­dron team’s 36-page pre­sen­ta­tion includes sev­er­al slides that were pre­vi­ous­ly pub­lished else­where, includ­ing graphs pur­port­ing to show “vote injec­tions” in key states includ­ing Ari­zona and Penn­syl­va­nia.

    Some of the graphs appeared in a Nov. 24 blog post by Patrick Byrne, the founder and for­mer chief exec­u­tive of Overstock.com. The fol­low­ing day, Wal­dron held up a copy of the Penn­syl­va­nia graph when he tes­ti­fied in sup­port of Giu­liani at a meet­ing with state leg­is­la­tors in Get­tys­burg. Wal­dron claimed that the graph showed “spike anom­alies” that were signs of fraud.

    The Ari­zona graph appeared, with the same design, text and font, in a Dec. 1 affi­davit from Ram­s­land that pro-Trump lawyer Sid­ney Pow­ell includ­ed as pur­port­ed evi­dence of fraud in a law­suit seek­ing to “decer­ti­fy” Arizona’s elec­tion results.

    ...

    Since Jan­u­ary, Wal­dron has built a sig­nif­i­cant fol­low­ing among Trump sup­port­ers by con­tin­u­ing to spread false claims about elec­tion fraud, includ­ing onstage at an August con­fer­ence host­ed by MyP­il­low CEO Mike Lin­dell.

    Wal­dron also has pro­mot­ed the ongo­ing cam­paign for “audits” of the 2020 elec­tion, includ­ing the Repub­li­can-com­mis­sioned review of 2.1 mil­lion bal­lots cast in Mari­co­pa Coun­ty, Ariz.

    Ari­zona Sen­ate Pres­i­dent Karen Fann con­sult­ed Wal­dron in decid­ing to hire the Flori­da firm Cyber Nin­jas to con­duct that review, accord­ing to text mes­sages that the non­prof­it Amer­i­can Over­sight obtained through a pub­lic records request.

    Wal­dron was named in a 2020 state cor­po­rate fil­ing as the chief exec­u­tive of PointStream Inc. of Drip­ping Springs, which bills itself as a dis­creet cyber­se­cu­ri­ty firm. Spe­cial­ties that PointStream touts on its web­site include “deep access to the Inter­net of Things, Social Media, and Dark Web,” con­duct­ing untrace­able “cyber lurk­ing,” and pro­vid­ing data sets “vir­tu­al­ly unknown” to either pri­vate indus­try or the U.S. gov­ern­ment.

    PointStream was award­ed a lit­tle over $60,000 in fed­er­al con­tract­ing in 2018. Spend­ing records show the award was for “high­ly adap­tive cyber­se­cu­ri­ty ser­vices” for the Defense Department’s U.S. South­ern Com­mand.

    ...

    ———-

    “Elec­tion denier who cir­cu­lat­ed Jan. 6 Pow­er­Point says he met with Mead­ows at White House” by Emma Brown, Jon Swaine, Jacque­line Ale­many, Josh Dawsey and Tom Ham­burg­er; The Wash­ing­ton Post; 12/11/2021

    “The Pow­er­Point cir­cu­lat­ed by Wal­dron includ­ed pro­pos­als for Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence on Jan. 6 to reject elec­tors from “states where fraud occurred” or replace them with Repub­li­can elec­tors. It includ­ed a third pro­pos­al in which the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of Joe Biden’s vic­to­ry was to be delayed, and U.S. mar­shals and Nation­al Guard troops were to help “secure” and count paper bal­lots in key states.”

    They had options. All bad options, but they had them. All ready to go, as laid out in the mys­te­ri­ous Pow­er­Point pre­sen­ta­tion being cir­cu­la­tion by Phil Wal­dron in the days lead­ing up to Jan 6, with Trump’s chief of staff Mark Mead­ows receiv­ing the pre­sen­ta­tion the day before. It’s the fact that a doc­u­ment lay­ing out schemes for over­turn­ing the elec­tion was in the hands of Trump’s chief of staff a day before the insur­rec­tion that makes this Pow­er­Point pre­sen­ta­tion so sig­nif­i­cant to inves­ti­ga­tors. It’s a direct link between the Trump team and oper­a­tives push­ing the wildest sce­nar­ios for over­turn­ing the elec­tion:

    ...
    Phil Wal­dron, the retired colonel, was work­ing with Trump’s out­side lawyers and was part of a team that briefed the law­mak­ers on a Pow­er­Point pre­sen­ta­tion detail­ing “Options for 6 JAN,” Wal­dron told The Wash­ing­ton Post. He said his con­tri­bu­tion to the pre­sen­ta­tion focused on his claims of for­eign inter­fer­ence in the vote, as did his dis­cus­sions with the White House.

    A ver­sion of the pre­sen­ta­tion made its way to the White House chief of staff, Mark Mead­ows, on Jan. 5. That infor­ma­tion sur­faced pub­licly this past week after the con­gres­sion­al com­mit­tee inves­ti­gat­ing the insur­rec­tion released a let­ter that said Mead­ows had turned the doc­u­ment over to the com­mit­tee.

    ...

    Although Trump at the time was pres­sur­ing Pence to delay cer­ti­fy­ing Biden’s vic­to­ry, it is not clear how wide­ly the Pow­er­Point was cir­cu­lat­ed or how seri­ous­ly the ideas in it were con­sid­ered. A lawyer for Mead­ows, George J. Ter­williger III, said on Fri­day that there was no indi­ca­tion that Mead­ows did any­thing with the doc­u­ment after receiv­ing it by email. “We pro­duced it [to the com­mit­tee] because it was not priv­i­leged,” Ter­williger said. A Mead­ows spokesman, Ben Williamson, declined to com­ment. Wal­dron said he was not the per­son who sent the Pow­er­Point to Mead­ows.

    Still, Waldron’s account of his inter­ac­tions with the White House, togeth­er with a 36-page ver­sion of the pre­sen­ta­tion that sur­faced online this past week and was reviewed by The Post, shed new light on the wild the­o­ries and pro­pos­als that cir­cu­lat­ed among the peo­ple advis­ing Trump as they worked to over­turn his elec­tion defeat, caus­ing a cri­sis at the heart of gov­ern­ment. They sug­gest that Mead­ows, who also pressed senior Jus­tice Depart­ment lead­ers to inves­ti­gate base­less con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries about elec­tion fraud, was more direct­ly in con­tact with pro­po­nents of such the­o­ries than was pre­vi­ous­ly known.
    ...

    But Wal­dron’s direct inter­ac­tions with Mead­ows include a meet­ing around Christ­mas where Mead­ows asked Wal­dron what evi­dence would be required to estab­lish some sort of elec­tion hack. Mead­ows then indi­cat­ed he would pass on that evi­den­tiary wish-list to John Rat­cliffe, then the direc­tor of nation­al intel­li­gence:

    ...
    Wal­dron, a cyber­se­cu­ri­ty con­sul­tant who spe­cial­ized in psy­cho­log­i­cal oper­a­tions dur­ing his mil­i­tary career, said that a meet­ing he and oth­ers had with Mead­ows in the days around Christ­mas turned to ques­tions about how to deter­mine whether the elec­tion had been hacked. He said Mead­ows asked, “What do you need? What would help?” Wal­dron said his team devel­oped a list for Mead­ows with infor­ma­tion on IP address­es, servers and oth­er data that he believed need­ed to be inves­ti­gat­ed “using the pow­ers of the world’s great­est nation­al secu­ri­ty intel­li­gence appa­ra­tus.”

    One per­son famil­iar with what Wal­dron called a “shop­ping list” con­firmed the efforts to assem­ble it. That per­son, like some oth­ers quot­ed in this report, spoke on the con­di­tion of anonymi­ty to dis­cuss sen­si­tive mat­ters.

    Wal­dron said Mead­ows indi­cat­ed that he would pass the list on to John Rat­cliffe, then the direc­tor of nation­al intel­li­gence, but said he did not know whether Mead­ows ulti­mate­ly did. Through a spokesman, Rat­cliffe said he did not receive such a doc­u­ment.
    ...

    But Wal­dron’s rela­tions with Mead­ows is only one part of the sto­ry of his coor­di­na­tion with the Trump team. It was Rudy Giu­liani, act­ing as Trump’s per­son­al attor­ney, who was work­ing with Wal­dron going back to Novem­ber in the days fol­low­ing the elec­tion. Then there’s a Jan 5 meet­ing with sev­er­al mem­bers of con­gress in a con­gres­sion­al office. We still don’t have the iden­ti­fies of those mem­bers, but it’s hard to see how we can real­ly under­stand what was planned unless we know who was at that meet­ing and what they dis­cussed:

    ...
    Wal­dron said that he and Mead­ows “weren’t pen pals” and that their com­mu­ni­ca­tion was often through Trump’s per­son­al attor­ney Rudolph W. Giu­liani, who some­times asked him to “explain this to Mark” over the phone. Giu­liani did not respond to requests for com­ment.

    ...

    In ear­ly Jan­u­ary, Wal­dron was work­ing along­side Giu­liani and anoth­er Trump attor­ney, John C. East­man, from a suite at the Willard hotel in down­town Wash­ing­ton, gath­er­ing pur­port­ed evi­dence of elec­tion fraud, The Post pre­vi­ous­ly report­ed. Wal­dron was a sup­port­ing wit­ness for Giu­liani at hear­ings on elec­tion fraud held by law­mak­ers in bat­tle­ground states after the 2020 vote.

    ...

    Wal­dron said in the inter­view that he trav­eled to Wash­ing­ton around Nov. 9 or 10, 2020, and first met a few days lat­er with Giu­liani and Giuliani’s asso­ciate Bernard Kerik, a for­mer New York City police com­mis­sion­er.

    Wal­dron said he joined the Penn­syl­va­nia law­mak­ers in the Nov. 25 meet­ing with Trump in the Oval Office. Dur­ing that peri­od, the pres­i­dent was meet­ing with leg­is­la­tors from key states and urg­ing them to reject the offi­cial vote counts in their states, accord­ing to pre­vi­ous reports.

    ...

    Wal­dron said that on Jan. 5 he was among about a half-dozen peo­ple who briefed sev­er­al mem­bers of Con­gress in a con­gres­sion­al office. He declined to iden­ti­fy the mem­bers with­out their per­mis­sion and said that oth­ers may have joined by video. The mem­bers were “shocked” by the pre­sen­ta­tion but did not com­mit to any action, Wal­dron recalled.

    Wal­dron shared the 36-page pre­sen­ta­tion with the hosts of a con­ser­v­a­tive pod­cast and an online talk show lat­er in Jan­u­ary and dis­cussed parts of it in inter­views with them.
    ...

    Also note how Wal­dron’s cyber­se­cu­ri­ty firm, PointStream Inc, appears to offer ser­vices that sound an awful lot like hack­ing ser­vices. Ser­vices like con­duct­ing untrace­able “cyber lurk­ing,” and pro­vid­ing data sets “vir­tu­al­ly unknown” to either pri­vate indus­try or the U.S. gov­ern­ment. It’s some­thing to keep in mind for future sto­ries about Democ­rats get­ting oppor­tunis­ti­cal­ly hacked:

    ...
    Wal­dron was named in a 2020 state cor­po­rate fil­ing as the chief exec­u­tive of PointStream Inc. of Drip­ping Springs, which bills itself as a dis­creet cyber­se­cu­ri­ty firm. Spe­cial­ties that PointStream touts on its web­site include “deep access to the Inter­net of Things, Social Media, and Dark Web,” con­duct­ing untrace­able “cyber lurk­ing,” and pro­vid­ing data sets “vir­tu­al­ly unknown” to either pri­vate indus­try or the U.S. gov­ern­ment.

    PointStream was award­ed a lit­tle over $60,000 in fed­er­al con­tract­ing in 2018. Spend­ing records show the award was for “high­ly adap­tive cyber­se­cu­ri­ty ser­vices” for the Defense Department’s U.S. South­ern Com­mand.
    ...

    Final­ly, note how the com­pa­ny that was work­ing close­ly with Wal­don in this work, Allied Secu­ri­ty Oper­a­tions Group (ASOG), was paid $700 by then-con­gress­man Mark Mead­ow’s cam­paign in 2018 and 2019 for “secu­ri­ty ser­vices”. What was the nature of these “secu­ri­ty ser­vices”? We don’t know, but recall how it was Ted Cruz’s near loss fol­low­ing the 2018 mid-terms that prompt­ed Ram­s­land to become one of the key right-wing fig­ures spread­ing elec­tion-fraud con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries ever since 2018. So when we learn that Mark Mead­ow’s cam­paign paid for $700 in “secu­ri­ty ser­vices” in 2018–2019, you have to won­der if that expen­di­ture was in part an invest­ment in Ram­s­land’s mass vot­er-fraud activ­i­ties in antic­i­pa­tion for their use in 2020:

    ...
    Wal­dron, 57, who is based in Drip­ping Springs, Tex., told The Post that before the elec­tion, he start­ed work­ing with the Texas com­pa­ny Allied Secu­ri­ty Oper­a­tions Group (ASOG). Rus­sell J. Ram­s­land Jr., ASOG’s leader, was also pho­tographed at the Willard in the days before the riot, and East­man told The Post that he met Ram­s­land around that time. Over the pre­vi­ous two years, the firm pro­mot­ed claims about the dan­gers of elec­tron­ic vot­ing to a pro­ces­sion of con­ser­v­a­tive law­mak­ers, activists and donors, The Post has report­ed.

    ...

    In 2018 and 2019, when Mead­ows was a con­gress­man from North Car­oli­na, his cam­paign paid ASOG more than $700 for “secu­ri­ty ser­vices,” accord­ing to cam­paign finance dis­clo­sures.

    Wal­dron served in the Army, Army Reserve, Texas Army Nation­al Guard and the Indi­vid­ual Ready Reserve from May 1986 to June 2016 and received mul­ti­ple ser­vice awards, an Army spokesman told The Post last year, adding that Wal­dron retired as a psy­cho­log­i­cal oper­a­tions and civ­il affairs offi­cer. Wal­dron was deployed to Iraq from 2004 to 2005, the spokesman said.

    Wal­dron has said that the team behind the Pow­er­Point includ­ed for­mer intel­li­gence offi­cers and mil­i­tary vet­er­ans and was sup­port­ed by hun­dreds of “dig­i­tal war­riors” who pro­vid­ed research. Jovan H. Pulitzer, a Texas-based entre­pre­neur who is a vocal elec­tion denier, told The Post that he con­tributed mate­r­i­al for it.

    “It was a pret­ty wide vari­ety of folks from around this coun­try that jumped in to say, ‘How can we help?’ ” Wal­dron told The Post.
    ...

    So those are some of the new details we’ve learned about the role Phil Wal­dron, Rus­sell Ram­s­land, and the ASOG team of psy­cho­log­i­cal war­fare spe­cial­ists and “dig­i­tal war­riors” played in the months and days lead­ing up to Jan 6. Details that raise major ques­tions about how close­ly not just Trump was back­ing Wal­don’s pro­pos­als, but the entire GOP. As we saw, Wal­dron was­n’t just work­ing with Trump’s team. The was a Repub­li­can con­gres­sion­al del­e­ga­tion ded­i­cat­ed to over­turn­ing this elec­tion too.

    And as the fol­low­ing Guardian arti­cle from a cou­ple of weeks ago describes, it was Trump him­self who was open­ly ask­ing his top ‘lieu­tenants’ at the Willard Hotel — includ­ing Steve Ban­non — to come up with a last minute scheme to delay the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion just hours before the insur­rec­tion. Trump called the Willard Hotel “com­mand cen­ter” some time between the late evening of Jan 5 and ear­ly hours of Jan 6, inform­ing the group that Pence told him he would be unwill­ing to go along with any of the schemes John East­man laid out dur­ing a Jan 4 meet­ing. Some sort of ‘solu­tion’ that did­n’t require Pence was need­ed. A solu­tion that, instead, relied on Repub­li­can mem­bers of con­gress tak­ing steps to delay the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion for a day and buy the Trump team time. That was the plan put in place at the very last minute, with Rudy Giu­liani actu­al­ly going as far as meet­ing with one Repub­li­can mem­ber of con­gress pitch­ing this strat­e­gy. And while Giu­liani could­n’t find enough offi­cials to go along with him, he cer­tain­ly tried. It’s an impor­tant part of the con­text of this sto­ry in terms of the ques­tion of what role Trump him­self played on the insur­rec­tion: they were lit­er­al­ly devel­op­ing new schemes right up to the last minute:

    The Guardian

    Trump called aides hours before Capi­tol riot to dis­cuss how to stop Biden vic­to­ry

    Sources tell Guardian Trump pressed lieu­tenants at Willard hotel in Wash­ing­ton about ways to delay cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of elec­tion result

    Hugo Low­ell in Wash­ing­ton
    Tue 30 Nov 2021 08.36 EST
    First pub­lished on Tue 30 Nov 2021 02.00 EST

    Hours before the dead­ly attack on the US Capi­tol this year, Don­ald Trump made sev­er­al calls from the White House to top lieu­tenants at the Willard hotel in Wash­ing­ton and talked about ways to stop the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of Joe Biden’s elec­tion win from tak­ing place on 6 Jan­u­ary.

    The for­mer pres­i­dent first told the lieu­tenants his vice-pres­i­dent, Mike Pence, was reluc­tant to go along with the plan to com­man­deer his large­ly cer­e­mo­ni­al role at the joint ses­sion of Con­gress in a way that would allow Trump to retain the pres­i­den­cy for a sec­ond term.

    But as Trump relayed to them the sit­u­a­tion with Pence, he pressed his lieu­tenants about how to stop Biden’s cer­ti­fi­ca­tion from tak­ing place on 6 Jan­u­ary, and delay the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion process to get alter­nate slates of elec­tors for Trump sent to Con­gress.

    The for­mer president’s remarks came as part of strat­e­gy dis­cus­sions he had from the White House with the lieu­tenants at the Willard – a team led by Trump lawyers Rudy Giu­liani, John East­man, Boris Epshteyn and Trump strate­gist Steve Ban­non – about delay­ing the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion.

    Mul­ti­ple sources, speak­ing to the Guardian on the con­di­tion of anonymi­ty, described Trump’s involve­ment in the effort to sub­vert the results of the 2020 elec­tion.

    Trump’s remarks reveal a direct line from the White House and the com­mand cen­ter at the Willard. The con­ver­sa­tions also show Trump’s thoughts appear to be in line with the moti­va­tions of the pro-Trump mob that car­ried out the Capi­tol attack and halt­ed Biden’s cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, until it was lat­er rat­i­fied by Con­gress.

    The for­mer president’s call to the Willard hotel about stop­ping Biden’s cer­ti­fi­ca­tion is increas­ing­ly a cen­tral focus of the House select committee’s inves­ti­ga­tion into the Capi­tol attack, as it rais­es the specter of a pos­si­ble con­nec­tion between Trump and the insur­rec­tion.

    Sev­er­al Trump lawyers at the Willard that night deny Trump sought to stop the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of Biden’s elec­tion win. They say they only con­sid­ered delay­ing Biden’s cer­ti­fi­ca­tion at the request of state leg­is­la­tors because of vot­er fraud.

    The for­mer pres­i­dent made sev­er­al calls to the lieu­tenants at the Willard the night before 6 Jan­u­ary. He phoned the lawyers and the non-lawyers sep­a­rate­ly, as Giu­liani did not want non-lawyers to par­tic­i­pate on legal calls and jeop­ar­dise attor­ney-client priv­i­lege.

    Trump’s call to the lieu­tenants came a day after East­man, a late addi­tion to the Trump legal team, out­lined at a 4 Jan­u­ary meet­ing at the White House how he thought Pence could usurp his role in order to stop Biden’s cer­ti­fi­ca­tion from hap­pen­ing at the joint ses­sion.

    At the meet­ing, which was held in the Oval Office and attend­ed by Trump, Pence, Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short, and his legal coun­sel, Greg Jacob, East­man pre­sent­ed a memo that detailed how Pence could insert him­self into the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion and delay the process.

    The memo out­lined sev­er­al ways for Pence to com­man­deer his role at the joint ses­sion, includ­ing throw­ing the elec­tion to the House, or adjourn­ing the ses­sion to give states time to send slates of elec­tors for Trump on the basis of elec­tion fraud – Eastman’s pref­er­ence.

    The then act­ing attor­ney gen­er­al, Jeff Rosen, and his pre­de­ces­sor, Bill Barr, who had both been appoint­ed by Trump, had already deter­mined there was no evi­dence of fraud suf­fi­cient to change the out­come of the 2020 elec­tion.

    East­man told the Guardian last month that the memo only pre­sent­ed sce­nar­ios and was not intend­ed as advice. “The advice I gave the vice-pres­i­dent very explic­it­ly was that I did not think he had the author­i­ty sim­ply to declare which elec­tors to count,” East­man said.

    Trump seized on the memo – first report­ed by Wash­ing­ton Post jour­nal­ists Bob Wood­ward and Robert Cos­ta in their book Per­il – and pushed Pence to adopt the schemes, which some of the oth­er lieu­tenants at the Willard lat­er told Trump were legit­i­mate ways to flip the elec­tion.

    But Pence resist­ed Trump’s entreaties, and told him in the Oval Office the next day that Trump should count him out of what­ev­er plans he had to sub­vert the results of the 2020 elec­tion at the joint ses­sion, because he did not intend to take part.

    Trump was furi­ous at Pence for refus­ing to do him a final favor when, in the crit­i­cal moment under­pin­ning the effort to rein­stall Trump as pres­i­dent, he phoned lieu­tenants at the Willard some­time between the late evening on 5 Jan­u­ary and the ear­ly hours of 6 Jan­u­ary.

    From the White House, Trump made sev­er­al calls to lieu­tenants, includ­ing Giu­liani, East­man, Epshteyn and Ban­non, who were hud­dled in suites com­plete with espres­so machines and Cokes in a mini-fridge in the north-west cor­ner of the hotel.

    On the calls, the for­mer pres­i­dent first recount­ed what had tran­spired in the Oval Office meet­ing with Pence, inform­ing Ban­non and the lawyers at the Willard that his vice-pres­i­dent appeared ready to aban­don him at the joint ses­sion in sev­er­al hours’ time.

    “He’s arro­gant,” Trump, for instance, told Ban­non of Pence – his own way of com­mu­ni­cat­ing that Pence was unlike­ly to play ball – in an exchange report­ed in Per­il and con­firmed by the Guardian.

    But on at least one of those calls, Trump also sought from the lawyers at the Willard ways to stop the joint ses­sion to ensure Biden would not be cer­ti­fied as pres­i­dent on 6 Jan­u­ary, as part of a wider dis­cus­sion about buy­ing time to get states to send Trump elec­tors.

    The fall­back that Trump and his lieu­tenants appeared to set­tle on was to cajole Repub­li­can mem­bers of Con­gress to raise enough objec­tions so that even with­out Pence adjourn­ing the joint ses­sion, the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion process would be delayed for states to send Trump slates.

    It was not clear whether Trump dis­cussed on the call about the prospect of stop­ping Biden’s cer­ti­fi­ca­tion by any means if Pence refused to insert him­self into the process, but the for­mer pres­i­dent is said to have enjoyed watch­ing the insur­rec­tion unfold from the din­ing room.

    But the fact that Trump con­sid­ered ways to stop the joint ses­sion may help to explain why he was so reluc­tant to call off the riot­ers and why the Repub­li­can sen­a­tor Ben Sasse told the con­ser­v­a­tive talk­show host Hugh Hewitt that he heard Trump seemed “delight­ed” about the attack.

    The lead Trump lawyer at the Willard, Giu­liani, appear­ing to fol­low that fall­back plan, called at least one Repub­li­can sen­a­tor lat­er that same evening, ask­ing him to help keep Con­gress adjourned and stall the joint ses­sion beyond 6 Jan­u­ary.

    In a voice­mail record­ed at about 7pm on 6 Jan­u­ary, and report­ed by the Dis­patch, Giu­liani implored the Repub­li­can sen­a­tor Tom­my Tuberville to object to 10 states Biden won once Con­gress recon­vened at 8pm, a process that would have con­clud­ed 15 hours lat­er, close to 7 Jan­u­ary.

    “The only strat­e­gy we can fol­low is to object to numer­ous states and raise issues so that we get our­selves into tomor­row – ide­al­ly until the end of tomor­row,” Giu­liani said.

    Liz Har­ring­ton, a spokesper­son for Trump, dis­put­ed the account of Trump’s call after pub­li­ca­tion. “This is total­ly false,” Har­ring­ton said, with­out giv­ing specifics. Giu­liani did not respond to a request for com­ment. East­man, Epshteyn and Ban­non declined to com­ment.

    Trump made sev­er­al calls the day before the Capi­tol attack from both the White House res­i­dence, his pre­ferred place to work, as well as the West Wing, but it was not cer­tain from which loca­tion he phoned his top lieu­tenants at the Willard.

    The White House res­i­dence and its Yel­low Oval Room – a Trump favorite – is sig­nif­i­cant since com­mu­ni­ca­tions there, includ­ing from a desk phone, are not auto­mat­i­cal­ly memo­ri­al­ized in records sent to the Nation­al Archives after the end of an admin­is­tra­tion.

    But even if Trump called his lieu­tenants from the West Wing, the select com­mit­tee may not be able to ful­ly uncov­er the extent of his involve­ment in the events of 6 Jan­u­ary, unless House inves­ti­ga­tors secure tes­ti­mo­ny from indi­vid­u­als with knowl­edge of the calls.

    That dif­fi­cul­ty aris­es since calls from the White House are not nec­es­sar­i­ly record­ed, and call detail records that the select com­mit­tee is suing to pry free from the Nation­al Archives over Trump’s objec­tions about exec­u­tive priv­i­lege, only show the des­ti­na­tion of the calls.

    ...

    ———–

    “Trump called aides hours before Capi­tol riot to dis­cuss how to stop Biden vic­to­ry” by Hugo Low­ell; The Guardian; 11/30/2021

    Trump’s remarks reveal a direct line from the White House and the com­mand cen­ter at the Willard. The con­ver­sa­tions also show Trump’s thoughts appear to be in line with the moti­va­tions of the pro-Trump mob that car­ried out the Capi­tol attack and halt­ed Biden’s cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, until it was lat­er rat­i­fied by Con­gress.”

    A direct line from the White House to the “com­mand cen­ter” at the Willard hotel. Well, two direct lines. One for the lawyers and one for the non-lawyers, so attor­ney-client priv­i­lege would­n’t be jeop­ar­dized:

    ...
    The for­mer pres­i­dent first told the lieu­tenants his vice-pres­i­dent, Mike Pence, was reluc­tant to go along with the plan to com­man­deer his large­ly cer­e­mo­ni­al role at the joint ses­sion of Con­gress in a way that would allow Trump to retain the pres­i­den­cy for a sec­ond term.

    But as Trump relayed to them the sit­u­a­tion with Pence, he pressed his lieu­tenants about how to stop Biden’s cer­ti­fi­ca­tion from tak­ing place on 6 Jan­u­ary, and delay the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion process to get alter­nate slates of elec­tors for Trump sent to Con­gress.

    The for­mer president’s remarks came as part of strat­e­gy dis­cus­sions he had from the White House with the lieu­tenants at the Willard – a team led by Trump lawyers Rudy Giu­liani, John East­man, Boris Epshteyn and Trump strate­gist Steve Ban­non – about delay­ing the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion.

    ...

    The for­mer pres­i­dent made sev­er­al calls to the lieu­tenants at the Willard the night before 6 Jan­u­ary. He phoned the lawyers and the non-lawyers sep­a­rate­ly, as Giu­liani did not want non-lawyers to par­tic­i­pate on legal calls and jeop­ar­dise attor­ney-client priv­i­lege.
    ...

    One round of direct calls from the White House to the Willard hotel “com­mand cen­ter” took place some time between late evening on Jan 5 and the ear­ly hours of Jan 6. Trump informed the team that Pence was­n’t going to play along with the schemes laid out by John East­man on Jan 4 and sought a means of delay­ing the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion. While we don’t know the con­tents of the call, it was pret­ty clear­ly a very incrim­i­nat­ing con­ver­sa­tion:

    ...
    Trump’s call to the lieu­tenants came a day after East­man, a late addi­tion to the Trump legal team, out­lined at a 4 Jan­u­ary meet­ing at the White House how he thought Pence could usurp his role in order to stop Biden’s cer­ti­fi­ca­tion from hap­pen­ing at the joint ses­sion.

    At the meet­ing, which was held in the Oval Office and attend­ed by Trump, Pence, Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short, and his legal coun­sel, Greg Jacob, East­man pre­sent­ed a memo that detailed how Pence could insert him­self into the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion and delay the process.

    The memo out­lined sev­er­al ways for Pence to com­man­deer his role at the joint ses­sion, includ­ing throw­ing the elec­tion to the House, or adjourn­ing the ses­sion to give states time to send slates of elec­tors for Trump on the basis of elec­tion fraud – Eastman’s pref­er­ence.

    ...

    Trump seized on the memo – first report­ed by Wash­ing­ton Post jour­nal­ists Bob Wood­ward and Robert Cos­ta in their book Per­il – and pushed Pence to adopt the schemes, which some of the oth­er lieu­tenants at the Willard lat­er told Trump were legit­i­mate ways to flip the elec­tion.

    But Pence resist­ed Trump’s entreaties, and told him in the Oval Office the next day that Trump should count him out of what­ev­er plans he had to sub­vert the results of the 2020 elec­tion at the joint ses­sion, because he did not intend to take part..

    Trump was furi­ous at Pence for refus­ing to do him a final favor when, in the crit­i­cal moment under­pin­ning the effort to rein­stall Trump as pres­i­dent, he phoned lieu­tenants at the Willard some­time between the late evening on 5 Jan­u­ary and the ear­ly hours of 6 Jan­u­ary.

    From the White House, Trump made sev­er­al calls to lieu­tenants, includ­ing Giu­liani, East­man, Epshteyn and Ban­non, who were hud­dled in suites com­plete with espres­so machines and Cokes in a mini-fridge in the north-west cor­ner of the hotel.

    On the calls, the for­mer pres­i­dent first recount­ed what had tran­spired in the Oval Office meet­ing with Pence, inform­ing Ban­non and the lawyers at the Willard that his vice-pres­i­dent appeared ready to aban­don him at the joint ses­sion in sev­er­al hours’ time.

    “He’s arro­gant,” Trump, for instance, told Ban­non of Pence – his own way of com­mu­ni­cat­ing that Pence was unlike­ly to play ball – in an exchange report­ed in Per­il and con­firmed by the Guardian.
    ...

    And note how they real­ly did appear to devel­op a plan that did­n’t require Mike Pence’s coop­er­a­tion. A plant Giu­liani tried to put in place. He just need­ed enough will­ing Repub­li­can offi­cials who were will­ing to play along:

    ...
    But on at least one of those calls, Trump also sought from the lawyers at the Willard ways to stop the joint ses­sion to ensure Biden would not be cer­ti­fied as pres­i­dent on 6 Jan­u­ary, as part of a wider dis­cus­sion about buy­ing time to get states to send Trump elec­tors.

    The fall­back that Trump and his lieu­tenants appeared to set­tle on was to cajole Repub­li­can mem­bers of Con­gress to raise enough objec­tions so that even with­out Pence adjourn­ing the joint ses­sion, the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion process would be delayed for states to send Trump slates.

    ...

    The lead Trump lawyer at the Willard, Giu­liani, appear­ing to fol­low that fall­back plan, called at least one Repub­li­can sen­a­tor lat­er that same evening, ask­ing him to help keep Con­gress adjourned and stall the joint ses­sion beyond 6 Jan­u­ary.

    In a voice­mail record­ed at about 7pm on 6 Jan­u­ary, and report­ed by the Dis­patch, Giu­liani implored the Repub­li­can sen­a­tor Tom­my Tuberville to object to 10 states Biden won once Con­gress recon­vened at 8pm, a process that would have con­clud­ed 15 hours lat­er, close to 7 Jan­u­ary.

    “The only strat­e­gy we can fol­low is to object to numer­ous states and raise issues so that we get our­selves into tomor­row – ide­al­ly until the end of tomor­row,” Giu­liani said.
    ...

    Giu­liani was lit­er­al­ly lob­by­ing sen­a­tor Tuberville at 7PM on Jan 6, hours fol­low­ing the insur­rec­tion and hours after the elec­toral cer­ti­fi­ca­tion was sched­uled to hap­pen. So in that sense, the insur­rec­tion did kind of work. The cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of the vote was delayed, giv­ing Giu­lani a few extra hours of lob­by­ing. It all rais­es the dis­turb­ing ques­tion: so just how close was this delay-with­out-Mike-Pence scheme to work­ing had the insur­rec­tion not hap­pened? Like, what what if the Capi­tol had­n’t been ran­sacked hours ear­li­er, and Giu­liani had sim­ply aggres­sive­ly lob­bied more mem­bers of con­gress to take steps to block the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion? In oth­er words, while we’ve under­stand­ably been focused on the insur­rec­tion itself, there’s a par­al­lel ques­tion of what would have hap­pened had the full blown insur­rec­tion not played out the way it did. And the answer to that ques­tion depends heav­i­ly on just what oth­er schemes did Phil Wal­dron, John East­man, Steve Ban­non, and the rest of the Willard “com­mand cen­ter” have in mind oth­er than just the insur­rec­tion? Schemes they just need­ed a few more hours of lob­by­ing to ham­mer out.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 15, 2021, 3:43 pm
  29. Roger Stone did exact­ly what we should have expect­ed this week: Stone assert­ed his Fifth Amend­ment right against self-incrim­i­na­tion in the face of ques­tions by the House pan­el inves­ti­gat­ing the Jan­u­ary 6 Capi­tol insur­rec­tion. As Stone insist­ed, the move was “not because I have done any­thing wrong, but because I am ful­ly aware of the House Democ­rats’ long his­to­ry of fab­ri­cat­ing per­jury charges.” It’s more or less the nar­ra­tive we can expect from most of the rest of the fig­ures tar­get­ed in this inves­ti­ga­tion. But as we’ll see in the fol­low­ing arti­cle, Roger Stone is in a poten­tial­ly very dif­fer­ent legal sit­u­a­tion from most of the rest of the fig­ures sus­pect­ed of play­ing lead­er­ship roles in orches­trat­ing the Jan­u­ary 6 Capi­tol insur­rec­tion. Stone can’t claim exec­u­tive priv­i­lege. His oper­a­tion — the ‘Stop the Steal’ move­ment that orga­nized the ral­ly that devolved into the Capi­tol mob — was osten­si­bly work­ing entire­ly sep­a­rate­ly from the Trump cam­paign. That’s Stone’s sto­ry. There was no com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

    And in par­tic­u­lar, Stone insists there was no com­mu­ni­ca­tion between his ‘Stop the Steal’ head­quar­ters that was oper­at­ing out of the Willard Hotel in down­town DC and the whole Trump cam­paign oper­a­tion led by Rudy Giu­liani, Bernard Kerik, and Phil Wal­dron that was also head­quar­tered out of that hotel dur­ing this same peri­od. That’s what we’ve been told by these groups. No com­mu­ni­ca­tion at all. It’s an under­stand­able asser­tion from a legal stand­point but it nev­er real­ly made sense from the stand­point of what actu­al­ly hap­pened that day. Stone’s oper­a­tion was obvi­ous­ly in at least some con­tact with Giuliani/Kerik/Waldron oper­a­tion. Why would­n’t they be? They were work­ing towards the same goal. And yet we were emphat­i­cal­ly told there was no com­mu­ni­ca­tion between Stone’s ‘Stop the Steal’ activ­i­ties and the Trump legal time while they shared the Willard Hotel which was basi­cal­ly the Trump cam­paign’s legal team.

    So Stone’s legal predica­ment appears to poten­tial­ly be a kind of weak spot in the Trump team’s legal armor: he can’t claim exec­u­tive priv­i­lege, and yet he also appears to have been adja­cent to heart of the Trump team’s own oper­a­tions work­ing on the exact same goal. But as we’ve seen, Stone’s prox­im­i­ty to the Trump team work­ing out of the Willard Hotel is only one of the aspects of the this sto­ry that Stone was involved with. Recall the reports of the Oath Keep­ers car­ry­ing out per­son­al secu­ri­ty roles for fig­ures like Roger Stone and Oath Keep­er Jes­si­ca Watkins being allowed into the VIP area of the Stop the Steal ral­ly where the Trump Team was locat­ed. Also recall how Car­o­line Wren, the for­mer deputy to Don­ald Trump Jr.‘s girl­friend Kim­ber­ly Guil­foyle, was act­ing as the liai­son between the Trump cam­paign and Pub­lix heiress Julie Fran­cel­li. Guil­foyle, her­self was also deeply involved in man­ag­ing the rela­tion­ship with Fran­cel­li, who was financ­ing much of the Stop the Steal effort and was keen­ing inter­est­ing in help­ing Trump stay in pow­er through what­ev­er means were nec­es­sary. And not only was Fran­cel­li a huge fan of Alex Jones, but we learned that on the night of Jan­u­ary 5, Wren argued that the speak­ers list planned for the Stop the Steal ral­ly did­n’t include speak­ers that were will­ing to go far enough and should include figues like Jones and Roger Stone. Guil­foyle con­curred at the meet­ing. Wren was so adamant on these speak­ers on the morn­ing of Jan 6 the White House called the US Capi­tol Police to have her escort­ed rom the Ellipse It was Wren who even­tu­al­ly escort­ed both Jones and Stone away from the ral­ly ear­ly so they could lead the march to the Capi­tol. So there was an intense last minute push to get Stone, Jones, and oth­er speak­ers who would be will­ing to say the most extreme kinds of things added to the speak­ers list.

    And that’s just what we know about. What else was Roger Stone up to? These are all the kinds of ques­tions Stone is refus­ing to answer while insist­ing he has noth­ing to hide. So giv­en that Stone is refus­ing to self-impli­cate by plead­ing the Fifth, it’s going to be inter­est­ing to see how many of the third-par­ty he was schem­ing with end up shar­ing his refusal to coop­er­ate. It’s one of the tricky aspects of plead­ing the Fifth: Plead­ing the Fifth only works when every­one else involved pleads the Fifth too, and there are A LOT of oth­er peo­ple involved with Roger Stone’s Jan 6 shenani­gans because he appears to have been oper­at­ing near the cen­ter of all:

    The Inde­pen­dent

    Long­time Trump advis­er Roger Stone to plead the Fifth at Jan 6 depo­si­tion
    Stone was sub­poe­naed along­side con­spir­a­cy the­o­rist Alex Jones ear­li­er this year

    John Bow­den
    12/17/2021

    Roger Stone, the the long­time con­fi­dante of for­mer Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump who was par­doned by his ally after being con­vict­ed of crimes in con­nec­tion with spe­cial coun­sel Robert Mueller’s inves­ti­ga­tion, is set to plead the Fifth Amend­ment when he appears before the 6 Jan­u­ary com­mit­tee.

    Mr Stone’s lawyer con­firmed the strat­e­gy for the depo­si­tion on Fri­day to reporters at CNN and Politi­co. Mr Stone’s plans are some­what unique among mem­bers of Mr Trump’s inner cir­cle, who until now have large­ly either com­plied with the committee’s demands or attempt­ed to defy sub­poe­nas, in the cas­es of Mark Mead­ows and Steve Ban­non.

    Unlike for­mer mem­bers of the Trump admin­is­tra­tion, Mr Stone can­not hide behind a shield of exec­u­tive priv­i­lege that the for­mer pres­i­dent has attempt­ed to throw over his allies, who have con­tend­ed that some of the infor­ma­tion request­ed by the com­mit­tee is pro­tect­ed from release. That argu­ment has failed twice in the courts, and is now like­ly head­ed for a rul­ing at the US Supreme Court..

    The committee’s inter­est in Mr Stone is straight­for­ward: He was a guest in the Wash­ing­ton DC Willard Hotel in the days lead­ing up to the 6 Jan­u­ary attack on the Capi­tol; the Willard served as a sort of “com­mand cen­ter” for the efforts of Mr Trump’s allies includ­ing Rudy Giu­liani and for­mer New York City police com­mis­sion­er Bernard Kerik as they attempt­ed to over­turn the 2020 elec­tion results in states across the coun­try.

    At the hotel, a plan emerged in which Mr Trump’s allies were hop­ing to per­suade Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence to declare the votes of states where the Trump cam­paign had base­less­ly alleged fraud as invalid in the hopes that state leg­is­la­tures would select new Trump-sup­port­ing elec­tors to cast their Elec­toral Col­lege votes or even pos­si­bly throw the elec­tion to the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives for a vote.

    That plan nev­er mate­ri­alised, as Mr Pence refused to inter­fere in the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion process and some GOP sen­a­tors lost their will to sup­port objec­tions to indi­vid­ual states’ results fol­low­ing the attack on the US Capi­tol. Still, allies of Mr Trump, includ­ing Rep Jim Jor­dan, were push­ing for the plan to be enact­ed right up until the riot over­took the US Capi­tol, accord­ing to text mes­sages uncov­ered by the House select com­mit­tee.

    ...

    ———-
    “Long­time Trump advis­er Roger Stone to plead the Fifth at Jan 6 depo­si­tion” by John Bow­den; The Inde­pen­dent; 12/17/2021

    Unlike for­mer mem­bers of the Trump admin­is­tra­tion, Mr Stone can­not hide behind a shield of exec­u­tive priv­i­lege that the for­mer pres­i­dent has attempt­ed to throw over his allies, who have con­tend­ed that some of the infor­ma­tion request­ed by the com­mit­tee is pro­tect­ed from release. That argu­ment has failed twice in the courts, and is now like­ly head­ed for a rul­ing at the US Supreme Court.”

    He could­n’t plead exec­u­tive priv­i­lege, and that just leaves plead­ing the fifth. Will Roger Stone’s legal antics win in the end?

    Also regard­ing the last-minute lob­by­ing by the Trump team to con­vince Repub­li­can elect­ed offi­cials to take it upon them­selves to stall the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of the elec­toral vote fol­low­ing Mike Pence’s Jan 5 refusal to go along with their schemes, note that the lob­by­ing did­n’t tech­ni­cal­ly end the night of Jan­u­ary 5. Recall how we are told that Rudy Giu­liani lit­er­al­ly left a voice­mail at 7 PM on Jan­u­ary 6, hours after the insur­rec­tion, implor­ing Sen­a­tor Tom­my Tuberville to block the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion. It’s a poten­tial­ly cru­cial aspect to this sto­ry: the insur­rec­tion was buy­ing time that was being used for this last-minute lob­by­ing or Repub­li­can elect­ed offi­cials:

    ...
    The committee’s inter­est in Mr Stone is straight­for­ward: He was a guest in the Wash­ing­ton DC Willard Hotel in the days lead­ing up to the 6 Jan­u­ary attack on the Capi­tol; the Willard served as a sort of “com­mand cen­ter” for the efforts of Mr Trump’s allies includ­ing Rudy Giu­liani and for­mer New York City police com­mis­sion­er Bernard Kerik as they attempt­ed to over­turn the 2020 elec­tion results in states across the coun­try.

    At the hotel, a plan emerged in which Mr Trump’s allies were hop­ing to per­suade Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence to declare the votes of states where the Trump cam­paign had base­less­ly alleged fraud as invalid in the hopes that state leg­is­la­tures would select new Trump-sup­port­ing elec­tors to cast their Elec­toral Col­lege votes or even pos­si­bly throw the elec­tion to the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives for a vote.

    That plan nev­er mate­ri­alised, as Mr Pence refused to inter­fere in the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion process and some GOP sen­a­tors lost their will to sup­port objec­tions to indi­vid­ual states’ results fol­low­ing the attack on the US Capi­tol. Still, allies of Mr Trump, includ­ing Rep Jim Jor­dan, were push­ing for the plan to be enact­ed right up until the riot over­took the US Capi­tol, accord­ing to text mes­sages uncov­ered by the House select com­mit­tee.
    ...

    Ok, and now here’s an arti­cle from last month describ­ing a relat­ed legal com­pli­ca­tion for the attempts to shield the activ­i­ties of the teams oper­at­ing out of the Willard Hotel: It turns out no one want­ed to pay Rudy Giu­liani and Bernie Kerik for their ini­tial post-elec­tion efforts to inves­ti­ga­tion the elec­tion results. The RNC did­n’t want to pay them and nei­ther did the Trump cam­paign. It was only after an appar­ent inter­ven­tion by Jea­nine Pir­ro that they final­ly got paid...by the Trump cam­paign. And that could end up being a big mis­take. Because cam­paign activ­i­ty can’t hide behind the shield of exec­u­tive priv­i­lege. So it’s not just Roger Stone who pos­es a threat to the veil of secre­cy shroud­ing the activ­i­ties at the Willard Hotel

    The Wash­ing­ton Post

    Trump cam­paign pay­ments for ‘com­mand cen­ters’ at D.C. hotels could under­mine exec­u­tive priv­i­lege claim in Jan. 6 inves­ti­ga­tion

    By Jacque­line Ale­many, Josh Dawsey, Emma Brown and Tom Ham­burg­er
    Novem­ber 3, 2021 at 5:05 p.m. EDT

    It was a month after the 2020 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, and Bernard Kerik was start­ing to pan­ic. The for­mer New York City police chief and his friend Rudolph W. Giu­liani were shelling out thou­sands of dol­lars for hotel rooms and trav­el in their effort to find evi­dence of vot­ing fraud and per­suade state leg­is­la­tors to over­turn Joe Biden’s vic­to­ry.

    Yet Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s cam­paign had turned down Kerik’s request for a cam­paign cred­it card. The bills were pil­ing up. “How do I know I’m gonna get my mon­ey back?” Kerik remem­bers think­ing to him­self at the time, accord­ing to a recent inter­view he did with The Wash­ing­ton Post.

    The bills went unpaid until after Fox News per­son­al­i­ty Jea­nine Pir­ro went to bat on their behalf, accord­ing to a Repub­li­can offi­cial, who like some oth­ers inter­viewed for this arti­cle spoke on the con­di­tion of anonymi­ty to dis­cuss pri­vate con­ver­sa­tions. Soon after, the cam­paign cut Kerik a check — with Trump’s approval, accord­ing to a for­mer senior cam­paign offi­cial.

    That move, in mid-Decem­ber, smoothed the way for what would even­tu­al­ly be more than $225,000 in cam­paign pay­ments to firms owned by Kerik and Giu­liani — includ­ing more than $50,000 for rooms and suites at the posh Willard hotel in Wash­ing­ton that served as a “com­mand cen­ter” for efforts to deny Biden the pres­i­den­cy in the days lead­ing up to the attack on the Capi­tol on Jan. 6.

    The fact that cam­paign funds were used to finance efforts to sub­vert Biden’s vic­to­ry could com­pli­cate the for­mer president’s ongo­ing attempt to use claims of exec­u­tive priv­i­lege to shield doc­u­ments and tes­ti­mo­ny from the con­gres­sion­al com­mit­tee inves­ti­gat­ing Jan. 6, accord­ing to some legal schol­ars.

    The con­gres­sion­al pan­el has made sweep­ing requests to the archivist of the Unit­ed States for papers from the Trump White House, includ­ing for all doc­u­ments stretch­ing back to April 2020 that relate to efforts to chal­lenge the results of the elec­tion or delay the count­ing of elec­toral col­lege votes.
    Adver­tise­ment

    The requests specif­i­cal­ly name dozens of peo­ple, includ­ing Kerik, Giu­liani and oth­ers who were present in the Willard com­mand cen­ter, such as for­mer White House strate­gic advis­er Stephen K. Ban­non and legal schol­ar John East­man. East­man wrote two mem­os lay­ing out legal argu­ments for Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence to either reject Biden’s elec­toral votes on Jan. 6 or delay cer­ti­fy­ing the results so that states could con­duct fur­ther inves­ti­ga­tions.

    Trump has asked a fed­er­al court to block the release of the doc­u­ments, claim­ing that they are pro­tect­ed by exec­u­tive priv­i­lege. And Ban­non, fac­ing a sub­poe­na from the com­mit­tee, has cit­ed Trump’s exec­u­tive priv­i­lege claims as a rea­son for his refusal to com­ply.

    The use of cam­paign funds “fur­ther under­mines a wild­ly broad asser­tion of exec­u­tive priv­i­lege” by Trump, said Richard Ben-Veniste, a for­mer Water­gate pros­e­cu­tor. “Exec­u­tive priv­i­lege is typ­i­cal­ly lim­it­ed to the pro­tec­tion of com­mu­ni­ca­tions involv­ing a president’s offi­cial duties — not to those relat­ing to per­son­al or polit­i­cal cam­paign mat­ters,” Ben-Veniste said.

    Con­ser­v­a­tive lawyer Alan Der­showitz dis­put­ed that assess­ment, claim­ing that “a lot of things that are done on behalf of an incum­bent pres­i­dent are done by cam­paigns.”

    But fel­low con­ser­v­a­tive and for­mer Jus­tice Depart­ment offi­cial John Yoo agreed with Ben-Veniste. “If he acts as a pres­i­dent, he gets these things we talk about — exec­u­tive priv­i­lege and immu­ni­ty. But if he’s act­ing as a can­di­date, he’s deprived of all of those pro­tec­tions,” said Yoo, one of the stal­wart con­ser­v­a­tive legal schol­ars who advised Pence’s staff that there was no basis for the vice pres­i­dent to inter­vene in the count­ing of elec­toral votes on Jan. 6.

    Tay­lor Budowich, a spokesman for Trump, said that the for­mer pres­i­dent “is mak­ing exec­u­tive priv­i­lege deter­mi­na­tions care­ful­ly, based on the mer­its and in accor­dance with law and cus­toms of inter­branch comi­ty.” He accused the Biden admin­is­tra­tion of “jeop­ar­diz­ing the office of the pres­i­den­cy by refus­ing to assert priv­i­lege over clear­ly priv­i­leged doc­u­ments.”

    ...

    One day after the elec­tion, Kerik arrived at Trump cam­paign head­quar­ters in Arling­ton to help Giu­liani, his friend and for­mer boss. Kerik said he expect­ed to find a bustling legal oper­a­tion with staffers work­ing over­time to ramp up inves­ti­ga­tions of elec­tion fraud.

    Instead, he said, he found Giu­liani with only a skele­ton staff in a giant con­fer­ence room.

    In the ear­ly days of their post-elec­tion fight, they and oth­ers stayed at the Man­darin Ori­en­tal in down­town Wash­ing­ton while work­ing out of the Trump cam­paign head­quar­ters across the Potomac, accord­ing to Kerik.

    But after a case of covid at cam­paign head­quar­ters, the Man­darin became their office, too.

    “We had actu­al­ly peo­ple from a num­ber of fed­er­al agen­cies that came to see [Giu­liani] — state leg­is­la­tors, staffers from mem­bers of Con­gress,” said one per­son famil­iar with the oper­a­tion at the Man­darin, who declined to name indi­vid­u­als. “That hap­pened to be our office and head­quar­ters, our com­mand room — what­ev­er you want to call it. That’s where we were.”

    Giu­liani and the team in Wash­ing­ton focused on mak­ing the case to the pub­lic and to leg­is­la­tors in key states, try­ing to per­suade them that they were empow­ered by the Con­sti­tu­tion to switch their state’s elec­toral votes to Trump.

    In those first weeks, Kerik put some of the bills for Giuliani’s oper­a­tion on his per­son­al cred­it card, includ­ing part of the extend­ed stay at the Man­darin.

    Kerik said he also cov­ered hotel rooms, trav­el, trans­porta­tion and food for a trip the team took to Lans­ing, Mich., in ear­ly Decem­ber. Dur­ing that trip, Giu­liani pre­sent­ed debunked claims of elec­tion fraud to the Michi­gan House Over­sight Com­mit­tee and encour­aged law­mak­ers to “take back your pow­er” and inter­vene in the 2020 elec­tion.

    The bal­ance due on Kerik’s cred­it card was climb­ing, and he knew that Giu­liani had not yet been reim­bursed for his expens­es or paid for his ser­vices.

    Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee Chair­woman Ron­na McDaniel agreed to speak to Kerik after Pir­ro — a friend to both Kerik and Giu­liani — called and urged her to do so, accord­ing to the Repub­li­can offi­cial famil­iar with Pirro’s inter­ven­tion. Pir­ro had also been close to Trump for years; on the last day of his pres­i­den­cy, he grant­ed a par­don to her ex-hus­band, Albert Pir­ro Jr., who had served 11 months in prison for tax eva­sion and oth­er crimes.

    Though McDaniel got on the phone with Kerik, she refused to give him mon­ey, advis­ing him instead to call the Trump cam­paign, accord­ing to Kerik and the GOP offi­cial.

    Kerik — also a recip­i­ent of a Trump par­don, grant­ed in Feb­ru­ary 2020, for tax offens­es and oth­er crimes — said he was unaware of Pirro’s call but not sur­prised she would try to help. After this sto­ry pub­lished online, Pir­ro denied through a Fox News spokesper­son that she inter­vened on Giu­liani and Kerik’s behalf.

    An RNC spokes­woman declined to com­ment. The RNC has repeat­ed­ly said that it did not pay Giu­liani or Kerik because it did not hire them.

    Kerik pre­vi­ous­ly told The Post he was “furi­ous” with the RNC because it raised tens of mil­lions of dol­lars to sup­port Trump’s legal bat­tle, “yet didn’t spend a dime on [Giuliani’s] legal team or their expens­es.”

    Trump had direct­ed aides not to pay legal fees for Giu­liani, whose asso­ciate had sent a mes­sage on his behalf, seek­ing $20,000 a day for his work. But the pres­i­dent did agree to pay post-elec­tion trav­el expens­es, accord­ing to the senior cam­paign offi­cial.

    Kerik billed the Trump cam­paign on Dec. 6, seek­ing $20,130.13 for “Room/Board/Meals/Travel for Legal/Investigative Team” from Nov. 5 to Dec. 5, accord­ing to doc­u­ments reviewed by The Post. He was reim­bursed for the full amount on Dec. 18, cam­paign finance dis­clo­sures show.

    Also on Dec. 18, the cam­paign made a pay­ment of $63,423.63 to Giuliani’s firm, Giu­liani Part­ners. In cam­paign finance dis­clo­sures to the Fed­er­al Elec­tion Com­mis­sion, the pur­pose was list­ed as “recount: trav­el reim­burse­ment.” The nature of the expens­es was not fur­ther detailed in doc­u­ments reviewed by The Post.

    Accord­ing to two for­mer senior Trump cam­paign offi­cials, lawyers for the cam­paign and the RNC viewed the Giu­liani group war­i­ly, and there was min­i­mal col­lab­o­ra­tion between the two groups and the Giu­liani team after Trump made clear in mid-Novem­ber that he want­ed Giu­liani to be in charge of efforts to chal­lenge Biden’s vic­to­ry.

    Some cam­paign staffers thought the Giu­liani team was spend­ing too much on hotel accom­mo­da­tions. “They could have rent­ed an apart­ment if they were stay­ing for an entire month,” said one for­mer senior cam­paign offi­cial.

    In mid-Decem­ber, the team moved from the Man­darin to the Willard, doc­u­ments show. From the com­mand cen­ter there, the team worked to make the case to Pence that he could inter­fere with the count­ing of elec­toral col­lege votes on Jan. 6. To max­i­mize pres­sure on Pence, they also sought to ral­ly sup­port from leg­is­la­tors in key states and from the Trump-sup­port­ing pub­lic.

    Accord­ing to doc­u­ments reviewed by The Post, the team at the Willard includ­ed Kerik and lawyer Jen­na Ellis, who had trav­eled around the coun­try with Giu­liani in the weeks after the elec­tion, pre­sent­ing leg­is­la­tors in key states with alleged evi­dence of fraud.

    On Jan. 3, they were joined by East­man, the legal schol­ar. East­man met with Trump and Pence the fol­low­ing day in the Oval Office, where he urged Pence to delay the count­ing of elec­toral votes so that state leg­is­la­tors could have more time to inves­ti­gate sup­posed fraud.

    Also at the Willard was lawyer Kather­ine Friess, whose firm — Sev­en Good Stones — was used to reserve the rooms at the Willard, accord­ing to Kerik and doc­u­ments reviewed by The Post.

    Friess did not respond to sev­er­al requests for com­ment.

    Around the time the team set up shop at the Willard, Trump, Giu­liani and a pha­lanx of oth­ers seek­ing to over­turn the elec­tion often cit­ed a “foren­sic report” on Domin­ion Vot­ing Sys­tems machines as proof that the pres­i­den­cy had been stolen. The report was writ­ten by Rus­sell Ram­s­land, a Texas tea par­ty activist who had pre­vi­ous­ly writ­ten affi­davits that, though rid­dled with errors and base­less claims, were sub­mit­ted as evi­dence in mul­ti­ple law­suits chal­leng­ing Biden’s vic­to­ry.

    Ramsland’s report, released as part of a court case alleg­ing fraud in Antrim Coun­ty, Mich., was based on copies of Domin­ion hard dri­ves. Friess was one of sev­en peo­ple who were part of the“forensic team” present for the copy­ing of those hard dri­ves on Dec. 6, court records show.

    Phil Wal­dron, a retired Army colonel who spe­cial­ized in psy­cho­log­i­cal oper­a­tions, was list­ed as an expert wit­ness in the Antrim Coun­ty law­suit that gave rise to the “foren­sic report.” The Post pre­vi­ous­ly report­ed that Wal­dron was among those work­ing out of the Willard, lead­ing a team of peo­ple who pro­vid­ed Kerik with analy­ses of state data that pur­port­ed to show fraud­u­lent vot­ing.

    The Antrim report’s key claims were imme­di­ate­ly debunked, includ­ing by offi­cials inside Trump’s own Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty — but Trump allies, includ­ing East­man, con­tin­ued to repeat them.

    On Jan. 8, Kerik billed the cam­paign for $66,371.54, includ­ing $55,295 on the rooms at the Willard from Dec. 18 to Jan. 8. The cam­paign reim­bursed Kerik’s firm on Feb. 9 for all but $120 of the total costs, dis­clo­sures show.

    On Feb. 2, the cam­paign made a $76,566.95 reim­burse­ment pay­ment for “recount: trav­el expens­es” to Giu­liani Secu­ri­ty and Safe­ty, a Giu­liani firm, accord­ing to cam­paign finance dis­clo­sures.

    ———-

    “Trump cam­paign pay­ments for ‘com­mand cen­ters’ at D.C. hotels could under­mine exec­u­tive priv­i­lege claim in Jan. 6 inves­ti­ga­tion” by Jacque­line Ale­many, Josh Dawsey, Emma Brown and Tom Ham­burg­er; The Wash­ing­ton Post; 11/03/2021

    “The fact that cam­paign funds were used to finance efforts to sub­vert Biden’s vic­to­ry could com­pli­cate the for­mer president’s ongo­ing attempt to use claims of exec­u­tive priv­i­lege to shield doc­u­ments and tes­ti­mo­ny from the con­gres­sion­al com­mit­tee inves­ti­gat­ing Jan. 6, accord­ing to some legal schol­ars.”

    It’s quite a com­pli­ca­tion: No one want­ed to pay Rudy Giu­liani and Bernie Kerik. The Trump White House did­n’t want to pay them and nei­ther did the RNC. But they were even­tu­al­ly paid. By the Trump cam­paign itself, just for trav­el expens­es. But those trav­el expens­es appear to be much more exten­sive that just trav­el because the hotels became the head­quar­ters for these oper­a­tions as the pan­dem­ic played out. And you can’t assert exec­u­tive priv­i­lege for cam­paign oper­a­tions. It’s why the deci­sion to play hot pota­to with Guil­ian­i’s bills may end up becom­ing a very expen­sive game:

    ...
    Trump has asked a fed­er­al court to block the release of the doc­u­ments, claim­ing that they are pro­tect­ed by exec­u­tive priv­i­lege. And Ban­non, fac­ing a sub­poe­na from the com­mit­tee, has cit­ed Trump’s exec­u­tive priv­i­lege claims as a rea­son for his refusal to com­ply.

    The use of cam­paign funds “fur­ther under­mines a wild­ly broad asser­tion of exec­u­tive priv­i­lege” by Trump, said Richard Ben-Veniste, a for­mer Water­gate pros­e­cu­tor. “Exec­u­tive priv­i­lege is typ­i­cal­ly lim­it­ed to the pro­tec­tion of com­mu­ni­ca­tions involv­ing a president’s offi­cial duties — not to those relat­ing to per­son­al or polit­i­cal cam­paign mat­ters,” Ben-Veniste said.
    ...

    Also note how part of the wari­ness between the RNC and Guil­iani appears to be root­ed in Trump’s dec­la­ra­tion in mid-Novem­ber that he want­ed Guil­iani to be in charge of chal­leng­ing the Biden vic­to­ry. So one one want­ed to pay the team in charge of the chal­lenge. It’s anoth­er data point sug­gest­ing what was hap­pen­ning at the Willard Hotel was cen­tral to the insur­rec­tion plan­ning:

    ...

    Trump had direct­ed aides not to pay legal fees for Giu­liani, whose asso­ciate had sent a mes­sage on his behalf, seek­ing $20,000 a day for his work. But the pres­i­dent did agree to pay post-elec­tion trav­el expens­es, accord­ing to the senior cam­paign offi­cial.

    Kerik billed the Trump cam­paign on Dec. 6, seek­ing $20,130.13 for “Room/Board/Meals/Travel for Legal/Investigative Team” from Nov. 5 to Dec. 5, accord­ing to doc­u­ments reviewed by The Post. He was reim­bursed for the full amount on Dec. 18, cam­paign finance dis­clo­sures show.

    Also on Dec. 18, the cam­paign made a pay­ment of $63,423.63 to Giuliani’s firm, Giu­liani Part­ners. In cam­paign finance dis­clo­sures to the Fed­er­al Elec­tion Com­mis­sion, the pur­pose was list­ed as “recount: trav­el reim­burse­ment.” The nature of the expens­es was not fur­ther detailed in doc­u­ments reviewed by The Post.

    Accord­ing to two for­mer senior Trump cam­paign offi­cials, lawyers for the cam­paign and the RNC viewed the Giu­liani group war­i­ly, and there was min­i­mal col­lab­o­ra­tion between the two groups and the Giu­liani team after Trump made clear in mid-Novem­ber that he want­ed Giu­liani to be in charge of efforts to chal­lenge Biden’s vic­to­ry.

    Some cam­paign staffers thought the Giu­liani team was spend­ing too much on hotel accom­mo­da­tions. “They could have rent­ed an apart­ment if they were stay­ing for an entire month,” said one for­mer senior cam­paign offi­cial.
    ...

    And note how it was mid-Decem­ber when the Giuliani/Kerik oper­a­tion relo­cat­ed from the Man­darin the Willard. On Jan 3rd, they were joined by John East­man, the fig­ure tak­ing the lead in com­ing up with con­sti­tu­tion­al jus­ti­fi­ca­tions for the var­i­ous schemes under con­sid­er­a­tion. Recall how East­man report­ed­ly told Mike Pence’s team dur­ing the insur­rec­tion that it was Pence’s fault the insur­rec­tion was hap­pen­ing and was argu­ing on the evening of Jan­u­ary 6 that Pence should still not cer­ti­fy the elec­tion results. The scope of the schemes kept accel­er­at­ing, even on Jan 6:

    ...
    In mid-Decem­ber, the team moved from the Man­darin to the Willard, doc­u­ments show. From the com­mand cen­ter there, the team worked to make the case to Pence that he could inter­fere with the count­ing of elec­toral col­lege votes on Jan. 6. To max­i­mize pres­sure on Pence, they also sought to ral­ly sup­port from leg­is­la­tors in key states and from the Trump-sup­port­ing pub­lic.

    Accord­ing to doc­u­ments reviewed by The Post, the team at the Willard includ­ed Kerik and lawyer Jen­na Ellis, who had trav­eled around the coun­try with Giu­liani in the weeks after the elec­tion, pre­sent­ing leg­is­la­tors in key states with alleged evi­dence of fraud.

    On Jan. 3, they were joined by East­man, the legal schol­ar. East­man met with Trump and Pence the fol­low­ing day in the Oval Office, where he urged Pence to delay the count­ing of elec­toral votes so that state leg­is­la­tors could have more time to inves­ti­gate sup­posed fraud.

    Also at the Willard was lawyer Kather­ine Friess, whose firm — Sev­en Good Stones — was used to reserve the rooms at the Willard, accord­ing to Kerik and doc­u­ments reviewed by The Post.

    Friess did not respond to sev­er­al requests for com­ment.
    ...

    So as we can see, there are poten­tial­ly quite a few avenues for infor­ma­tion to leak out about the plan­ning that went into the Jan 6 Capi­tol insur­rec­tion. Avenues lead­ing back to the Willard Hotel. And the usu­al sus­pects. Who appar­ent­ly weren’t com­mu­ni­cat­ing with each oth­er.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 18, 2021, 3:59 pm
  30. Here’s an inter­est­ing set of updates on the fin­ger-point­ing tak­ing place between the ‘usu­al sus­pects’ at the cen­ter of the Jan­u­ary 6 Capi­tol insur­rec­tion: It appears that Roger Stone just can’t stop point­ing the fin­ger at Steve Ban­non. Specif­i­cal­ly, Stone just pub­licly sug­gest­ed it was Steve Ban­non who ulti­mate­ly issued an order for the breach of the Capi­tol on Jan­u­ary 6. It was the sec­ond time he pub­licly talked about the House inves­ti­ga­tion of Ban­non over the past few weeks, each time using the encrypt­ed mes­sag­ing plat­form Telegram.

    It’s also note­wor­thy that this is the kind of fin­ger-point­ing that dou­bles as a per­son­al ali­bi for Stone because it’s an accu­sa­tion that sug­gests Stone does­n’t actu­al­ly known who made the call but mere­ly sus­pects it was Ban­non. Keep in mind that Stone him­self is a top can­di­date for being the fig­ure who ulti­mate­ly issued the order. As we’ve learned, that ral­ly crowd was a mix of chaot­ic Trump sup­port­ers with orga­nized groups like the Proud Boys and Oath Keep­ers. And as we’ve also learned, Roger Stone’s per­son­al secu­ri­ty detail in the VIP area of the ral­ly was head­ed by Oath Keep­er Jes­si­ca Watkins, who lat­er led the noto­ri­ous ‘stack for­ma­tion’ team of Oath Keep­ers into the Capi­tol. Watkins claims she had been coor­di­nat­ing with the Secret Ser­vice.

    Also recall how the last minute plan­ning for the Jan 6 ral­ly includ­ed a strug­gle between Kim­ber­ly Guil­foyle — who was act­ing as the VIP liai­son for the ral­ly financier, Pub­lic heiress Julie Fran­cel­li — and the White House over the ral­ly speak­ers list, with Guil­foyle express­ing a desire to see more rab­bler­ous­ing speak­ers added to the list, specif­i­cal­ly Alex Jones and Roger Stone.

    Final­ly, recall the implau­si­ble sto­ry we’ve been get­ting from Stone all along about how his oper­a­tion at the Willard Hotel was­n’t in com­mu­ni­ca­tion with the team run by Rudy Giu­liani, Bernard Kerik, John East­man, and oth­er key fig­ures direct­ly on Trump’s last-minute legal gam­bits and which was also oper­at­ing out of the Willard Hotel. Stone is a prime sus­pect. Sure, Steve Ban­non is a prime sus­pect for that role too. But so is Stone. That’s part of what made the fact that Stone just dou­ble-down on the accu­sa­tion so inter­est­ing.

    This was­n’t the first time Stone pub­licly rais­es the prospect that inves­ti­ga­tors would be inter­est­ed in Ban­non, have pre­vi­ous­ly stat­ed, “I can’t dis­cuss the Jan­u­ary 6 com­mit­tee sub­poe­na oth­er than to say they seem very inter­est­ed in the rela­tion­ship between Steve Ban­non and Jef­frey Epstein #StoneColdTruth.”

    Inter­est­ing­ly, though, it does­n’t appear Stone decid­ed to dou­ble down on the oth­er accu­sa­tion he recent­ly made about the peo­ple involved with plan­ning the Jan­u­ary 6 vio­lence. That would be the sug­ges­tion he made sev­er­al weeks ago that White House aide Kat­ri­na Pier­son was deeply involved in plan­ning the vio­lence too. And def­i­nite­ly not him. As Stone post­ed on Telegram at the time:

    “Giv­en what I know, I am per­plexed as to why the Jan­u­ary 6 com­mit­tee has not issued a sub­poe­na to Kat­ri­na Pier­son, in oth­er words, some­one deeply involved in the vio­lent and unlaw­ful acts of Jan­u­ary 6, rather than me, giv­en that I was not there and have no advance knowl­edge or involve­ment what­so­ev­er in the events at the Capi­tol That day #Jan6Cmte,”

    Recall how it was Pier­son, act­ing as a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Trump White House, who Guil­foyle was spar­ring with in the days lead­ing up to the ral­ly over the fact that fig­ures like Jones and Stone weren’t on the speak­ers list. Pier­son was very much in the mid­dle of every­thing that went on, planned and unplanned.

    Final­ly, as we’re going to see in the third excerpt below, part of what makes the ques­tion of who ulti­mate­ly issued the call to breach the Capi­tol so inter­est­ing is that we just learned a few ago that “burn­er” anony­mous cell­phones were used for the last-minute high-lev­el com­mu­ni­ca­tion tak­ing place between dif­fer­ent groups involved with this ral­ly. In par­tic­u­lar, Kylie and Amy Kre­mer — the moth­er and daugh­ter team who led the March for Trump group that helped plan the Ellipse ral­ly. Three of these burn­er phones were pur­chased about a week before the ral­ly. One phone was used by Kylie Kre­mer to com­mu­ni­cate with fig­ures in the White House like Eric Trump, Mark Mead­ows, and Kat­ri­na Pier­son. A sec­ond phone was used by Amy Kre­mer and anoth­er ral­ly orga­niz­er. It’s not known who received the third phone.

    So there’s a third burn­er phone float­ing around out there that was used for anony­mous com­mu­ni­ca­tion in the days lead­ing up to and dur­ing the events of Jan­u­ary 6. And no clues as to who held it. Was Steve Ban­non giv­en that phone? Per­haps. He’s a prime sus­pect. Along with Roger Stone. And that’s all part of what makes Stone’s accu­sa­tions against Ban­non and Pier­son so intrigu­ing. It’s a prime sus­pect fin­ger oth­er prime sus­pects, and there’s no rea­sons to assume they aren’t all guilty:

    The Dai­ly Beast

    Roger Stone Stirs Up Old Feud, Sug­gests Steve Ban­non ‘Gave The Order’ To Breach Capi­tol On Jan 6

    ‘CURRY FAVOR WITH TRUMP’

    Zachary Petriz­zo
    Media Reporter
    Updat­ed Dec. 19, 2021 2:11PM ET /
    Pub­lished Dec. 19, 2021 12:05PM ET

    Long­time Repub­li­can oper­a­tive Roger Stone plead­ed the Fifth ear­li­er this week in front of the House select com­mit­tee inves­ti­gat­ing the Capi­tol riot, but Sun­day morn­ing he tossed Steve Ban­non under the bus.

    Stone, who has long been at odds with Ban­non over the lat­ter “testify[ing] false­ly” against him dur­ing his crim­i­nal tri­al, took to the far-right mes­sag­ing plat­form Telegram to sug­gest Ban­non was behind the call to “breach” the Capi­tol build­ing on Jan 6. “It is high­ly like­ly that [Steve] Ban­non real­ly gave the order to breach the cap­i­tal [sic] and maneu­vered patri­ots into dan­ger­ous posi­tions,” he wrote. “A neo­phyte Steve Ban­non was will­ing to try crazy things like this to cur­ry favor with Trump who had a [sic] no inter­est in Bannon’s bullsh*t.”

    On Sat­ur­day evening, appear­ing on con­spir­a­cy the­o­rist Alex Jones’ InfoWars pro­gram, Stone advised Jones, who is cur­rent­ly coop­er­at­ing with the House com­mit­tee, not to take the committee’s inquires seri­ous­ly. Stone added the advice doled out by him was not an effort to “obstruct jus­tice,” but rather “friend to friend” legal advice. Stone didn’t return a Dai­ly Beast request for com­ment on any evi­dence he has to back that claim.

    ———–

    “Roger Stone Stirs Up Old Feud, Sug­gests Steve Ban­non ‘Gave The Order’ To Breach Capi­tol On Jan 6” by Zachary Petriz­zo; The Dai­ly Beast; 12/19/2021

    “...“It is high­ly like­ly that [Steve] Ban­non real­ly gave the order to breach the cap­i­tal [sic] and maneu­vered patri­ots into dan­ger­ous posi­tions,” he wrote. “A neo­phyte Steve Ban­non was will­ing to try crazy things like this to cur­ry favor with Trump who had a [sic] no inter­est in Bannon’s bullsh*t.””

    It is high­ly like­ly that Steve Ban­non real­ly gave the order to breach the capi­tol. That’s what Roger Stone decid­ed to post on Telegram from some rea­son on Sat­ur­day, just days after he pled the Fifth Amend­ment before the House inves­ti­ga­tor.

    Is this just more of Stone’s trick­ery and an attempt at mis­di­rec­tion? Or does he real­ly gen­uine­ly just hate Steve Ban­non? Well, as we can see in the fol­low­ing piece from a few weeks ago, it’s not like Stone is exclu­sive­ly point­ing the fin­ger at Ban­non. It was Kat­ri­na Pier­son Stone was fin­ger­ing at that point. Although it’s not like this is a mutu­al­ly exclu­sive accu­sa­tion. Lot’s of peo­ple were pre­sum­ably involved in the plan­ning of the events of that day:

    Newsweek

    Roger Stone Claims Ex-Trump Aide Kat­ri­na Pier­son ‘Deeply Involved’ With Jan. 6 Vio­lence

    By Jason Lemon On 11/25/21 at 10:25 AM EST

    Roger Stone, an ally of for­mer Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, claimed this week that for­mer Trump aide Kat­ri­na Pier­son was “deeply involved” with the vio­lence of the Jan­u­ary 6 attack tar­get­ing the U.S. Capi­tol.

    Post­ing to Telegram ear­ly Thurs­day morn­ing, Stone appeared to sug­gest that Pier­son deserved a great deal of blame for the pro-Trump attack against the leg­isla­tive branch of gov­ern­ment. Stone also seemed to be unaware that Pier­son—like him­self—has been sub­poe­naed by the House select com­mit­tee inves­ti­gat­ing the Jan­u­ary 6 attack.

    “Giv­en what I know, I am per­plexed as to why the Jan­u­ary 6 com­mit­tee has not issued a sub­poe­na to Kat­ri­na Pier­son, in oth­er words, some­one deeply involved in the vio­lent and unlaw­ful acts of Jan­u­ary 6, rather than me, giv­en that I was not there and have no advance knowl­edge or involve­ment what­so­ev­er in the events at the Capi­tol That day #Jan6Cmte,” Stone wrote in a mes­sage to his Telegram chan­nel sub­scribers.

    Despite Stone’s claim, Pier­son has been sub­poe­naed by the House select com­mit­tee. In total, as of Mon­day, some 40 indi­vid­u­als from Trump’s orbit have been sub­poe­naed by the com­mit­tee. Stone, a polit­i­cal con­sul­tant, was sub­poe­naed in the lat­est batch of five sub­poe­nas issued this week.

    Pier­son served as a nation­al spokesper­son for Trump’s 2016 pres­i­den­tial cam­paign. The long­time Trump ally was brought in to arrange with the White House who would share the stage with the then-pres­i­dent dur­ing the Jan­u­ary 6 ral­ly event just ahead of the Capi­tol attack. FEC records show that the Trump cam­paign paid Pier­son $10,000 every two weeks for her work from Sep­tem­ber 2019 to Decem­ber 2020, the Asso­ci­at­ed Press pre­vi­ous­ly report­ed.

    Trump’s for­mer White House advis­er Omarosa Mani­gault-New­man pre­vi­ous­ly sug­gest­ed that the Jan­u­ary 6 com­mit­tee was “on the right track” by prob­ing Pier­son­’s involve­ment.

    “Not only was Kat­ri­na one of the orga­niz­ers, but she was behind the mon­ey, you know, and every scan­dal, it’s ‘always fol­low the mon­ey,’ ” Mani­gault-New­man told MSNBC in ear­ly Octo­ber. “And because she was so involved with rais­ing mon­ey and orga­niz­ing the events, I believe the com­mit­tee is right in sub­poe­naing her. She’s going to have a lot of infor­ma­tion, and she had a lot of insight on what they knew and when, and I tru­ly believe because of Don­ald Trump’s vio­lent instincts that he knew that things would prob­a­bly get out of hand,” she said. “So yes, Kat­ri­na should be very con­cerned, and we’ll see what hap­pens, but the com­mit­tee is on the right track.”

    Mani­gault-New­man depart­ed from the White House dra­mat­i­cal­ly in late 2017. She went on to pub­lish a tell-all book and pub­licly released audio she record­ed of inter­nal admin­is­tra­tion con­ver­sa­tions.

    In an ear­li­er post on Telegram, Stone also appeared to place sus­pi­cion on Trump’s for­mer White House strate­gist Steve Ban­non. “I can’t dis­cuss the Jan­u­ary 6 com­mit­tee sub­poe­na oth­er than to say they seem very inter­est­ed in the rela­tion­ship between Steve Ban­non and Jef­frey Epstein #StoneColdTruth,” he wrote. Epstein was a dis­graced Amer­i­can financier and con­vict­ed sex offend­er who died in a jail cell in 2019 in a death that was ruled a sui­cide by the med­ical exam­in­er.

    Hun­dreds of Trump’s sup­port­ers attacked the U.S. Capi­tol on Jan­u­ary 6 after the then-pres­i­dent spoke at a near­by ral­ly by the White House. Trump urged his sup­port­ers to march to the Capi­tol and “fight like hell.” Many of his sup­port­ers went on to do just that, dis­rupt­ing the for­mal cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of Pres­i­dent Joe Biden’s Elec­toral Col­lege win.

    Although Trump and his allies con­tin­ue to claim that the Novem­ber 2020 elec­tion was “rigged” or “stolen” in favor of Biden, they have not brought for­ward evi­dence sub­stan­ti­at­ing this extra­or­di­nary alle­ga­tion. Dozens of elec­tion chal­lenge law­suits have failed in state and fed­er­al courts. Even judges appoint­ed by Trump and oth­er Repub­li­cans have reject­ed the claims. Mean­while, audits and recounts across the coun­try have con­sis­tent­ly reaf­firmed Biden’s vic­to­ry.

    ...

    ———-

    “Roger Stone Claims Ex-Trump Aide Kat­ri­na Pier­son ‘Deeply Involved’ With Jan. 6 Vio­lence” By Jason Lemon; Newsweek; 11/25/2021

    ““Giv­en what I know, I am per­plexed as to why the Jan­u­ary 6 com­mit­tee has not issued a sub­poe­na to Kat­ri­na Pier­son, in oth­er words, some­one deeply involved in the vio­lent and unlaw­ful acts of Jan­u­ary 6, rather than me, giv­en that I was not there and have no advance knowl­edge or involve­ment what­so­ev­er in the events at the Capi­tol That day #Jan6Cmte,” Stone wrote in a mes­sage to his Telegram chan­nel sub­scribers.”

    It’s quite an accu­sa­tion Stone is mak­ing against Pier­son. Because it’s an accu­sa­tion that implic­it­ly means there real­ly was plan­ning for the vio­lence. The whole nar­ra­tive about how this just spi­raled out of con­trol, and maybe it was antifa plants who were behind it, col­laps­es in the face of Stone’s accu­sa­tions. Stone is lit­er­al­ly brag­ging about “what I know” when mak­ing these accu­sa­tions:

    ...
    Despite Stone’s claim, Pier­son has been sub­poe­naed by the House select com­mit­tee. In total, as of Mon­day, some 40 indi­vid­u­als from Trump’s orbit have been sub­poe­naed by the com­mit­tee. Stone, a polit­i­cal con­sul­tant, was sub­poe­naed in the lat­est batch of five sub­poe­nas issued this week.

    ...

    Trump’s for­mer White House advis­er Omarosa Mani­gault-New­man pre­vi­ous­ly sug­gest­ed that the Jan­u­ary 6 com­mit­tee was “on the right track” by prob­ing Pier­son­’s involve­ment.

    “Not only was Kat­ri­na one of the orga­niz­ers, but she was behind the mon­ey, you know, and every scan­dal, it’s ‘always fol­low the mon­ey,’ ” Mani­gault-New­man told MSNBC in ear­ly Octo­ber. “And because she was so involved with rais­ing mon­ey and orga­niz­ing the events, I believe the com­mit­tee is right in sub­poe­naing her. She’s going to have a lot of infor­ma­tion, and she had a lot of insight on what they knew and when, and I tru­ly believe because of Don­ald Trump’s vio­lent instincts that he knew that things would prob­a­bly get out of hand,” she said. “So yes, Kat­ri­na should be very con­cerned, and we’ll see what hap­pens, but the com­mit­tee is on the right track.”
    ...

    And then we hear about Stone’s ear­li­er posts hint­ing that the inves­ti­ga­tors were inter­est­ing in Ban­non’s ties to Jef­frey Epstein. It will be inter­est­ing to see if any Epstein-relat­ed infor­ma­tion even ends up com­ing out of the inves­ti­ga­tion or if this was just Stone ‘flood­ing the zone with sh%t”, as Ban­non might put it:

    ...
    In an ear­li­er post on Telegram, Stone also appeared to place sus­pi­cion on Trump’s for­mer White House strate­gist Steve Ban­non. “I can’t dis­cuss the Jan­u­ary 6 com­mit­tee sub­poe­na oth­er than to say they seem very inter­est­ed in the rela­tion­ship between Steve Ban­non and Jef­frey Epstein #StoneColdTruth,” he wrote. Epstein was a dis­graced Amer­i­can financier and con­vict­ed sex offend­er who died in a jail cell in 2019 in a death that was ruled a sui­cide by the med­ical exam­in­er.
    ...

    Final­ly, here’s a Rolling Stone piece from a month ago that reveals a key detail about how the plan­ning for the insur­rec­tion was car­ried out: three burn­er phones were alleged­ly pur­chased and used for high-lev­el coor­di­na­tion between the dif­fer­ent par­ties involved in the whole process. One phone was used by Kylie Kre­mer to con­tact the White House team of fig­ures like Mark Mead­ows and Kat­ri­na Pier­son. A sec­ond burn­er phone was used by Amy Kre­mer, although we don’t know who exact­ly she was call­ing with it. And the third phone was giv­en to a mys­tery per­son. So we have no idea who Amy Kre­mer was call­ing with the sec­ond burn­er phone and who ulti­mate­ly received the third phone. It leaves quite a few open ques­tions about how this cabal was talk­ing to itself:

    Rolling Stone

    Jan. 6 Orga­niz­ers Used Anony­mous Burn­er Phones to Com­mu­ni­cate with White House and Trump Fam­i­ly, Sources Say

    A key plan­ner of the Jan. 6 ral­ly near the White House insist­ed the burn­er phones be pur­chased with cash, a source says

    By Hunter Walk­er
    Novem­ber 23, 2021 8:17PM ET

    Some of the orga­niz­ers who planned the ral­ly that took place on the White House Ellipse on Jan. 6 alleged­ly used dif­fi­cult-to-trace burn­er phones for their most “high lev­el” com­mu­ni­ca­tions with for­mer Pres­i­dent Trump’s team.

    Kylie Kre­mer, a top offi­cial in the March for Trump group that helped plan the Ellipse ral­ly, direct­ed an aide to pick up three burn­er phones days before Jan. 6, accord­ing to three sources who were involved in the event. One of the sources, a mem­ber of the March for Trump team, says Kre­mer insist­ed the phones be pur­chased using cash and described this as being “of the utmost impor­tance.”

    The three sources say Kylie Kre­mer took one of the phones and used it to com­mu­ni­cate with top White House and Trump cam­paign offi­cials, includ­ing Eric Trump, the president’s sec­ond-old­est son, who leads the family’s real-estate busi­ness; Lara Trump, Eric’s wife and a for­mer senior Trump cam­paign con­sul­tant; Mark Mead­ows, the for­mer White House chief of staff; and Kat­ri­na Pier­son, a Trump sur­ro­gate and cam­paign con­sul­tant.

    The mem­ber says a sec­ond phone was giv­en to Amy Kre­mer, Kylie Kremer’s moth­er and anoth­er key ral­ly orga­niz­er. The team mem­ber says they did not know who the third phone was pur­chased for.

    “That was when the plan­ning for the event on the Ellipse was hap­pen­ing, she need­ed burn­er phones in order to com­mu­ni­cate with high-lev­el peo­ple is how she put it,” the March for Trump team mem­ber tells Rolling Stone, ref­er­enc­ing Kylie Kre­mer.

    ...

    Accord­ing to the three sources, some of the most cru­cial plan­ning con­ver­sa­tions between top ral­ly orga­niz­ers and Trump’s inner cir­cle took place on those burn­er phones. “They were plan­ning all kinds of stuff, march­es and ral­lies. Any con­ver­sa­tion she had with the White House or Trump fam­i­ly took place on those phones,” the team mem­ber says of Kylie Kre­mer.

    ...

    Burn­er phones — cheap, pre­paid cells designed for tem­po­rary usage — do not require users to have an account. This makes them hard to trace and ide­al for those who are seek­ing anonymi­ty — par­tic­u­lar­ly if they are pur­chased with cash. The use of burn­er phones could make it more dif­fi­cult for con­gres­sion­al inves­ti­ga­tors to find evi­dence of coor­di­na­tion between Trump’s team and ral­ly plan­ners.

    The House select com­mit­tee on the Jan. 6 attack has been exam­in­ing what role Trump and his allies played in what the com­mit­tee has described as “efforts to sub­vert the rule of law, over­turn the results of the Nov. 3, 2020, elec­tion, or oth­er­wise impede the peace­ful trans­fer of pow­er.” As part of that effort, the com­mit­tee has sub­poe­naed doc­u­ments from the Kre­mers, oth­er March for Trump orga­niz­ers, ral­ly plan­ners, and top Trump advis­ers, includ­ing mem­bers of his White House staff and cam­paign team. The com­mit­tee has received “thou­sands of pages of records” and, accord­ing to an attor­ney famil­iar with the inves­ti­ga­tion, that includes “tons” of group-text con­ver­sa­tions. (The com­mit­tee declined to com­ment.) Rolling Stone reviewed group texts from the ral­ly plan­ners that show the Kre­mers claim­ing they worked with the White House Trump team to plan the Ellipse event.

    Kylie and Amy Kre­mer helped lead the nation­wide March for Trump bus tour, where speak­ers pro­mot­ed false con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries about last November’s elec­tion and called for the results to be over­turned. That tour cul­mi­nat­ed on Jan. 6, with the large “Save Amer­i­ca” ral­ly on the White House Ellipse, which took place as Trump’s loss was being cer­ti­fied at the U.S. Capi­tol. The Kre­mers also lead an orga­ni­za­tion called Women for Amer­i­ca First, which obtained the per­mit for the Ellipse ral­ly.

    Trump spoke at the Ellipse ral­ly on Jan. 6 and said they should “walk down Penn­syl­va­nia Avenue” to the Capi­tol, which is locat­ed about 1.5 miles away from the Ellipse. In his remarks, the for­mer pres­i­dent told the crowd to both “fight like hell” and to “peace­ful­ly and patri­ot­i­cal­ly make your voic­es heard.” As the speech con­clud­ed, crowds of Trump sup­port­ers breached bar­ri­cades at the Capi­tol com­plex. Some sup­port­ers pro­ceed­ed to break into the build­ing and spend hours attack­ing Capi­tol police and threat­en­ing vio­lence against law­mak­ers, an attack that delayed the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of Pres­i­dent Biden’s vic­to­ry in the 2020 elec­tion.

    There was no evi­dence the Kre­mers and the oth­er ral­ly orga­niz­ers encour­aged or planned vio­lence in the group-text mes­sages reviewed by Rolling Stone. How­ev­er, crit­ics have argued that Trump and the lead­ers who encour­aged thou­sands of his sup­port­ers to come to Wash­ing­ton as the vote was cer­ti­fied deserve some blame for the vio­lence because of their pre-Jan. 6 rhetoric and the fiery con­tent of the for­mer president’s speech at the Ellipse ral­ly.

    The three sources, who spoke on the con­di­tion of anonymi­ty due to the ongo­ing inves­ti­ga­tion into the Jan. 6 Capi­tol attack, say Kylie asked the aide to buy the three burn­er phones as the group passed through Palm Springs, Cal­i­for­nia, about a week before the Ellipse event. Based on the group’s web­site, which has since been delet­ed, the tour began on Dec. 27, 2020, in Las Vegas before mov­ing on to Cal­i­for­nia.

    There could still be some evi­dence of direct com­mu­ni­ca­tions between Kylie Kre­mer and the White House in more tra­di­tion­al phone records. The team mem­ber says that there were rare excep­tions in which Kylie Kre­mer used her reg­u­lar phone to com­mu­ni­cate with Trump offi­cials. “She talked with Mark Mead­ows on her per­son­al phone once, but main­ly on the burn­er phone,” the team mem­ber says.

    The sources who spoke to Rolling Stone about the phones also describe an inci­dent that occurred around last Christ­mas­time as the March for Trump bus tour kicked off in Las Vegas — just before the phones were alleged­ly pur­chased. Accord­ing to the sources, the group stayed at the Trump Inter­na­tion­al Hotel Las Vegas, which is co-owned and man­aged by the for­mer president’s real-estate com­pa­ny. The team mem­ber says the group hoped to park its bus, which was embla­zoned with logos, a pic­ture of Trump, and a mes­sage declar­ing “PROTECT ELECTION INTEGRITY,” in front of the hotel. How­ev­er, the team mem­ber says hotel man­age­ment ini­tial­ly declined due to polit­i­cal sen­si­tiv­i­ties and a lack of space in front of the build­ing.

    “The hotel man­ag­er said, ‘There’s no way in hell you can have that here unless you can have a mem­ber of the Trump fam­i­ly on the phone,’ ” the team mem­ber recalls.

    Pho­tos reviewed by Rolling Stone showed the bus parked promi­nent­ly in front of the hotel’s main entrance. Accord­ing to the team mem­ber, it was able to park because of calls from the Kre­mers to the Trump fam­i­ly.

    “Amy and Kylie,” the team mem­ber says, “got Eric and Lara on the phone right away.”

    ———-

    “Jan. 6 Orga­niz­ers Used Anony­mous Burn­er Phones to Com­mu­ni­cate with White House and Trump Fam­i­ly, Sources Say” by Hunter Walk­er; Rolling Stone; 11/23/2021

    Kylie Kre­mer, a top offi­cial in the March for Trump group that helped plan the Ellipse ral­ly, direct­ed an aide to pick up three burn­er phones days before Jan. 6, accord­ing to three sources who were involved in the event. One of the sources, a mem­ber of the March for Trump team, says Kre­mer insist­ed the phones be pur­chased using cash and described this as being “of the utmost impor­tance.”

    It was just days before Jan 6 that burn­er phones were sud­den­ly need­ed. Who was using these phones and what were they dis­cussing? We don’t know, oth­er than being told that “high-lev­el peo­ple” were going to be com­mu­ni­cat­ed with using these phones:

    ...
    The three sources say Kylie Kre­mer took one of the phones and used it to com­mu­ni­cate with top White House and Trump cam­paign offi­cials, includ­ing Eric Trump, the president’s sec­ond-old­est son, who leads the family’s real-estate busi­ness; Lara Trump, Eric’s wife and a for­mer senior Trump cam­paign con­sul­tant; Mark Mead­ows, the for­mer White House chief of staff; and Kat­ri­na Pier­son, a Trump sur­ro­gate and cam­paign con­sul­tant.

    The mem­ber says a sec­ond phone was giv­en to Amy Kre­mer, Kylie Kremer’s moth­er and anoth­er key ral­ly orga­niz­er. The team mem­ber says they did not know who the third phone was pur­chased for.

    That was when the plan­ning for the event on the Ellipse was hap­pen­ing, she need­ed burn­er phones in order to com­mu­ni­cate with high-lev­el peo­ple is how she put it,” the March for Trump team mem­ber tells Rolling Stone, ref­er­enc­ing Kylie Kre­mer.

    ...

    Accord­ing to the three sources, some of the most cru­cial plan­ning con­ver­sa­tions between top ral­ly orga­niz­ers and Trump’s inner cir­cle took place on those burn­er phones. “They were plan­ning all kinds of stuff, march­es and ral­lies. Any con­ver­sa­tion she had with the White House or Trump fam­i­ly took place on those phones,” the team mem­ber says of Kylie Kre­mer.

    ...

    The three sources, who spoke on the con­di­tion of anonymi­ty due to the ongo­ing inves­ti­ga­tion into the Jan. 6 Capi­tol attack, say Kylie asked the aide to buy the three burn­er phones as the group passed through Palm Springs, Cal­i­for­nia, about a week before the Ellipse event. Based on the group’s web­site, which has since been delet­ed, the tour began on Dec. 27, 2020, in Las Vegas before mov­ing on to Cal­i­for­nia.
    ...

    Was Roger Stone one of those “high-lev­el” peo­ple? Don’t for­get, Stone was him­self alleged­ly get­ting VIP secu­ri­ty treat­ment at the ral­ly from a team of Oath Keep­ers who, them­selves, ulti­mate­ly breached the Capi­tol. Stone was a clear­ly a “VIP” in this oper­a­tion. So was Stone one of the VIPs get­ting calls from these burn­er phones? Was Stone him­self the recip­i­ent of the third mys­tery phone? Steve Ban­non? Rudy Giu­liani? Who received the mys­tery burn­er phone? It’s an impor­tant ques­tion in gen­er­al in rela­tion to this inves­ti­ga­tion. But in terms of answer­ing the ques­tion of who ulti­mate­ly gave the order to breach the capi­tol it could end up being the most impor­tant ques­tion to answer.

    All that being said, if we take Roger Stone at his word, we already have an answer to the ques­tion of whether or not the insur­rec­tion was just a ral­ly that spi­raled out of con­trol vs a planned breach of the Capi­tol. Accord­ing to Roger Stone, yes, it was planned. With Steve Ban­non and Kat­ri­na Pier­son doing much of the plan­ning.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 20, 2021, 2:57 pm
  31. It’s been an endur­ing mys­tery as to what pre­cise­ly stalled the Nation­al Guard for hours on Jan­u­ary 6. A mys­tery that deep­ened sig­nif­i­cant when we learned that Charles Fly­nn — broth­er of Michael Fly­nn — was one of the two Pen­ta­gon gen­er­als on a 2:30 PM call that day where the deci­sion to keep the Guard on stand­by. And we learned this after the Pen­ta­gon first denied Fly­nn was on the call at all. Recall how Maj. Gen. William J. Walk­er, the com­mand­ing gen­er­al of the Dis­trict of Colum­bia Nation­al Guard, said the Pen­ta­gon essen­tial­ly took away his pow­er to call in the Guard him­self in the lead up to Jan­u­ary 6, giv­ing Fly­nn and Lt. Gen. Wal­ter Piatt immense influ­ence over when and how the Guard would be deployed that day. And yet, when direct­ly asked whether they were involved with the deci­sion to delay the Guard response, both Piatt and Fly­nn denied it. Also recall how the Guard was only ulti­mate­ly allowed to show up after the insur­rec­tion failed and local and region­al pol­i­cy units had most­ly sup­pressed the sit­u­a­tion. What did Charles Fly­nn do, or not do, that day? It’s still a major mys­tery.

    So it’s worth not­ing a pair of recent updates on that mys­tery. The first is a new analy­sis put out by Just Secu­ri­ty — an NYU Law-based forum on law, rights and secu­ri­ty — that incor­po­rates the report­ing on this top­ic with the the infor­ma­tion found in the Pen­tagon’s inspec­tor gen­er­al report on Jan­u­ary 6 released last month. Based on this body of data, the ana­lysts con­clud­ed that the expla­na­tion for why the Pen­ta­gon seemed to be unwill­ing to send up help is due not just to fears of the optics of see­ing the mil­i­tary occu­py the Capi­tol, which we’ve already heard about.

    Just Secu­ri­ty con­clud­ed that it was also dri­ven by a fear that Trump him­self would weaponize the Guard for his own pur­pos­es to hold onto pow­er. From that per­spec­tive, if Fly­nn or Piatt had tak­en steps to block the Guard’s deploy­ment it could be seen as an end run around Trump’s schemes.

    It’s per­haps the best pos­si­ble inter­pre­ta­tion of the Pen­tagon’s actions, or lack there­of, that day. And yet still extreme­ly alarm­ing, as TPM’s David Kurtz points out in the fol­low­ing piece. Because we’re still talk­ing about a sit­u­a­tion where the mil­i­tary had to effec­tive­ly make moves to the defy the pres­i­dent, the head of the civil­ian chain of com­mand. In oth­er words, if this best case sce­nario real­ly was was played out, it was a bro­ken best case sce­nario for an utter­ly bro­ken gov­ern­ment.

    But, of course, we don’t actu­al­ly know if this analy­sis is indeed accu­rate. Its an edu­cat­ed guess, based heav­i­ly on the Novem­ber Pen­ta­gon Inspec­tor Gen­er­al’s report. And notably, if you read the full Just Secu­ri­ty report, there’s no men­tions of Charles Fly­nn at all.

    And that brings us to a sec­ond except below from a a Politi­co report put out a cou­ple of weeks ago about the scathing reviews giv­en to that inspec­tor gen­er­al’s report. Scathing reviews from Maj. Gen. William J. Walk­er him­self and Col. Earl Matthews, who was act­ing as Walk­er’s top attor­ney that day. Walk­ers has already called for the report to be retract­ed.
    But it’s the actions of Charles Fly­nn and Wal­ter Piatt that Matthews appears to be espe­cial­ly angry about, call­ing them both “absolute and unmit­i­gat­ed liars.” In par­tic­u­lar, lying by deny­ing that they did indeed rec­om­mend hold­ing the Guard back, report­ed­ly stun­ning every­one else in the room. In fact, it was Piatt and Fly­nn who rec­om­mend­ed the Guard be held back dur­ing that 2:30 call, cit­ing the bad optics of the Pen­ta­gon occu­py­ing the Capi­tol as a rea­son.

    So we have a new Just Secu­ri­ty report based on the Pen­tagon’s inspec­tor gen­er­al report last month that, if accu­rate, would sug­gest Fly­nn and Piatt stalled the deploy­ment of the Guard based on a patri­ot­ic duty of pre­vent­ing Trump from hijack­ing the mil­i­tary to stay on pow­er. On the oth­er hand, we have the scathing reviews of that same report by fig­ures who were there that day, Walk­er and Matthews, and who accuse Fly­nn and Piatt of repeat­ed­ly lying. Where Walk­er, Math­ews, and Just Secu­ri­ty appear to agree entire­ly is that the US fed­er­al gov­ern­ment was utter­ly bro­ken that day:

    Talk­ing Points Memo
    Edi­tor’s Blog

    Cri­sis of Com­mand

    By David Kurtz
    Decem­ber 23, 2021 10:17 a.m.

    I want to expand on what I men­tioned in Morn­ing Memo about some real­ly good work from the Just Secu­ri­ty guys on bet­ter under­stand­ing the delay in the deploy­ment of the Nation­al Guard.

    From the get-go, TPM’s cov­er­age has been more cir­cum­spect about the deci­sion to involve the mil­i­tary in the response to the attack.

    Why?

    The big fear in the days after the elec­tion, and espe­cial­ly as we got clos­er to Biden’s inau­gu­ra­tion, was that Pres­i­dent Trump would use civ­il unrest as a pre­text for involv­ing the mil­i­tary and then hijack the deploy­ment and use it to hold on to pow­er.

    ...

    The big data points at the time were:

    1. In ear­ly Decem­ber 2020, for­mer Trump nation­al secu­ri­ty advis­er Michael Fly­nn, recent­ly par­doned by the Pres­i­dent, pri­vate­ly and pub­licly call­ing for mar­tial law and for the mil­i­tary to over­see a redo of the elec­tion.
    2. That shock­ing but cryp­tic Jan. 3 op-ed in the Wash­ing­ton Post by all 10 liv­ing for­mer sec­re­taries of defense, titled “Involv­ing the mil­i­tary in elec­tion dis­putes would cross into dan­ger­ous ter­ri­to­ry”
    3. The way in June 2020 Pres­i­dent Trump had used the Nation­al Guard and fed­er­al law enforce­ment to clear Lafayette Square across the street from the White House for his own pho­to op — and per­son­al appear­ances at the scene (see pho­to above) by Sec­re­tary of Defense Mark Esper and Joint Chiefs Of Staff Chair­man Mark Mil­ley (for which Mil­ley lat­er apol­o­gized).

    The Just Secu­ri­ty analy­sis adds a lot more to the pic­ture. It draws on sub­se­quent report­ing, much of it from recent books, and on last month’s report from the Pentagon’s inspec­tor gen­er­al. The IG report includ­ed writ­ten and oral tes­ti­mo­ny from Act­ing Defense Sec­re­tary Christo­pher C. Miller that bears direct­ly on these ques­tions and illu­mi­nates his think­ing at the time. It all but con­firms that he was oper­at­ing from a defen­sive crouch, deter­mined not to let Trump mis­use the mil­i­tary for extra-con­sti­tu­tion­al shenani­gans.

    Miller doesn’t emerge as a saint exact­ly. While he may have been con­cerned about avoid­ing mis­use of the mil­i­tary, he couched it in terms of “irre­spon­si­ble nar­ra­tives” and “hys­te­ria,” includ­ing about his own role as a so-called Trump stooge who would facil­i­tate a coup. So Miller was play­ing against the polit­i­cal optics, too, per­haps, not just engag­ing in a rear­guard action against the White House. Top mil­i­tary offi­cials like Mil­ley were in a some­what dif­fer­ent posi­tion.

    The Just Secu­ri­ty analy­sis points out though that there’s rea­son to think Miller’s real sub­stan­tive con­cern was the Pres­i­dent invok­ing the Insur­rec­tion Act, and using that as the pre­text for a pow­er grab. Go read it. They unpack it at length, and I’m not doing it jus­tice here.

    As for TPM’s cov­er­age, it always seemed two-dimen­sion­al to spot­light the cri­tiques of the Pen­ta­gon for respond­ing grudg­ing­ly to the Jan. 6 attack with­out ful­ly grap­pling with the fears that pre­ced­ed that day of Trump orches­trat­ing a mil­i­tary coup to seize pow­er. What we knew about these fears before Jan. 6 didn’t line up very well with a pop­u­lar the­o­ry of the case that the Pen­ta­gon stalled the deploy­ment because it was sym­pa­thet­ic to the riot­ers or want­ed to give them more time to suc­ceed. This remained an uncon­vinc­ing the­o­ry even after it came out that Mike Flynn’s broth­er, an Army gen­er­al, was involved in the deci­sion chain.

    But that’s not to say that the Pentagon’s delay wasn’t an enor­mous threat to the con­sti­tu­tion­al order. It was! And not just because it put Con­gress at greater per­il of being over­run by riot­ers, and Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence of com­ing into direct con­tact with peo­ple chant­i­ng for him to be hung. What the delay sug­gests is that the civil­ian and mil­i­tary lead­ers at the Pen­ta­gon were try­ing to thwart, under­mine, and do an end run around the Pres­i­dent.

    From where we all sit, this seems almost altru­is­tic com­pared to the the­o­ry that the Pen­ta­gon was pro-riot. But it’s not the way things should work in the chain of com­mand. And it reveals that things were pret­ty well bust­ed in the final days of the Trump pres­i­den­cy. Per­haps in the his­toric sweep of things we’ll come to see that the Pen­ta­gon was just try­ing to land a shot-up plane before it crashed. Maybe we can be grate­ful they land­ed it, but we have a lot of work to do to fix it.

    ————

    “Cri­sis of Com­mand” by David Kurtz; Talk­ing Points Memo; 12/23/2021

    “The Just Secu­ri­ty analy­sis adds a lot more to the pic­ture. It draws on sub­se­quent report­ing, much of it from recent books, and on last month’s report from the Pentagon’s inspec­tor gen­er­al. The IG report includ­ed writ­ten and oral tes­ti­mo­ny from Act­ing Defense Sec­re­tary Christo­pher C. Miller that bears direct­ly on these ques­tions and illu­mi­nates his think­ing at the time. It all but con­firms that he was oper­at­ing from a defen­sive crouch, deter­mined not to let Trump mis­use the mil­i­tary for extra-con­sti­tu­tion­al shenani­gans.

    The Just Secu­ri­ty analy­sis draw on a num­ber of sources, in par­tic­u­lar the Novem­ber Pen­tagon’s inspec­tor gen­er­al’s report. and based on these sources, Just Secu­ri­ty rais­es a trou­bling pos­si­bil­i­ty explain­ing the Pen­tagon’s appar­ent block­ing of the Nation­al Guard that day: the deci­sion to stall the deploy­ment of the Nation­al Guard was dri­ven by a pal­pa­ble fear at the Pen­ta­gon that then-Pres­i­dent Trump would then use his Com­man­der in Chief pow­ers to order the Guard to effec­tive­ly assist in the coup:

    ...
    As for TPM’s cov­er­age, it always seemed two-dimen­sion­al to spot­light the cri­tiques of the Pen­ta­gon for respond­ing grudg­ing­ly to the Jan. 6 attack with­out ful­ly grap­pling with the fears that pre­ced­ed that day of Trump orches­trat­ing a mil­i­tary coup to seize pow­er. What we knew about these fears before Jan. 6 didn’t line up very well with a pop­u­lar the­o­ry of the case that the Pen­ta­gon stalled the deploy­ment because it was sym­pa­thet­ic to the riot­ers or want­ed to give them more time to suc­ceed. This remained an uncon­vinc­ing the­o­ry even after it came out that Mike Flynn’s broth­er, an Army gen­er­al, was involved in the deci­sion chain.

    But that’s not to say that the Pentagon’s delay wasn’t an enor­mous threat to the con­sti­tu­tion­al order. It was! And not just because it put Con­gress at greater per­il of being over­run by riot­ers, and Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence of com­ing into direct con­tact with peo­ple chant­i­ng for him to be hung. What the delay sug­gests is that the civil­ian and mil­i­tary lead­ers at the Pen­ta­gon were try­ing to thwart, under­mine, and do an end run around the Pres­i­dent.

    From where we all sit, this seems almost altru­is­tic com­pared to the the­o­ry that the Pen­ta­gon was pro-riot. But it’s not the way things should work in the chain of com­mand. And it reveals that things were pret­ty well bust­ed in the final days of the Trump pres­i­den­cy. Per­haps in the his­toric sweep of things we’ll come to see that the Pen­ta­gon was just try­ing to land a shot-up plane before it crashed. Maybe we can be grate­ful they land­ed it, but we have a lot of work to do to fix it.
    ...

    Ok, now here’s that Politi­co arti­cle about the bru­tal con­dem­na­tion of the same Pen­tagon’s inspec­tor gen­er­al report by Col. Earl Matthews, the top attor­ney of Walk­er that day. Matthews were there that day and in a posi­tion to cite inac­cu­ra­cies in that report. And accord­ing to Math­ews, it was indeed filled with inac­cu­ra­cies. Inac­cu­ra­cies that include the out­right lies of Fly­nn and Piatt about their actions that day:

    Politi­co

    ‘Absolute liars’: Ex‑D.C. Guard offi­cial says gen­er­als lied to Con­gress about Jan. 6

    In a 36-page memo to the Capi­tol riot com­mit­tee, Col. Earl Matthews also slams the Pen­tagon’s inspec­tor gen­er­al for what he calls an error-rid­den report.

    By BETSY WOODRUFF SWAN and MERIDITH MCGRAW
    12/06/2021 04:30 AM EST

    A for­mer D.C. Nation­al Guard offi­cial is accus­ing two senior Army lead­ers of lying to Con­gress and par­tic­i­pat­ing in a secret attempt to rewrite the his­to­ry of the mil­i­tary’s response to the Capi­tol riot.

    In a 36-page memo, Col. Earl Matthews, who held high-lev­el Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil and Pen­ta­gon roles dur­ing the Trump admin­is­tra­tion, slams the Pen­tagon’s inspec­tor gen­er­al for what he calls an error-rid­dled report that pro­tects a top Army offi­cial who argued against send­ing the Nation­al Guard to the Capi­tol on Jan. 6, delay­ing the insur­rec­tion response for hours.

    Matthews’ memo, sent to the Jan. 6 select com­mit­tee this month and obtained by POLITICO, includes detailed rec­ol­lec­tions of the insur­rec­tion response as it calls two Army gen­er­als — Gen. Charles Fly­nn, who served as deputy chief of staff for oper­a­tions on Jan. 6, and Lt. Gen. Wal­ter Piatt, the direc­tor of Army staff — “absolute and unmit­i­gat­ed liars” for their char­ac­ter­i­za­tion of the events of that day. Matthews has nev­er pub­licly dis­cussed the chaos of the Capi­tol siege.

    On Jan. 6, Matthews was serv­ing as the top attor­ney to Maj. Gen. William Walk­er, then com­mand­ing gen­er­al of the D.C. Nation­al Guard. Matthews’ memo defends the Capi­tol attack response by Walk­er, who now serves as the House sergeant at arms, ampli­fy­ing Walk­er’s pre­vi­ous con­gres­sion­al tes­ti­mo­ny about the hours­long delay in the military’s order for the D.C. Nation­al Guard to deploy to the riot scene.

    “Every leader in the D.C. Guard want­ed to respond and knew they could respond to the riot at the seat of gov­ern­ment” before they were giv­en clear­ance to do so on Jan. 6, Matthews’ memo reads. Instead, he said, D.C. guard offi­cials “set [sic] stunned watch­ing in the Armory” dur­ing the first hours of the attack on Con­gress dur­ing its cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of the 2020 elec­tion results.

    Matthews’ memo lev­els major accu­sa­tions: that Fly­nn and Piatt lied to Con­gress about their response to pleas for the D.C. Guard to quick­ly be deployed on Jan. 6; that the Pen­ta­gon inspec­tor general’s Novem­ber report on Army leadership’s response to the attack was “replete with fac­tu­al inac­cu­ra­cies”; and that the Army has cre­at­ed its own close­ly held revi­sion­ist doc­u­ment about the Capi­tol riot that’s “wor­thy of the best Stal­in­ist or North Korea pro­pa­gan­dist.”

    The memo fol­lows Walker’s own pub­lic call for the inspec­tor gen­er­al to retract its detailed report on the events of Jan. 6, as first report­ed by The Wash­ing­ton Post. Walk­er told the Post he object­ed to spe­cif­ic alle­ga­tions by the Pen­ta­gon watch­dog that Matthews’ memo also crit­i­cizes, call­ing the inspec­tor general’s report “inac­cu­rate” and “slop­py work.”

    ...

    The new memo from Matthews, who now serves in the Army reserves, emerges as offi­cials involved in the response that day try to explain their deci­sion-mak­ing to inves­ti­ga­tors. The House select com­mit­tee has probed the attack for months, and ear­li­er this year top offi­cials tes­ti­fied before the House over­sight pan­el.

    Reached for com­ment, Matthews said the memo he wrote is entire­ly accu­rate. “Our Army has nev­er failed us and did not do so on Jan­u­ary 6, 2021,” he said. “How­ev­er, occa­sion­al­ly some of our Army lead­ers have failed us and they did so on Jan­u­ary 6th. Then they lied about it and tried to cov­er it up. They tried to smear a good man and to erase his­to­ry.”

    Fly­nn, now the com­mand­ing gen­er­al of the U.S. Army Pacif­ic, and Piatt did­n’t respond to mes­sages. Army spokesper­son Mike Brady said in a state­ment that the ser­vice’s “actions on Jan­u­ary 6th have been well-doc­u­ment­ed and report­ed on, and Gen. Fly­nn and Lt. Gen. Piatt have been open, hon­est and thor­ough in their sworn tes­ti­mo­ny with Con­gress and DOD inves­ti­ga­tors.”

    “As the Inspec­tor Gen­er­al con­clud­ed, actions tak­en ‘were appro­pri­ate, sup­port­ed by require­ments, con­sis­tent with the DOD’s roles and respon­si­bil­i­ties for DSCA, and com­pli­ant with laws, reg­u­la­tions, and oth­er applic­a­ble guid­ance,” Brady added. “We stand by all tes­ti­mo­ny and facts pro­vid­ed to date, and vig­or­ous­ly reject any alle­ga­tions to the con­trary. How­ev­er, with the Jan­u­ary 6th Commission’s inves­ti­ga­tion still ongo­ing, it would be inap­pro­pri­ate to com­ment fur­ther.”

    A 2:30 phone call

    Matthews’ memo begins by focus­ing on a 2:30 p.m. con­fer­ence call on Jan. 6 that includ­ed senior mil­i­tary and law enforce­ment offi­cials, him­self and Walk­er among them. Then-Capi­tol Police Chief Steven Sund “plead­ed” on the call for the imme­di­ate deploy­ment of the Nation­al Guard to the Capi­tol, Matthews recalled, say­ing that riot­ers had breached the building’s perime­ter. Walk­er has also told Con­gress that Sund made that plea then. Accord­ing to Matthews, Fly­nn and Piatt both opposed the move.

    At the time, Piatt was the direc­tor of Army staff, one of the top gen­er­als in the Pen­ta­gon, and Fly­nn was the Army’s direc­tor of oper­a­tions. The two men were the high­est-rank­ing Army offi­cials who spoke on the 2:30 call, accord­ing to Matthews.

    “LTG Piatt stat­ed that it would not be his best mil­i­tary advice to rec­om­mend to the Sec­re­tary of the Army that the D.C. Nation­al Guard be allowed to deploy to the Capi­tol at that time,” Matthews wrote, adding: “LTGs Piatt and Fly­nn stat­ed that the optics of hav­ing uni­formed mil­i­tary per­son­nel deployed to the U.S. Capi­tol would not be good.”

    Piatt and Fly­nn sug­gest­ed instead that Guards­men take over D.C. police offi­cers’ traf­fic duties so those offi­cers could head to the Capi­tol, Matthews con­tin­ues.

    In addi­tion to Matthews’ memo, POLITICO also obtained a doc­u­ment pro­duced by a D.C. Guard offi­cial and dat­ed Jan. 7 that lays out a time­line of Jan. 6. The D.C. Guard time­line, a sep­a­rate doc­u­ment whose author took notes dur­ing the call, also said that Piatt and Fly­nn at 2:37 p.m. “rec­om­mend­ed for DC Guard to stand­by,” rather than imme­di­ate­ly deploy­ing to the Capi­tol dur­ing the riot.

    Four min­utes lat­er, accord­ing to that Guard time­line, Fly­nn again “advised D.C. Nation­al Guard to stand­by until the request has been rout­ed” to then-Army Sec­re­tary Ryan McCarthy and then-act­ing Defense Sec­re­tary Chris Miller.

    Every­one on the call was “astound­ed” except Piatt and Fly­nn, Matthews wrote.

    Both men, how­ev­er, lat­er denied to Con­gress that they had said the Guard shouldn’t deploy to the Capi­tol.

    In response to a writ­ten ques­tion from House Over­sight Com­mit­tee Chair Car­olyn Mal­oney (D‑N.Y.) in June about whether Piatt advised any­one in the Guard’s chain of com­mand not to deploy direct­ly to the Capi­tol, Piatt wrote, “At no point on Jan­u­ary 6 did I tell any­one that the D.C. Nation­al Guard should not deploy direct­ly to the Capi­tol.”

    That state­ment, Matthews says in his memo, is “false and mis­lead­ing.”

    Walk­er also tes­ti­fied to Con­gress in March that Piatt and Fly­nn expressed con­cerns about “optics.”

    Fur­ther, Fly­nn told Mal­oney that he “nev­er expressed a con­cern about the visu­als, image, or pub­lic per­cep­tion of” send­ing Guards­men to the Capi­tol.

    That answer, Matthews says in his memo, is “out­right per­jury.”

    Matthews wrote that he and Walk­er “heard Fly­nn iden­ti­fy him­self and unmis­tak­ably heard him say that optics of a Nation­al Guard pres­ence on Capi­tol Hill was an issue for him. That it would not look good. Either Piatt or Fly­nn men­tioned ‘peace­ful pro­tes­tors.’”

    Flynn’s broth­er, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Fly­nn, pro­mul­gat­ed a host of con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries in the lead-up to Jan. 6 and called for for­mer Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump to impose mar­tial law. Matthews’ memo does not insin­u­ate that Gen. Charles Flynn’s actions on Jan. 6 were shaped by his broth­er, who has been sub­poe­naed by the select com­mit­tee, and does not men­tion Michael Fly­nn.

    The two gen­er­als told the House over­sight com­mit­tee that the Guard wasn’t ready to respond to the chaos that day, and Fly­nn tes­ti­fied to the House Over­sight Com­mit­tee in June that a “team of over 40 offi­cers and non-com­mis­sioned offi­cers imme­di­ate­ly worked to recall the 154 D.C. Nation­al Guard per­son­nel from their cur­rent mis­sions, reor­ga­nize them, re-equip them, and begin to rede­ploy them to the Capi­tol.”

    Matthews says that asser­tion “con­sti­tut­ed the will­ful decep­tion of Con­gress.”

    “If it does not con­sti­tute the will­ful and delib­er­ate mis­lead­ing of Con­gress, then noth­ing does,” Matthews wrote of Flynn’s state­ment. “Fly­nn was refer­ring to 154 D.C. Guards­men who were already on duty, were trained in civ­il dis­tur­bance response, already had area famil­iar­iza­tion with Wash­ing­ton, DC, were prop­er­ly kit­ted and were delayed only because of inac­tion and iner­tia at the Pen­ta­gon.”

    In oth­er words, Matthews indi­cates, the idea that it took 40 offi­cers to get 154 Nation­al Guard per­son­nel ready to go to the Capi­tol beg­gars belief.

    Every D.C. Guard leader was des­per­ate to get to the Capi­tol to help, Matthews writes — then stunned by the delay in deploy­ment. Respond­ing to civ­il unrest in Wash­ing­ton is “a foun­da­tion­al mis­sion, a statu­to­ry mis­sion of the D.C. Nation­al Guard,” his memo notes.

    “Their atti­tude was ‘This is What We Do.’ ‘Send Me,’” the memo con­tin­ues.

    It adds that the pre­vi­ous sum­mer, when civ­il unrest unfold­ed in the wake of the police mur­der of George Floyd, the D.C. Guard was deployed numer­ous times to pro­tect fed­er­al build­ings. Its belat­ed mobi­liza­tion on Jan. 6, Matthews con­tin­ues, was a jar­ring break from the norm.

    Impor­tant­ly, Matthews’ memo alone paints an incom­plete pic­ture of how the Army’s top lead­er­ship respond­ed to Jan. 6. Matthews indi­cates he did not have first­hand knowl­edge of what the Army Sec­re­tary was doing for much of the after­noon — and, in fact, says D.C. Nation­al Guard lead­ers at times had trou­ble find­ing him.

    Where was Ryan McCarthy?

    While tak­ing issue with the Pen­ta­gon watchdog’s time­line regard­ing the actions and involve­ment of key fig­ures in the response, Matthews’ memo seeks to illus­trate errors in the Pen­ta­gon inspec­tor gen­er­al report released last month.

    That report states that McCarthy had to call Walk­er twice on Jan. 6 to order him to deploy the D.C. Guard. Matthews’ memo calls this “an out­ra­geous asser­tion … as insult­ing as it is false,” and says McCarthy him­self was “incom­mu­ni­ca­do or unreach­able for most of the after­noon.”

    The inspec­tor general’s report says McCarthy arrived at the D.C. Met­ro­pol­i­tan Police Depart­ment at 4:05 p.m., and that “wit­ness­es told us that not hav­ing heard from MG Walk­er regard­ing any spe­cif­ic plan.” McCarthy and oth­ers present, includ­ing D.C. May­or Muriel Bows­er and D.C. Police Chief Robert Con­tee, them­selves draft­ed a com­pre­hen­sive plan for the Guard’s deploy­ment, accord­ing to the Pen­ta­gon watch­dog.

    The report fur­ther says that soon after­ward, Miller and Gen. Mark Mil­ley, chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, reviewed that plan over the phone. Miller autho­rized the deploy­ment of the D.C. Guard and McCarthy informed Walk­er of it dur­ing a call at 4:35 p.m; McCarthy then held press con­fer­ence with the D.C. may­or and called Walk­er again to reis­sue the order that he deploy the Guard, accord­ing to the Pen­ta­gon inspec­tor gen­er­al.

    Matthews chal­lenges that Jan. 6 timetable in his memo. He writes that D.C. Guard lead­ers “still have not seen this so-called plan devel­oped by McCarthy and alleged­ly approved by Act­ing Sec­re­tary Miller at 4:32PM.” He adds that the idea that the Army sec­re­tary would give Guard per­son­nel sup­port for tac­ti­cal plan­ning and coor­di­na­tion is “patent­ly absurd.”

    Walk­er, mean­while, has said no call hap­pened between him and McCarthy at 4:35 p.m. The D.C. Guard’s Jan. 6 time­line — pro­duced while Walk­er helmed the D.C. Nation­al Guard — does not doc­u­ment any phone call between McCarthy and Walk­er at 4:35.

    ...

    Megan Reed, a spokesper­son for the Pen­ta­gon inspec­tor gen­er­al, said their office stands by its report.

    ‘Stal­in­ist Pro­pa­gan­da’

    Matthews’ memo also homes in on a doc­u­ment that Army offi­cials have ref­er­enced but nev­er ful­ly revealed, titled “Report of the Army’s Oper­a­tions on Jan­u­ary 6 2021.” In Matthews’ view, it lays out a fab­ri­cat­ed time­line in a bid to bur­nish the Army’s rep­u­ta­tion.

    Accord­ing to Matthews, Piatt helped pro­duce the doc­u­ment after a series of bruis­ing con­gres­sion­al hear­ings and news reports that dam­aged the rep­u­ta­tions of Army senior lead­er­ship — among them, a Wash­ing­ton Post report that the Army false­ly denied Flynn’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in the 2:30 p.m. phone call.

    “In March 2021, MG Walk­er was told by a friend that LTG Piatt was so upset with MG Walk­er that he direct­ed the devel­op­ment of an Army ‘White Paper’ to retell events of 6 Jan­u­ary in a light more favor­able to LTGs Fly­nn, Piatt, Sec­re­tary McCarthy and the Army Staff,” Matthews writes.

    The Army Staff ulti­mate­ly sought “to cre­ate an alter­nate his­to­ry which would be the Army’s offi­cial rec­ol­lec­tion of events,” Matthews con­tin­ues, adding: “The end prod­uct, a revi­sion­ist tract wor­thy of the best Stal­in­ist or North Korea pro­pa­gan­dist, was close hold,” kept secret from the pub­lic.

    But mem­bers of Con­gress have seen the doc­u­ment. Piatt ref­er­enced it dur­ing a House Over­sight Com­mit­tee hear­ing in June when asked about con­flict­ing rec­ol­lec­tions of the after­noon of Jan. 6.

    “I would refer to the U.S. Army Report of Oper­a­tions on Jan­u­ary 6 that we sub­mit­ted to this com­mit­tee,” Piatt told law­mak­ers. “What the D.C. Nation­al Guard did in those short hours was extra­or­di­nary. Now when people’s lives are on the line, two min­utes is too long. But we were not posi­tioned to respond to that urgent request. We had to re-pre­pare so we would send them in pre­pared for ... this new mis­sion.”

    ———–

    “’Ab­solute liars’: Ex‑D.C. Guard offi­cial says gen­er­als lied to Con­gress about Jan. 6” by BETSY WOODRUFF SWAN and MERIDITH MCGRAW; Politi­co; 12/06/2021

    Matthews’ memo lev­els major accu­sa­tions: that Fly­nn and Piatt lied to Con­gress about their response to pleas for the D.C. Guard to quick­ly be deployed on Jan. 6; that the Pen­ta­gon inspec­tor general’s Novem­ber report on Army leadership’s response to the attack was “replete with fac­tu­al inac­cu­ra­cies”; and that the Army has cre­at­ed its own close­ly held revi­sion­ist doc­u­ment about the Capi­tol riot that’s “wor­thy of the best Stal­in­ist or North Korea pro­pa­gan­dist.””

    Those are indeed major accu­sa­tions made by Col Earl Matthews, who was serv­ing as that day as the top attor­ney to Maj. Gen. William Walk­er, then com­mand­ing gen­er­al of the D.C. Nation­al Guard. That’s the guy mak­ing seri­ous alle­ga­tions about major fab­ri­ca­tions told in the Pen­ta­gon inspec­tor gen­er­al’s Novem­ber report and told by Fly­nn and Piatt them­selves. Many of those lies cen­tered around a 2:30 phone pm call where the two high­est-rank­ing Army offi­cials on the call were Lt. Gen. Wal­ter Piatt, the direc­tor of Army staff and Gen. Charles Fly­nn, who served as deputy chief of staff for oper­a­tions on Jan. 6. Matthews calls them both “absolute and unmit­i­gat­ed liars.” In par­tic­u­lar, lying by deny­ing that they did indeed rec­om­mend to hold the Guard back, report­ed­ly stun­ning every­one else in the room. What was the jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for their call? Avoid­ing the ‘bad optics’ of the Nation­al Guard occu­py­ing the capi­tol:

    ...
    A 2:30 phone call

    Matthews’ memo begins by focus­ing on a 2:30 p.m. con­fer­ence call on Jan. 6 that includ­ed senior mil­i­tary and law enforce­ment offi­cials, him­self and Walk­er among them. Then-Capi­tol Police Chief Steven Sund “plead­ed” on the call for the imme­di­ate deploy­ment of the Nation­al Guard to the Capi­tol, Matthews recalled, say­ing that riot­ers had breached the building’s perime­ter. Walk­er has also told Con­gress that Sund made that plea then. Accord­ing to Matthews, Fly­nn and Piatt both opposed the move.

    At the time, Piatt was the direc­tor of Army staff, one of the top gen­er­als in the Pen­ta­gon, and Fly­nn was the Army’s direc­tor of oper­a­tions. The two men were the high­est-rank­ing Army offi­cials who spoke on the 2:30 call, accord­ing to Matthews.

    “LTG Piatt stat­ed that it would not be his best mil­i­tary advice to rec­om­mend to the Sec­re­tary of the Army that the D.C. Nation­al Guard be allowed to deploy to the Capi­tol at that time,” Matthews wrote, adding: “LTGs Piatt and Fly­nn stat­ed that the optics of hav­ing uni­formed mil­i­tary per­son­nel deployed to the U.S. Capi­tol would not be good.”

    Piatt and Fly­nn sug­gest­ed instead that Guards­men take over D.C. police offi­cers’ traf­fic duties so those offi­cers could head to the Capi­tol, Matthews con­tin­ues.

    In addi­tion to Matthews’ memo, POLITICO also obtained a doc­u­ment pro­duced by a D.C. Guard offi­cial and dat­ed Jan. 7 that lays out a time­line of Jan. 6. The D.C. Guard time­line, a sep­a­rate doc­u­ment whose author took notes dur­ing the call, also said that Piatt and Fly­nn at 2:37 p.m. “rec­om­mend­ed for DC Guard to stand­by,” rather than imme­di­ate­ly deploy­ing to the Capi­tol dur­ing the riot.

    Four min­utes lat­er, accord­ing to that Guard time­line, Fly­nn again “advised D.C. Nation­al Guard to stand­by until the request has been rout­ed” to then-Army Sec­re­tary Ryan McCarthy and then-act­ing Defense Sec­re­tary Chris Miller.

    Every­one on the call was “astound­ed” except Piatt and Fly­nn, Matthews wrote.

    Both men, how­ev­er, lat­er denied to Con­gress that they had said the Guard shouldn’t deploy to the Capi­tol.

    In response to a writ­ten ques­tion from House Over­sight Com­mit­tee Chair Car­olyn Mal­oney (D‑N.Y.) in June about whether Piatt advised any­one in the Guard’s chain of com­mand not to deploy direct­ly to the Capi­tol, Piatt wrote, “At no point on Jan­u­ary 6 did I tell any­one that the D.C. Nation­al Guard should not deploy direct­ly to the Capi­tol.”

    That state­ment, Matthews says in his memo, is “false and mis­lead­ing.”

    ...

    Fur­ther, Fly­nn told Mal­oney that he “nev­er expressed a con­cern about the visu­als, image, or pub­lic per­cep­tion of” send­ing Guards­men to the Capi­tol.

    That answer, Matthews says in his memo, is “out­right per­jury.”
    ...

    And then there’s the crit­i­cism of the inspec­tor gen­er­al report, with both Matthews and Walk­er call­ing it filled with fab­ri­ca­tions, includ­ing fab­ri­ca­tions by then-Army Sec­re­tary Ryan McCarthy about his abil­i­ty to get in touch with Walk­er that day:

    ...
    The memo fol­lows Walker’s own pub­lic call for the inspec­tor gen­er­al to retract its detailed report on the events of Jan. 6, as first report­ed by The Wash­ing­ton Post. Walk­er told the Post he object­ed to spe­cif­ic alle­ga­tions by the Pen­ta­gon watch­dog that Matthews’ memo also crit­i­cizes, call­ing the inspec­tor general’s report “inac­cu­rate” and “slop­py work.”

    ...

    While tak­ing issue with the Pen­ta­gon watchdog’s time­line regard­ing the actions and involve­ment of key fig­ures in the response, Matthews’ memo seeks to illus­trate errors in the Pen­ta­gon inspec­tor gen­er­al report released last month.

    That report states that McCarthy had to call Walk­er twice on Jan. 6 to order him to deploy the D.C. Guard. Matthews’ memo calls this “an out­ra­geous asser­tion … as insult­ing as it is false,” and says McCarthy him­self was “incom­mu­ni­ca­do or unreach­able for most of the after­noon.”

    The inspec­tor general’s report says McCarthy arrived at the D.C. Met­ro­pol­i­tan Police Depart­ment at 4:05 p.m., and that “wit­ness­es told us that not hav­ing heard from MG Walk­er regard­ing any spe­cif­ic plan.” McCarthy and oth­ers present, includ­ing D.C. May­or Muriel Bows­er and D.C. Police Chief Robert Con­tee, them­selves draft­ed a com­pre­hen­sive plan for the Guard’s deploy­ment, accord­ing to the Pen­ta­gon watch­dog.

    The report fur­ther says that soon after­ward, Miller and Gen. Mark Mil­ley, chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, reviewed that plan over the phone. Miller autho­rized the deploy­ment of the D.C. Guard and McCarthy informed Walk­er of it dur­ing a call at 4:35 p.m; McCarthy then held press con­fer­ence with the D.C. may­or and called Walk­er again to reis­sue the order that he deploy the Guard, accord­ing to the Pen­ta­gon inspec­tor gen­er­al.

    Matthews chal­lenges that Jan. 6 timetable in his memo. He writes that D.C. Guard lead­ers “still have not seen this so-called plan devel­oped by McCarthy and alleged­ly approved by Act­ing Sec­re­tary Miller at 4:32PM.” He adds that the idea that the Army sec­re­tary would give Guard per­son­nel sup­port for tac­ti­cal plan­ning and coor­di­na­tion is “patent­ly absurd.”

    Walk­er, mean­while, has said no call hap­pened between him and McCarthy at 4:35 p.m. The D.C. Guard’s Jan. 6 time­line — pro­duced while Walk­er helmed the D.C. Nation­al Guard — does not doc­u­ment any phone call between McCarthy and Walk­er at 4:35.
    ...

    It’s not just Fly­nn and Piatt. Then-Army Sec­re­tary Ryan McCarthy does­n’t appear to have a sto­ry that match­es the known facts either.

    So how are we to inter­pret this? Did the Pen­ta­gon hold back the Guard to thwart Trump or help him? A bit of both? Keep in mind that we are told Piatt and Fly­nn were mak­ing the case about the ‘bad optics’ of send­ing in the Guard, a hes­i­tan­cy that came in large part from the Pen­tagon’s bad optics in allow­ing the Nation­al Guard to play a role in the unleash­ing of tear-gas and rub­ber-bul­let on a crowd of pro­tes­tors near the White House. And then there’s the hes­i­tan­cy the Pen­ta­gon may have under­stand­ably felt giv­en all the calls from Trump sup­port­ers for Trump to use the mil­i­tary to reverse the elec­tion results. The point being that all the bad actions threat­en­ing the abuse of mil­i­tary force were appar­ent­ly used as jus­ti­fi­ca­tion to keep the Guard at bay when it was actu­al­ly need­ed. It’s not the best kind of syn­er­gy.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 23, 2021, 4:31 pm
  32. There have been a pair of updates relat­ed to the inves­ti­ga­tion into the Jan­u­ary 6 Capi­tol insur­rec­tion over the last cou­ple of days. Updates in par­tic­u­lar about what Don­ald Trump him­self may have said and done to endorse or facil­i­tate the mob vio­lence that ulti­mate­ly unfold­ed.

    The first update involves House inves­ti­ga­tors’ attempts to gain access to phone records between the White House and the Willard Hotel on Jan 5 and 6. Recall how the Willard Hotel has emerged as a kind of ‘head­quar­ter of head­quar­ters’ for the var­i­ous Trump-relat­ed teams oper­at­ing that day. Rudy Giu­liani was there as part of Trump’s per­son­al legal team. Then there was the sep­a­rate psy­cho­log­i­cal oper­a­tions team with fig­ures like Steve Ban­non, Phil Wal­dron, Rus­sell J. Ram­s­land Jr., and John East­man. And Roger Stone’s oper­a­tion was there too, although he insists it had no com­mu­ni­ca­tion with the oth­er Trump teams (Recall how Stone recent­ly blamed the vio­lence on Ban­non). Then there’s the recent sto­ry about anony­mous burn­er phones being used for some sort of yet-to-be-elu­ci­dat­ed coor­di­na­tion between these teams

    Updates that sug­gest House inves­ti­ga­tors could be get­ting clos­er to estab­lish­ing direct evi­dence of Trump’s involve­ment in plan­ning the mob vio­lence as part of a strate­gic plot to dis­rupt the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of the elec­tion. Maybe. Or maybe Trump will be saved by a legal tech­ni­cal­i­ty. We’ll see. It may come down to where Trump made these calls to the Willard. There were two loca­tions at the White House Trump is sus­pect­ed of mak­ing those calls from: the West Wing, and the White House per­son­al res­i­dence. Calls from the West Wing would be memo­ri­al­ized in the Nation­al Archives auto­mat­i­cal­ly at the end of his term. Not so for calls from the per­son­al res­i­dence. So if it turns out Trump made calls to the Willard Hotel from the West Wing, the con­tents of that call could poten­tial­ly be avail­able to con­gres­sion­al inves­ti­ga­tors.

    So what are the odds that these calls con­tain evi­dence of Trump’s direct involve­ment in the plan­ning of the insur­rec­tion? Well, this brings us to the explo­sive report from last month about how Trump respond­ed to learn­ing on the night of Jan 5 that Mike Pence was plan­ning on cer­ti­fy­ing the elec­tion results. As we saw, Trump was appar­ent­ly call­ing his team and implor­ing them to come up with new schemes for delay­ing the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of the elec­tion. Schemes that includ­ed get­ting mem­bers of con­gress to wage so many com­plaints that it stall the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion process beyond Jan 6. Avoid a Jan 6 cer­ti­fi­ca­tion through any means nec­es­sary sud­den­ly became a top pri­or­i­ty, and hours lat­er we got the insur­rec­tion.

    And that brings us to the sec­ond update. This one comes from for­mer Trump trade advi­sor Peter Navar­ro, who is doing inter­views sell­ing his new book. In that book, Navar­ro claims that it was he and Steve Ban­non who devised the plans for what unfold­ed that day, although Trump was very much involved and approved of the plan. It was dubbed the ‘Green Bay Sweep’. The idea was sim­ple: get mem­bers of con­gress in the con­test­ed states to wage for­mal com­plaints about the elec­tion results. Then fall back on laws that state each com­plaints requires a cou­ple hours of pub­lic years. Get enough com­plaints togeth­er to do a 24 media blitz, where Repub­li­cans do an ‘end run’ around the media and just present direct­ly to the Amer­i­can pub­lic their case for why the elec­tion was stolen. That was appar­ent­ly the plan, which Navar­ro claims exon­er­ates both Ban­non and Trump was charges that they planned the vio­lence that even­tu­al­ly erupt­ed. It was all sup­posed to be entire­ly peace­ful.

    Except there’s one prob­lem with Navar­ro’s nar­ra­tive: The “Green Bay Sweep” also relied on Mike Pence’s refusal to cer­ti­fy the elec­tion results. So it’s sim­ply not pos­si­ble that the plan Trump and Ban­non had in mind for Jan 6 was still the Green Bay Sweep on the morn­ing of Jan 6. Pence already scut­tled those plans the day before, lead­ing to an evening of mys­tery calls between the White House and the Willard Hotel. And that’s all part of what makes the House inves­ti­ga­tion into the con­tents of those phone calls so intrigu­ing. If direct evi­dence of who ordered the insur­rec­tion exists any­way, it’s like in those phone calls:

    The Guardian

    Capi­tol pan­el to inves­ti­gate Trump call to Willard hotel in hours before attack

    Com­mit­tee to request con­tents of the call seek­ing to stop Biden’s cer­ti­fi­ca­tion and may sub­poe­na Rudy Giu­liani

    Hugo Low­ell in Wash­ing­ton
    Mon 27 Dec 2021 05.00 EST
    Last mod­i­fied on Tue 28 Dec 2021 00.11 EST

    Con­gress­man Ben­nie Thomp­son, the chair­man of the House select com­mit­tee inves­ti­gat­ing the Capi­tol attack, has said the pan­el will open an inquiry into Don­ald Trump’s phone call seek­ing to stop Joe Biden’s cer­ti­fi­ca­tion from tak­ing place on 6 Jan­u­ary hours before the insur­rec­tion.

    The chair­man said the select com­mit­tee intend­ed to scru­ti­nize the phone call – revealed last month by the Guardian – should they pre­vail in their legal effort to obtain Trump White House records over the for­mer president’s objec­tions of exec­u­tive priv­i­lege.

    “That’s right,” Thomp­son said when asked by the Guardian whether the select com­mit­tee would look into Trump’s phone call, and sug­gest­ed House inves­ti­ga­tors had already start­ed to con­sid­er ways to inves­ti­gate Trump’s demand that Biden not be cer­ti­fied as pres­i­dent on 6 Jan­u­ary.

    Thomp­son said the select com­mit­tee could not ask the Nation­al Archives for records about spe­cif­ic calls, but not­ed “if we say we want all White House calls made on Jan­u­ary 5 and 6, if he made it on a White House phone, then obvi­ous­ly we would look at it there.”

    The Guardian report­ed last month that Trump, accord­ing to mul­ti­ple sources, called lieu­tenants based at the Willard hotel in Wash­ing­ton DC from the White House in the late hours of 5 Jan­u­ary and sought ways to stop Biden’s cer­ti­fi­ca­tion from tak­ing place on 6 Jan­u­ary.

    Trump first told the lieu­tenants his vice-pres­i­dent, Mike Pence, was reluc­tant to go along with the plan to com­man­deer his cer­e­mo­ni­al role at the joint ses­sion of Con­gress in a way that would allow Trump to retain the pres­i­den­cy for a sec­ond term, the sources said.

    But as Trump relayed to them the sit­u­a­tion with Pence, the sources said, on at least one call, he pressed his lieu­tenants about how to stop Biden’s cer­ti­fi­ca­tion from tak­ing place on 6 Jan­u­ary in a scheme to get alter­nate slates of elec­tors for Trump sent to Con­gress.

    The for­mer president’s remarks came as part of wider dis­cus­sions he had with the lieu­tenants at the Willard – a team led by Trump lawyers Rudy Giu­liani, John East­man, Boris Epshteyn and Trump strate­gist Steve Ban­non – about delay­ing the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, the sources said.

    House inves­ti­ga­tors in recent months have pur­sued an ini­tial inves­ti­ga­tion into Trump’s con­tacts with lieu­tenants at the Willard, issu­ing a flur­ry of sub­poe­nas com­pelling doc­u­ments and tes­ti­mo­ny to cru­cial wit­ness­es, includ­ing Ban­non and East­man.

    But Thomp­son said that the select com­mit­tee would now also inves­ti­gate both the con­tents of Trump’s phone calls to the Willard and the White House’s poten­tial involve­ment, in a move cer­tain to inten­si­fy the pres­sure on the for­mer president’s inner cir­cle.

    ...

    A spokesper­son for the select com­mit­tee declined to com­ment about what else such a line of inquiry might involve. But a sub­poe­na to Giu­liani, the lead Trump lawyer at the Willard, is under­stood to be in the off­ing, accord­ing to a source famil­iar with the mat­ter.

    The Guardian report­ed that the night before the Capi­tol attack, Trump called the lawyers and non-lawyers at the Willard sep­a­rate­ly, because Giu­liani did not want to have non-lawyers par­tic­i­pate on sen­si­tive calls and jeop­ar­dize claims to attor­ney-client priv­i­lege.

    It was not clear whether Giu­lai­ni might invoke attor­ney-client priv­i­lege as a way to escape coop­er­at­ing with the inves­ti­ga­tion in the event of a sub­poe­na, but Con­gress­man Jamie Raskin, a mem­ber of the select com­mit­tee, not­ed the pro­tec­tion does not con­fer broad immu­ni­ty.

    “The attor­ney-client priv­i­lege does not oper­ate to shield par­tic­i­pants in a crime from an inves­ti­ga­tion into a crime,” Raskin said. “If it did, then all you would have to do to rob a bank is bring a lawyer with you, and be ask­ing for advice along the way.”

    The Guardian also report­ed Trump made sev­er­al calls the day before the Capi­tol attack from both the White House res­i­dence, his pre­ferred place to work, as well as the West Wing, but it was not cer­tain from which loca­tion he phoned his top lieu­tenants at the Willard.

    The dis­tinc­tion is sig­nif­i­cant as phone calls placed from the White House res­i­dence, even from a land­line desk phone, are not auto­mat­i­cal­ly memo­ri­al­ized in records sent to the Nation­al Archives after the end of an admin­is­tra­tion.

    That means even if the select com­mit­tee suc­ceeds in its lit­i­ga­tion to pry free Trump’s call detail records from the Nation­al Archives, with­out tes­ti­mo­ny from peo­ple with knowl­edge of what was said, House inves­ti­ga­tors might only learn the tar­get and time of the calls.

    ———–

    “Capi­tol pan­el to inves­ti­gate Trump call to Willard hotel in hours before attack” by Hugo Low­ell; The Guardian; 12/27/2021

    “Thomp­son said the select com­mit­tee could not ask the Nation­al Archives for records about spe­cif­ic calls, but not­ed “if we say we want all White House calls made on Jan­u­ary 5 and 6, if he made it on a White House phone, then obvi­ous­ly we would look at it there.”

    The House inves­ti­ga­tors can’t ask the Nation­al Archives for infor­ma­tion on spe­cif­ic calls. But they can make a blan­ket request of all White House calls made on Jan­u­ary 5 and 6. And based on what we already know about the time­line of the events on Jan 5 and Jan 6, calls were made by Trump to his teams at the Willard Hotel dur­ing this peri­od where the last-minute plans to stop the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of the elec­tion were dis­cussed after Trump learned Mike Pence was­n’t going to go along with their ini­tial schemes. The con­tent of those phone calls is what House inves­ti­ga­tors are now focus­ing on. Con­tent that could obvi­ous­ly direct­ly impli­cate Trump in the insur­rec­tion plan­ning. It’s one thing to learn about the exis­tence of these phone calls, but it’s anoth­er to actu­al­ly learn that call con­tent. Con­tent that could direct­ly legal­ly impli­cate Trump in the plot­ting:

    ...
    The Guardian report­ed last month that Trump, accord­ing to mul­ti­ple sources, called lieu­tenants based at the Willard hotel in Wash­ing­ton DC from the White House in the late hours of 5 Jan­u­ary and sought ways to stop Biden’s cer­ti­fi­ca­tion from tak­ing place on 6 Jan­u­ary.

    Trump first told the lieu­tenants his vice-pres­i­dent, Mike Pence, was reluc­tant to go along with the plan to com­man­deer his cer­e­mo­ni­al role at the joint ses­sion of Con­gress in a way that would allow Trump to retain the pres­i­den­cy for a sec­ond term, the sources said.

    But as Trump relayed to them the sit­u­a­tion with Pence, the sources said, on at least one call, he pressed his lieu­tenants about how to stop Biden’s cer­ti­fi­ca­tion from tak­ing place on 6 Jan­u­ary in a scheme to get alter­nate slates of elec­tors for Trump sent to Con­gress.

    The for­mer president’s remarks came as part of wider dis­cus­sions he had with the lieu­tenants at the Willard – a team led by Trump lawyers Rudy Giu­liani, John East­man, Boris Epshteyn and Trump strate­gist Steve Ban­non – about delay­ing the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, the sources said.
    ...

    But, as with so many of these inves­tiga­tive avenues, it’s going to come down to a tech­ni­cal­i­ty: were the calls made from the West Wing, or from the White House res­i­dence? Because only the West Wing calls would have been auto­mat­i­cal­ly memo­ri­al­ized at the Nation­al Archives. Trump might escape on a tech­ni­cal­i­ty one more time:

    ...
    The Guardian also report­ed Trump made sev­er­al calls the day before the Capi­tol attack from both the White House res­i­dence, his pre­ferred place to work, as well as the West Wing, but it was not cer­tain from which loca­tion he phoned his top lieu­tenants at the Willard.

    The dis­tinc­tion is sig­nif­i­cant as phone calls placed from the White House res­i­dence, even from a land­line desk phone, are not auto­mat­i­cal­ly memo­ri­al­ized in records sent to the Nation­al Archives after the end of an admin­is­tra­tion.

    That means even if the select com­mit­tee suc­ceeds in its lit­i­ga­tion to pry free Trump’s call detail records from the Nation­al Archives, with­out tes­ti­mo­ny from peo­ple with knowl­edge of what was said, House inves­ti­ga­tors might only learn the tar­get and time of the calls.
    ...

    And now here’s a Dai­ly Beast piece about Trump trade advi­sor Peter Navar­ro, who had a new book out where is essen­tial­ly claim­ing own­er­ship over the Trump team’s schemes to over­turn the elec­tion results. Own­er­ship shared with Steve Ban­non. The two alleged­ly came up with the “Green Bay Sweep” in the weeks before Jan 6. The plan was sim­ple: get a large num­ber of Repub­li­can mem­bers of con­gress to lodge com­plaints about spe­cif­ic state results. Then fall back on law require a pub­lic hear­ing for each com­plaint. The hope was to get enough com­plaints lodged against the six con­test­ed states to put togeth­er a 24 non-stop blitz of con­gres­sion­al hear­ings inves­ti­gat­ing the alle­ga­tions. The hope was to cre­ate an end-run around the media and con­vince the Amer­i­can pub­lic direct­ly that the elec­tion real­ly had been stolen.

    Inter­est­ing­ly, it does­n’t sound like Navar­ro’s claims are active­ly being inves­ti­gat­ed by the House inves­ti­ga­tors yet. Navar­ro is brag­ging that his book actu­al­ly exon­er­ates both Trump and Ban­non by estab­lish­ing that there was nev­er a plan for vio­lence, assert­ing that Trump was fulling on board with the plan. But as we’ll see, Navar­ro also makes claims that make it clear that this “Green Bay Sweep” could­n’t have still been ‘the plan’ head­ing into Jan 6 because the ‘Green Bay Sweep’ plan required the coop­er­a­tion of Mike Pence. As Navar­ro writes in his book, when Pence cer­ti­fied the elec­toral votes he became “the Bru­tus most respon­si­ble… for the final betray­al of Pres­i­dent Trump. Whether or not the “Green Bay Sweep” real­ly was the plan on the morn­ing of Jan 5, it could­n’t have still been the plan on the morn­ing of Jan 6. That’s what the whole focus on the com­mu­ni­ca­tions between the Trump White House and the Willard Hotel is about. Those plans that relied on Mike Pence’s refusal to cer­ti­fy the elec­tion results were already crum­bling on the night of Jan 5.

    So while these new details about the “Green Bay Sweep” does­n’t actu­al exon­er­ate Trump and Ban­non, it does give us a bet­ter idea of what they had in mind if Mike Pence had actu­al­ly played along. And there­fore a bet­ter idea of what to expect the next time they try to over­turn the elec­tion:

    The Dai­ly Beast

    Trump Advi­sor Peter Navar­ro Lays Out How He and Ban­non Planned to Over­turn Biden’s Elec­toral Win

    “It start­ed out per­fect­ly. At 1 p.m., Gosar and Cruz did exact­ly what was expect­ed of them…”

    Jose Pagliery
    Polit­i­cal Inves­ti­ga­tions Reporter
    Pub­lished Dec. 27, 2021 10:14PM ET

    A for­mer Trump White House offi­cial says he and right-wing provo­ca­teur Steve Ban­non were actu­al­ly behind the last-ditch, coor­di­nat­ed effort by rogue Repub­li­cans in Con­gress to halt cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of the 2020 elec­tion results and keep Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump in pow­er ear­li­er this year, in a plan dubbed the “Green Bay Sweep.”

    In his recent­ly pub­lished mem­oir, Peter Navar­ro, then-Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s trade advi­sor, details how he stayed in close con­tact with Ban­non as they put “Green Bay Sweep” in motion with help from mem­bers of Con­gress loy­al to the cause.

    But in an inter­view last week with The Dai­ly Beast, Navar­ro shed addi­tion­al light on his role in the oper­a­tion and their coor­di­na­tion with politi­cians like Rep. Paul Gosar (R‑AZ) and Sen­a­tor Ted Cruz (R‑TX).

    “We spent a lot of time lin­ing up over 100 con­gress­men, includ­ing some sen­a­tors. It start­ed out per­fect­ly. At 1 p.m., Gosar and Cruz did exact­ly what was expect­ed of them,” Navar­ro told The Dai­ly Beast. “It was a per­fect plan. And it all pred­i­cat­ed on peace and calm on Capi­tol Hill. We didn’t even need any pro­tes­tors, because we had over 100 con­gress­men com­mit­ted to it.”

    That com­mit­ment appeared as Con­gress was cer­ti­fy­ing the 2020 Elec­toral Col­lege votes reflect­ing that Joe Biden beat Trump. Sen. Cruz signed off on Con­gress­man Gosar’s offi­cial objec­tion to count­ing Arizona’s elec­toral bal­lots, an effort that was sup­port­ed by dozens of oth­er Trump loy­al­ists.

    Staffers for Cruz and Gosar did not respond to requests for com­ment. There’s no pub­lic indi­ca­tion whether the Jan. 6 Com­mit­tee has sought tes­ti­mo­ny or doc­u­ments from Sen. Cruz or Rep. Gosar. But the com­mit­tee has only recent­ly begun to seek evi­dence from fel­low mem­bers of Con­gress who were involved in the gen­er­al effort to keep Trump in the White House, such as Rep. Jim Jor­dan (R‑OH) and Rep. Scott Per­ry (R‑PA).

    This last-minute maneu­ver­ing nev­er had any chance of actu­al­ly decer­ti­fy­ing the elec­tion results on its own, a point that Navar­ro quick­ly acknowl­edges. But their hope was to run the clock as long as pos­si­ble to increase pub­lic pres­sure on then-Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence to send the elec­toral votes back to six con­test­ed states, where Repub­li­can-led leg­is­la­tures could try to over­turn the results. And in their mind, ramp­ing up pres­sure on Pence would require media cov­er­age. While most respect­ed news orga­ni­za­tions refused to regur­gi­tate unproven con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries about wide­spread elec­tion fraud, this plan hoped to force jour­nal­ists to cov­er the alle­ga­tions by cre­at­ing a his­toric delay to the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion process.

    “The Green Bay Sweep was very well thought out. It was designed to get us 24 hours of tele­vised hear­ings,” he said. “But we thought that we could bypass the cor­po­rate media by get­ting this stuff tele­vised.”

    Navarro’s part in this ploy was to pro­vide the raw mate­ri­als, he said in an inter­view on Thurs­day. That came in the form of a three-part White House report he put togeth­er dur­ing his final weeks in the Trump admin­is­tra­tion with vol­ume titles like, “The Immac­u­late Decep­tion” and “The Art of the Steal.”

    “My role was to pro­vide the receipts for the 100 con­gress­men or so who would make their cas­es… who could rely in part on the body of evi­dence I’d col­lect­ed,” he told The Dai­ly Beast. “To lay the legal pred­i­cate for the actions to be tak­en.” (Ulti­mate­ly, states have not found any evi­dence of elec­toral fraud above the norm, which is exceed­ing­ly small.)

    The next phase of the plan was up to Ban­non, Navar­ro describes in his mem­oir, In Trump Time.

    “Steve Bannon’s role was to fig­ure out how to use this information—what he called ‘receipts’—to over­turn the elec­tion result. That’s how Steve had come up with the Green Bay Sweep idea,” he wrote.

    “The polit­i­cal and legal beau­ty of the strat­e­gy was this: by law, both the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives and the Sen­ate must spend up to two hours of debate per state on each request­ed chal­lenge. For the six bat­tle­ground states, that would add up to as much as twen­ty-four hours of nation­al­ly tele­vised hear­ings across the two cham­bers of Con­gress.”

    His book also notes that Ban­non was the first per­son he com­mu­ni­cat­ed with when he woke up at dawn on Jan. 6, writ­ing, “I check my mes­sages and am pleased to see Steve Ban­non has us ful­ly ready to imple­ment our Green Bay Sweep on Capi­tol Hill. Call the play. Run the play.”

    Navar­ro told The Dai­ly Beast he felt for­tu­nate that some­one can­celled his sched­uled appear­ance to speak to Trump sup­port­ers that morn­ing at the Ellipse, a park south of the White House that would serve as a stag­ing area before the vio­lent assault on the U.S. Capi­tol build­ing.

    ...

    Lat­er that day, Ban­non made sev­er­al ref­er­ences to the foot­ball-themed strat­e­gy on his dai­ly pod­cast, War Room Pan­dem­ic.

    “We are right on the cusp of vic­to­ry,” Ban­non said on the show. “It’s quite sim­ple. Play’s been called. Mike Pence, run the play. Take the foot­ball. Take the hand­off from the quar­ter­back. You’ve got guards in front of you. You’ve got big, strong peo­ple in front of you. Just do your duty.”

    This idea was weeks in the mak­ing. Although Navar­ro told The Dai­ly Beast he doesn’t remem­ber when “Broth­er Ban­non” came up with the plan, he said it start­ed tak­ing shape as Trump’s “Stop the Steal” legal chal­lenges to elec­tion results in Ari­zona, Geor­gia, Penn­syl­va­nia, and Wis­con­sin fiz­zled out. Courts wouldn’t side with Trump, thanks to what Navar­ro describes in his book as “the high­ly coun­ter­pro­duc­tive antics” of Syd­ney Pow­ell and her Krak­en law­suits. So instead, they came up with a nev­er-before-seen scheme through the leg­isla­tive branch.

    Navar­ro starts off his book’s chap­ter about the strat­e­gy by men­tion­ing how “Stephen K. Ban­non, myself, and Pres­i­dent Don­ald John Trump” were “the last three peo­ple on God’s good Earth who want to see vio­lence erupt on Capi­tol Hill,” as it would dis­rupt their plans.

    When asked if Trump him­self was involved in the strat­e­gy, Navar­ro said, “I nev­er spoke direct­ly to him about it. But he was cer­tain­ly on board with the strat­e­gy. Just lis­ten to his speech that day. He’d been briefed on the law, and how Mike [Pence] had the author­i­ty to it.”

    Indeed, Trump legal advi­sor John East­man had penned a memo (first revealed by jour­nal­ists Robert Cos­ta and Bob Wood­ward in their book, Per­il) out­lin­ing how Trump could stage a coup. And Trump clear­ly ref­er­enced the plan dur­ing his Jan. 6 speech, when he said, “I hope Mike is going to do the right thing. I hope so. I hope so… all Vice Pres­i­dent Pence has to do is send it back to the states to recer­ti­fy and we become pres­i­dent and you are the hap­pi­est peo­ple.”

    When Pence cer­ti­fied the elec­toral votes instead, he became what Navarro’s book described as “the Bru­tus most respon­si­ble… for the final betray­al of Pres­i­dent Trump.”

    Although the bipar­ti­san House com­mit­tee inves­ti­gat­ing the vio­lence on Jan. 6 has demand­ed tes­ti­mo­ny and records from dozens of Trump allies and ral­ly orga­niz­ers believed to be involved in the attack on the nation’s democ­ra­cy, Navar­ro said he hasn’t heard from them yet. The com­mit­tee did not respond to our ques­tions about whether it intends to dig into Navarro’s activ­i­ties.

    And while he has text mes­sages, phone calls, and mem­os that could show how close­ly an active White House offi­cial was involved in the effort to keep Trump in pow­er, he says inves­ti­ga­tors won’t find any­thing that shows the Green Bay Sweep plan involved vio­lence. Instead, Navar­ro said, the inves­tiga­tive com­mit­tee would find that the mob’s attack on the U.S. Capi­tol build­ing actu­al­ly foiled their plans, because it incen­tivized Pence and oth­er Repub­li­cans to fol­low through with cer­ti­fi­ca­tion.

    “They don’t want any part of me. I exon­er­ate Trump and Ban­non,” he said.

    The com­mit­tee is, how­ev­er, engaged in a bit­ter bat­tle with Ban­non. The for­mer Trump White House chief strate­gist refused to show up for a depo­si­tion or turn over doc­u­ments, and he’s now being pros­e­cut­ed by the Jus­tice Depart­ment for crim­i­nal con­tempt of Con­gress.

    Navar­ro said he’s still sur­prised that peo­ple at the Trump ral­ly turned vio­lent, giv­en the impres­sion he got when he went to see them in per­son dur­ing an exer­cise run that morn­ing.

    “I’m telling you man, it was just so peace­ful. I saw no anger. None. Zero,” he said.

    ———-

    “Trump Advi­sor Peter Navar­ro Lays Out How He and Ban­non Planned to Over­turn Biden’s Elec­toral Win” by Jose Pagliery; The Dai­ly Beast; 12/27/2021

    “This last-minute maneu­ver­ing nev­er had any chance of actu­al­ly decer­ti­fy­ing the elec­tion results on its own, a point that Navar­ro quick­ly acknowl­edges. But their hope was to run the clock as long as pos­si­ble to increase pub­lic pres­sure on then-Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence to send the elec­toral votes back to six con­test­ed states, where Repub­li­can-led leg­is­la­tures could try to over­turn the results. And in their mind, ramp­ing up pres­sure on Pence would require media cov­er­age. While most respect­ed news orga­ni­za­tions refused to regur­gi­tate unproven con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries about wide­spread elec­tion fraud, this plan hoped to force jour­nal­ists to cov­er the alle­ga­tions by cre­at­ing a his­toric delay to the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion process.”

    Run­ning out the clock to buy time. That was the ulti­mate plan. But buy time to do what exact­ly? That’s the crux of this ulti­mate plan. How was stalling the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of the elec­tion go to ulti­mate­ly block it? This is where the “Green Bay Sweep” scheme appar­ent­ly comes into place: put togeth­er a bunch of con­gres­sion­al ‘chal­lenges’ to the result in the six con­test­ed states. Accord­ing to their inter­pre­ta­tion of the law, both the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives and the Sen­ate must spend up to two hours of debate per state on each request­ed chal­lenge, adding up to as much as twen­ty-four hours of nation­al­ly tele­vised hear­ings across the two cham­bers of Con­gress for the six con­test­ed states. Steve Ban­non want­ed to cre­at­ed a 24 hour media fias­co where the the GOP basi­cal­ly attempts to direct­ly sell the US pub­lic on their pack­age of ‘stolen elec­tion’ com­plaints. It was essen­tial­ly a plan to take Ban­non’s strat­e­gy of “Flood­ing the zone with b#llshit” to a new lev­el for the pur­pose of exe­cut­ing a coup in open day­light:

    ...
    “The Green Bay Sweep was very well thought out. It was designed to get us 24 hours of tele­vised hear­ings,” he said. “But we thought that we could bypass the cor­po­rate media by get­ting this stuff tele­vised.”

    Navarro’s part in this ploy was to pro­vide the raw mate­ri­als, he said in an inter­view on Thurs­day. That came in the form of a three-part White House report he put togeth­er dur­ing his final weeks in the Trump admin­is­tra­tion with vol­ume titles like, “The Immac­u­late Decep­tion” and “The Art of the Steal.”

    “My role was to pro­vide the receipts for the 100 con­gress­men or so who would make their cas­es… who could rely in part on the body of evi­dence I’d col­lect­ed,” he told The Dai­ly Beast. “To lay the legal pred­i­cate for the actions to be tak­en.” (Ulti­mate­ly, states have not found any evi­dence of elec­toral fraud above the norm, which is exceed­ing­ly small.)

    The next phase of the plan was up to Ban­non, Navar­ro describes in his mem­oir, In Trump Time.

    “Steve Bannon’s role was to fig­ure out how to use this information—what he called ‘receipts’—to over­turn the elec­tion result. That’s how Steve had come up with the Green Bay Sweep idea,” he wrote.

    “The polit­i­cal and legal beau­ty of the strat­e­gy was this: by law, both the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives and the Sen­ate must spend up to two hours of debate per state on each request­ed chal­lenge. For the six bat­tle­ground states, that would add up to as much as twen­ty-four hours of nation­al­ly tele­vised hear­ings across the two cham­bers of Con­gress.”
    ...

    But note how, cru­cial­ly, this plan was pred­i­cat­ed on Mike Pence’s will­ing­ness to not go along with the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of the vote and had appar­ent­ly been in devel­op­ment for weeks. In oth­er words, we can rea­son­ably con­clude that this was NOT the plan that the Trump had in place on Jan 6, because Pence had already sig­nal his unwill­ing­ness to play along the night before, hence the last-minute schem­ing between the White House and the teams at the Willard Hotel. At best, this “Green Bay Sweep” was the plan they were hop­ing to get back on track with the insur­rec­tion:

    ...
    This idea was weeks in the mak­ing. Although Navar­ro told The Dai­ly Beast he doesn’t remem­ber when “Broth­er Ban­non” came up with the plan, he said it start­ed tak­ing shape as Trump’s “Stop the Steal” legal chal­lenges to elec­tion results in Ari­zona, Geor­gia, Penn­syl­va­nia, and Wis­con­sin fiz­zled out. Courts wouldn’t side with Trump, thanks to what Navar­ro describes in his book as “the high­ly coun­ter­pro­duc­tive antics” of Syd­ney Pow­ell and her Krak­en law­suits. So instead, they came up with a nev­er-before-seen scheme through the leg­isla­tive branch.

    Navar­ro starts off his book’s chap­ter about the strat­e­gy by men­tion­ing how “Stephen K. Ban­non, myself, and Pres­i­dent Don­ald John Trump” were “the last three peo­ple on God’s good Earth who want to see vio­lence erupt on Capi­tol Hill,” as it would dis­rupt their plans.

    When asked if Trump him­self was involved in the strat­e­gy, Navar­ro said, “I nev­er spoke direct­ly to him about it. But he was cer­tain­ly on board with the strat­e­gy. Just lis­ten to his speech that day. He’d been briefed on the law, and how Mike [Pence] had the author­i­ty to it.”

    Indeed, Trump legal advi­sor John East­man had penned a memo (first revealed by jour­nal­ists Robert Cos­ta and Bob Wood­ward in their book, Per­il) out­lin­ing how Trump could stage a coup. And Trump clear­ly ref­er­enced the plan dur­ing his Jan. 6 speech, when he said, “I hope Mike is going to do the right thing. I hope so. I hope so… all Vice Pres­i­dent Pence has to do is send it back to the states to recer­ti­fy and we become pres­i­dent and you are the hap­pi­est peo­ple.”

    When Pence cer­ti­fied the elec­toral votes instead, he became what Navarro’s book described as “the Bru­tus most respon­si­ble… for the final betray­al of Pres­i­dent Trump.”
    ...

    And that brings us to Navar­ro’s claims that his role in the plan­ning actu­al­ly exon­er­ates Trump and Ban­non. It’s a nar­ra­tive that com­plete­ly ignores what we’ve learned. After all, it’s not like we haven’t been rea­son­ably assum­ing that the Trump team tried to over­turn the elec­tion results with­out resort­ing to vio­lence first. Of course a peace­ful over­turn­ing of the elec­tion would have been desired. It was what hap­pened on Jan 5, after Mike Pence made clear he was­n’t going to go along with any of these non-vio­lent scheme, that’s the big ques­tion because that’s when any sort of last-minute des­per­ate insur­rec­tionary scheme would have been tak­ing place in earnest. The evening of Jan 5 and ear­ly Jan 6. So telling us the Green Bay Sweep was being for­mu­lat­ed by Ban­non and Navar­ro weeks before does­n’t in any way some­how excul­pate Trump and Ban­non. The Green Bay Sweep was the thwart­ed plan — thwart­ed by Mike Pence on Jan 5 — that was replaced with the insur­rec­tion:

    ...
    And while he has text mes­sages, phone calls, and mem­os that could show how close­ly an active White House offi­cial was involved in the effort to keep Trump in pow­er, he says inves­ti­ga­tors won’t find any­thing that shows the Green Bay Sweep plan involved vio­lence. Instead, Navar­ro said, the inves­tiga­tive com­mit­tee would find that the mob’s attack on the U.S. Capi­tol build­ing actu­al­ly foiled their plans, because it incen­tivized Pence and oth­er Repub­li­cans to fol­low through with cer­ti­fi­ca­tion.

    “They don’t want any part of me. I exon­er­ate Trump and Ban­non,” he said.
    ...

    Yes, Con­trary to Navar­ro’s claims , “Green Bay Sweep” actu­al­ly poten­tial­ly helps explain part of the ratio­nal for the insur­rec­tion. One of the major ques­tions loom­ing over this entire sto­ry the whole time was what exact­ly could they have been pos­si­bly try accom­plish with that insur­rec­tion, bar­ring some sort of pub­lic hostage-tak­ing cri­sis. What was the end goal? Well, based on what we’ve learn­ing about the Green Bay Sweep, the end was always the same: per­suad­ing a large enough chunk of the pub­lic that the elec­tion was stolen that the results just some­how have to be reverse. Just demo­c­ra­t­ic poi­son-pilling. Yes, tech­ni­cal­ly the deci­sions would be sent to the Repub­li­can-run state leg­is­la­tor in the con­test­ed states who would even­tu­al­ly choose a slate of pro-Trump elec­tors. There was more to the plan than sim­ply per­suad­ing the pub­lic. Don’t for­get what we’ve learn­ing about the Trump team’s actions dur­ing the insur­rec­tion: they were lob­by­ing Repub­li­can mem­bers of con­gress to issue stronger chal­lenges to the results. Rudy Giu­liani was call­ing Sen­a­tor Tuberville at 7 PM on Jan 6. That was the meta plan: just con­vince a large enough per­cent of the pub­lic into believ­ing mass fraud took place and intel­lec­tu­al­ly over­whelm them with a cir­cus of accu­sa­tions and showy tri­als. Bul­ly and bom­boo­zle the coun­try into accept­ing a sec­ond Trump term. An advanced ver­sion of Flood­ing the zone with sh$t. And avoid­ing the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of elec­tion results at all costs for as long as pos­si­ble was a core objec­tive of this plan. The cer­ti­fi­ca­tion sim­ply could NOT hap­pen. Tak­en togeth­er, it sure looks like the insur­rec­tion real­ly was just the final Hail Mary to keep the Green Bay Sweep in play. Which isn’t exact­ly exon­er­at­ing.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 28, 2021, 6:43 pm
  33. There was a bit of a qui­et bomb­shell in Jan­u­ary 6 Capi­tol insur­rec­tion inves­ti­ga­tion a few days ago. In a TPM exclu­sive, we learned about ANOTHER planned ral­ly for that day. A sec­ond ral­ly sched­uled for out­side the Supreme Court, next to the Capi­tol. A Supreme Court ral­ly planned to con­tin­ue the the­atrics as the con­gres­sion­al vote was going on inside the Capi­tol. It was sched­uled to start around 2–3 PM but effec­tive­ly can­celed by the insur­rec­tion. We’re only learn­ing about the ral­ly now, and it’s the kind the event that rais­es all sorts of ques­tions about the nar­ra­tives we’ve been hear­ing from the dif­fer­ent orga­niz­ers involved with the ral­lies that day.

    First, recall how the main event on Jan­u­ary 6 at the Ellipse was pri­mar­i­ly orga­nized by Amy and Kylie Kre­mer, the mother/daughter duo behind Women for Amer­i­ca First, but done in close coor­di­na­tion with the Trump White House. Recall how we learned that the Kre­mers pur­chased three anony­mous burn­er phones that were used by Kylie, Amy, and an undis­closed third per­son to com­mu­ni­cate with the var­i­ous groups involved with the orga­niz­ing. We’re told they com­mu­ni­cat­ed with Eric Trump, Lara Trump, Mark Mead­ows and Kat­ri­na Pier­son using these phones.

    But then there was the sec­ond major event on that day. The Stop the Steal ral­ly out­side the Capi­tol, orga­nized pri­mar­i­ly by Ali Alexan­der. Recall how Stop the Steal was a Roger Stone cre­ation first cre­at­ed to help Trump secure the 2016 GOP nom­i­na­tion. In the con­text of the 2020 elec­tion, Stop the Steal became a Roger Stone and Steve Ban­non oper­a­tion close­ly coor­di­nat­ing with the White House.

    Next, recall the tru­ly dis­turb­ing reports about con­gres­sion­al del­e­ga­tions led by fig­ures like Lau­ren Boe­bert in the days lead­ing up to Jan­u­ary 6 that were described as poten­tial ‘recon­nais­sance tours’, paired with the fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tors in Ari­zona who claimed to have “strong evi­dence” that the insur­rec­tion­ists planned on appre­hend­ing and assas­si­nat­ing elect­ed offi­cials that day.

    Final­ly, recall how Trump trade advi­sor Peter Navar­ro recent­ly came out seem­ing to take cred­it for the over­all strat­e­gy for over­turn­ing the elec­tion. It was Navar­ro and Steve Ban­non who alleged­ly devised the “Green Bay Sweep”, a plan that revolved around using con­gres­sion­al com­plaints as a pre­text for cre­at­ing a 24 hour con­gres­sion­al dra­ma tele­vised to the nation where they lay out the case for vot­er fraud, set­ting up the pre­text for Repub­li­can-con­trolled swing states to over­turn the results. And yet, as we saw, that was a plan that required Mike Pence’s coop­er­a­tion, mean­ing the “Green Bay Sweep” was nev­er tru­ly ready to go. With­out Mike Pence’s coop­er­a­tion, the Green Bay Sweet need­ed some sort of sup­ple­men­tary boost. A vio­lent mob that takes con­gress hostage, per­haps?

    That’s all part of the con­text of the new rev­e­la­tions about a Supreme Court ral­ly planned for lat­er in the after­noon on Jan 6. Anoth­er ral­ly sched­uled for right next to the Capi­tol where the insur­rec­tion unfold­ed? And planned by the same peo­ple who planned the Ellipse ral­ly? It’s the kind of rev­e­la­tion that rais­es a num­ber of ques­tions, in par­tic­u­lar in rela­tion to answers these var­i­ous groups have been giv­ing all along about their lev­els of coor­di­na­tion with each oth­er.

    Because as we’re going to see in the first to arti­cle excerpts below, there’s a major con­sis­ten­cy prob­lem with the nar­ra­tives we’ve been get­ting from the orga­niz­ers of these ral­lies. A nar­ra­tive that seems to be try­ing to com­part­men­tal­ize the fall­out for the vio­lence. As we’re going to see in the first except below — a Rolling Stone piece from back in Octo­ber based on three anony­mous sources who were involved with the plan­ning of the “Women for Amer­i­ca First” ral­ly at the Ellipse — we are told the Kre­mers were work­ing close­ly with the White House dur­ing the plan­ning for the Ellipse ral­ly, with chief of staff Mark Mead­ows act­ing as a key point of con­tact. We’re also told that they held con­cerns about Ali Alexan­der’s Stop the Steal ral­ly being held so close to the Capi­tol, with a poten­tial for vio­lence. These con­cerns were appar­ent­ly tak­en up with the White House via Mead­ows. Alexan­der appar­ent­ly agreed to NOT hold his Stop the Steal ral­ly and allow the Ellipse ral­ly to be the only major DC ral­ly that day but went ahead with the plans any­way. So that’s one nar­ra­tive we’re hear­ing from the “Women for Amer­i­ca First” crowd: that they knew vio­lence was pos­si­ble from Ali Alexan­der’s group and warned the White House. In oth­er words: don’t blame us for the vio­lence.

    But then we get anoth­er explo­sive rev­e­la­tion in this arti­cle: a con­gres­sion­al del­e­ga­tion of far right mem­bers of con­gress — Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Mar­jorie Tay­lor Greene, Paul Gosar, Lau­ren Boe­bert, Mo Brooks, Madi­son Cawthorn, Andy Big­gs, and Louie Gohmert — was also close­ly coor­di­nat­ing with these groups. In par­tic­u­lar Ali Alexan­der’s group. And they were appar­ent­ly ped­dling offers of blan­ket par­dons. Yep, that’s what we’re told. Blan­ket par­dons were being offered by Rep Gosar. Or rather, assur­ances of par­dons that Gosar was con­vey­ing from the Trump White House. So this group of far right con­gres­sion­al mem­bers of con­gress was appar­ent­ly mak­ing secret offers of blan­ket par­dons to the peo­ple who orga­nized what ulti­mate­ly descend­ed into the insur­rec­tion. Yet this same con­gres­sion­al clique was work­ing close­ly with the Ellipse ral­ly plan­ners and we are assured a ral­ly near the Capi­tol was nev­er part of their plan.

    In the sec­ond except below — anoth­er Rolling Stone piece from back in Novem­ber based on the same three anony­mous sources — we learn more about when exact­ly the Kre­mers deter­mined that Alexan­der was going back on his pledge to not hold the ral­ly and took the issue up with the White House. They appar­ent­ly became aware on Decem­ber 31. So they knew for around a week that the Stop the Steal ral­ly out­side the Capi­tol was going to hap­pen. A week dur­ing which we are assured they were fran­ti­cal­ly work­ing with the White House and Mark Mead­ows to ensure the ral­ly did­n’t hap­pen due to con­cerns over pos­si­ble vio­lence. And then it hap­pened any­way.

    So that’s all part of the con­text of the Kre­mers’ new­ly revealed Supreme Court ral­ly plans. Plans we only learned about months after we were told by the anony­mous sources in the fol­low­ing two Rolling Stone arti­cles that the Kre­mers were super wor­ried about a ral­ly next to the Capi­tol over fears of vio­lence. It’s a con­text that has the appear­ance of com­part­men­tal­iza­tion, where we have all these dif­fer­ent groups work­ing togeth­er and coor­di­nat­ing but with enough dis­tance between the groups to pro­vide a degree of plau­si­ble deni­a­bil­i­ty in the after­math if things don’t suc­ceed. Com­part­men­tal­iza­tion that appar­ent­ly includ­ed using Paul Gosar and oth­er mem­bers of con­gress to qui­et­ly dan­gle offers of blan­ket par­dons on behalf of the White House:

    The Rolling Stone

    EXCLUSIVE: Jan. 6 Protest Orga­niz­ers Say They Par­tic­i­pat­ed in ‘Dozens’ of Plan­ning Meet­ings With Mem­bers of Con­gress and White House Staff

    Two sources are com­mu­ni­cat­ing with House inves­ti­ga­tors and detailed a stun­ning series of alle­ga­tions to Rolling Stone, includ­ing a promise of a “blan­ket par­don” from the Oval Office

    By Hunter Walk­er
    Octo­ber 24, 2021 8:33PM ET

    As the House inves­ti­ga­tion into the Jan. 6 attack heats up, some of the plan­ners of the pro-Trump ral­lies that took place in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., have begun com­mu­ni­cat­ing with con­gres­sion­al inves­ti­ga­tors and shar­ing new infor­ma­tion about what hap­pened when the for­mer president’s sup­port­ers stormed the U.S. Capi­tol. Two of these peo­ple have spo­ken to Rolling Stone exten­sive­ly in recent weeks and detailed explo­sive alle­ga­tions that mul­ti­ple mem­bers of Con­gress were inti­mate­ly involved in plan­ning both Trump’s efforts to over­turn his elec­tion loss and the Jan. 6 events that turned vio­lent.

    Rolling Stone sep­a­rate­ly con­firmed a third per­son involved in the main Jan. 6 ral­ly in D.C. has com­mu­ni­cat­ed with the com­mit­tee. This is the first report that the com­mit­tee is hear­ing major new alle­ga­tions from poten­tial coop­er­at­ing wit­ness­es. While there have been pri­or indi­ca­tions that mem­bers of Con­gress were involved, this is also the first account detail­ing their pur­port­ed role and its scope. The two sources also claim they inter­act­ed with mem­bers of Trump’s team, includ­ing for­mer White House Chief of Staff Mark Mead­ows, who they describe as hav­ing had an oppor­tu­ni­ty to pre­vent the vio­lence.

    The two sources, both of whom have been grant­ed anonymi­ty due to the ongo­ing inves­ti­ga­tion, describe par­tic­i­pat­ing in “dozens” of plan­ning brief­in­gs ahead of that day when Trump sup­port­ers broke into the Capi­tol as his elec­tion loss to Pres­i­dent Joe Biden was being cer­ti­fied.

    “I remem­ber Mar­jorie Tay­lor Greene specif­i­cal­ly,” the orga­niz­er says. “I remem­ber talk­ing to prob­a­bly close to a dozen oth­er mem­bers at one point or anoth­er or their staffs.”

    For the sake of clar­i­ty, we will refer to one of the sources as a ral­ly orga­niz­er and the oth­er as a plan­ner. Rolling Stone has con­firmed that both sources were involved in orga­niz­ing the main event aimed at object­ing to the elec­toral cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, which took place at the White House Ellipse on Jan. 6. Trump spoke at that ral­ly and encour­aged his sup­port­ers to march to the Capi­tol. Some mem­bers of the audi­ence at the Ellipse began walk­ing the mile and a half to the Capi­tol as Trump gave his speech. The bar­ri­cades were stormed min­utes before the for­mer pres­i­dent con­clud­ed his remarks.

    These two sources also helped plan a series of demon­stra­tions that took place in mul­ti­ple states around the coun­try in the weeks between the elec­tion and the storm­ing of the Capi­tol. Accord­ing to these sources, mul­ti­ple peo­ple asso­ci­at­ed with the March for Trump and Stop the Steal events that took place dur­ing this peri­od com­mu­ni­cat­ed with mem­bers of Con­gress through­out this process.

    Along with Greene, the con­spir­a­to­r­i­al pro-Trump Repub­li­can from Geor­gia who took office ear­li­er this year, the pair both say the mem­bers who par­tic­i­pat­ed in these con­ver­sa­tions or had top staffers join in includ­ed Rep. Paul Gosar (R‑Ariz.), Rep. Lau­ren Boe­bert (R‑Colo.), Rep. Mo Brooks (R‑Ala.), Rep. Madi­son Cawthorn (R‑N.C.), Rep. Andy Big­gs (R‑Ariz.), and Rep. Louie Gohmert (R‑Texas).

    “We would talk to Boebert’s team, Cawthorn’s team, Gosar’s team like back to back to back to back,” says the orga­niz­er.

    And Gosar, who has been one of the most promi­nent defend­ers of the Jan. 6 riot­ers, alleged­ly took things a step fur­ther. Both sources say he dan­gled the pos­si­bil­i­ty of a “blan­ket par­don” in an unre­lat­ed ongo­ing inves­ti­ga­tion to encour­age them to plan the protests.

    “Our impres­sion was that it was a done deal,” the orga­niz­er says, “that he’d spo­ken to the pres­i­dent about it in the Oval … in a meet­ing about par­dons and that our names came up. They were work­ing on sub­mit­ting the paper­work and get­ting mem­bers of the House Free­dom Cau­cus to sign on as a show of sup­port.”

    The orga­niz­er claims the pair received “sev­er­al assur­ances” about the “blan­ket par­don” from Gosar.

    “I was just going over the list of par­dons and we just want­ed to tell you guys how much we appre­ci­ate all the hard work you’ve been doing,” Gosar said, accord­ing to the orga­niz­er.

    The ral­ly plan­ner describes the par­don as being offered while “encour­ag­ing” the stag­ing of protests against the elec­tion. While the orga­niz­er says they did not get involved in plan­ning the ral­lies sole­ly due to the par­don, they were upset that it ulti­mate­ly did not mate­ri­al­ize.

    “I would have done it either way with or with­out the par­don,” the orga­niz­er says. “I do tru­ly believe in this coun­try, but to use some­thing like that and put that out on the table when some­one is so des­per­ate, it’s real­ly not good busi­ness.”

    Gosar’s office did not respond to requests for com­ment on this sto­ry. Rolling Stone has sep­a­rate­ly obtained doc­u­men­tary evi­dence that both sources were in con­tact with Gosar and Boe­bert on Jan. 6. We are not describ­ing the nature of that evi­dence to pre­serve their anonymi­ty. The House select com­mit­tee inves­ti­gat­ing the attack also has inter­est in Gosar’s office. Gosar’s chief of staff, Thomas Van Flein, was among the peo­ple who were named in the committee’s “sweep­ing” requests to exec­u­tive-branch agen­cies seek­ing doc­u­ments and com­mu­ni­ca­tions from with­in the Trump admin­is­tra­tion. Both sources claim Van Flein was per­son­al­ly involved in the con­ver­sa­tions about the “blan­ket par­don” and oth­er dis­cus­sions about pro-Trump efforts to dis­pute the elec­tion. Van Flein did not respond to a request for com­ment.

    These spe­cif­ic mem­bers of Con­gress were involved in the pro-Trump activism around the elec­tion and the elec­toral cer­ti­fi­ca­tion on Jan. 6. Both Brooks and Cawthorn spoke with Trump at the Ellipse on Jan. 6. In his speech at that event, Brooks, who was report­ed­ly wear­ing body armor, declared, “Today is the day Amer­i­can patri­ots start tak­ing down names and kick­ing ass.” Gosar, Greene, and Boe­bert were all billed as speak­ers at the “Wild Protest,” which also took place on Jan. 6 at the Capi­tol.

    ...

    In anoth­er indi­ca­tion mem­bers of Con­gress may have been involved in plan­ning the protests against the elec­tion, Ali Alexan­der, who helped orga­nize the “Wild Protest,” declared in a since-delet­ed livestream broad­cast that Gosar, Brooks, and Big­gs helped him for­mu­late the strat­e­gy for that event.

    “I was the per­son who came up with the Jan. 6 idea with Con­gress­man Gosar, Con­gress­man Mo Brooks, and Con­gress­man Andy Big­gs,” Alexan­der said at the time. “We four schemed up on putting max­i­mum pres­sure on Con­gress while they were vot­ing so that — who we couldn’t lob­by — we could change the hearts and the minds of Repub­li­cans who were in that body hear­ing our loud roar from out­side.”

    Alexan­der led Stop the Steal, which was one of the main groups pro­mot­ing efforts to dis­pute Trump’s loss. In Decem­ber, he orga­nized a Stop the Steal event in Phoenix, where Gosar was one the main speak­ers. At that demon­stra­tion, Alexan­der referred to Gosar as “my cap­tain” and declared “one of the oth­er heroes has been Con­gress­man Andy Big­gs.”

    Alexan­der did not respond to requests for com­ment. The ral­ly plan­ner, who accused Alexan­der of ratch­et­ing up the poten­tial for vio­lence that day while tak­ing advan­tage of funds from donors and oth­ers who helped finance the events, con­firmed that he was in con­tact with those three mem­bers of Con­gress.

    “He just couldn’t help him­self but go on his live and just talk about every­thing that he did and who he talked to,” the plan­ner says of Alexan­der. “So, he, like, real­ly told on him­self.”

    ...

    Despite their remain­ing affin­i­ty for Trump and their ques­tions about the vote, both sources say they were moti­vat­ed to come for­ward because of their con­cerns about how the pro-Trump protests against the elec­tion ulti­mate­ly result­ed in the vio­lent attack on the Capi­tol. Of course, with their oth­er legal issues and the House inves­ti­ga­tion, both of these sources have clear moti­va­tion to coop­er­ate with inves­ti­ga­tors and turn on their for­mer allies. And both of their accounts paint them in a decid­ed­ly favor­able light com­pared with their for­mer allies.

    “The rea­son I’m talk­ing to the com­mit­tee and the rea­son it’s so impor­tant is that — despite Repub­li­cans refus­ing to par­tic­i­pate … this commission’s all we got as far as being able to uncov­er the truth about what hap­pened at the Capi­tol that day,” the orga­niz­er says. “It’s clear that a lot of bad actors set out to cause chaos. … They made us all look like sh it.”

    And Trump, they admit, was one of those bad actors. A rep­re­sen­ta­tive for Trump did not respond to a request for com­ment.

    “The break­ing point for me [on Jan. 6 was when] Trump starts talk­ing about walk­ing to the Capi­tol,” the orga­niz­er says. “I was like. ‘Let’s get the fu ck out of here.’ ”

    “I do kind of feel aban­doned by Trump,” says the plan­ner. “I’m actu­al­ly pret­ty pissed about it and I’m pissed at him.”

    The orga­niz­er offers an even more suc­cinct assess­ment when asked what they would say to Trump.

    “What the fu ck?” the orga­niz­er says.

    The two poten­tial wit­ness­es plan to present to the com­mit­tee alle­ga­tions about how these demon­stra­tions were fund­ed and to detail com­mu­ni­ca­tions between orga­niz­ers and the White House. Accord­ing to both sources, mem­bers of Trump’s admin­is­tra­tion and for­mer mem­bers of his cam­paign team were involved in the plan­ning. Both describe Kat­ri­na Pier­son, who worked for Trump’s cam­paign in 2016 and 2020, as a key liai­son between the orga­niz­ers of protests against the elec­tion and the White House.

    “Kat­ri­na was like our go-to girl,” the orga­niz­er says. “She was like our pri­ma­ry advo­cate.”

    ...

    Both sources also describe Trump’s White House chief of staff, Mark Mead­ows, as some­one who played a major role in the con­ver­sa­tions sur­round­ing the protests on Jan. 6. Among oth­er things, they both say con­cerns were raised to Mead­ows about Alexander’s protest at the Capi­tol and the poten­tial that it could spark vio­lence. Mead­ows was sub­poe­naed by the com­mit­tee last month as part of a group of four peo­ple “with close ties to the for­mer Pres­i­dent who were work­ing in or had com­mu­ni­ca­tions with the White House on or in the days lead­ing up to the Jan­u­ary 6th insur­rec­tion.”

    “Mead­ows was 100 per­cent made aware of what was going on,” says the orga­niz­er. “He’s also like a reg­u­lar fig­ure in these real­ly tiny groups of nation­al orga­niz­ers.”

    A sep­a­rate third source, who has also com­mu­ni­cat­ed with the com­mit­tee and was involved in the Ellipse ral­ly, says Kylie Kre­mer, one of the key orga­niz­ers at that event, boast­ed that she was going to meet with Mead­ows at the White House ahead of the ral­ly. The com­mit­tee has been pro­vid­ed with that infor­ma­tion. Kre­mer did not respond to a request for com­ment.

    Both the orga­niz­er and the plan­ner say Alexan­der ini­tial­ly agreed he would not hold his “Wild Protest” at the Capi­tol and that the Ellipse would be the only major demon­stra­tion. When Alexan­der seemed to be ignor­ing that arrange­ment, both claim wor­ries were brought to Mead­ows.

    “Despite mak­ing a deal … they plowed for­ward with their own thing at the Capi­tol on Jan.y 6 any­way,” the orga­niz­er says of Alexan­der and his allies. “We end­ed up esca­lat­ing that to every­body we could, includ­ing Mead­ows.”

    ...

    Along with mak­ing plans for Jan. 6, the sources say, the mem­bers of Con­gress who were involved solicit­ed sup­posed proof of elec­tion fraud from them. Chal­leng­ing elec­toral cer­ti­fi­ca­tion requires the sup­port of a mem­ber of the Sen­ate. While more than a hun­dred Repub­li­can mem­bers of the House ulti­mate­ly object­ed to the Elec­toral Col­lege count that for­mal­ized Trump’s loss, only a hand­ful of sen­a­tors backed the effort. Accord­ing to the sources, the mem­bers of Con­gress and their staff advised them to hold ral­lies in spe­cif­ic states. The orga­niz­er says loca­tions were cho­sen to put “pres­sure” on key sen­a­tors that “we con­sid­ered to be per­suad­able.”

    “We had also been coor­di­nat­ing with some of our con­gres­sion­al con­tacts on, like, what would be pre­sent­ed after the indi­vid­ual objec­tions, and our expec­ta­tion was that that was the day the storm was going to arrive,” the orga­niz­er says, adding, “It was sup­posed to be the best evi­dence that they had been secret­ly gath­er­ing. … Every­one was going to stay at the Ellipse through­out the con­gres­sion­al thing.”

    Head­ing into Jan. 6, both sources say, the plan they had dis­cussed with oth­er orga­niz­ers, Trump allies, and mem­bers of Con­gress was a ral­ly that would sole­ly take place at the Ellipse, where speak­ers — includ­ing the for­mer pres­i­dent — would present “evi­dence” about issues with the elec­tion. This demon­stra­tion would take place in con­junc­tion with objec­tions that were being made by Trump allies dur­ing the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion on the House floor that day.

    “It was in a vari­ety of calls, some with Gosar and Gosar’s team, some with Mar­jorie Tay­lor Greene and her team … Mo Brooks,” the orga­niz­er says.

    “The Capi­tol was nev­er in play,” insists the plan­ner.

    A senior staffer for a Repub­li­can mem­ber of Con­gress, who was also grant­ed anonymi­ty to dis­cuss the ongo­ing inves­ti­ga­tion, sim­i­lar­ly says they believed the events would only involve sup­port­ing objec­tions on the House floor. The staffer says their mem­ber was engaged in plan­ning that was “specif­i­cal­ly and ful­ly above board.”

    “A whole host of peo­ple let this go a total­ly dif­fer­ent way,” the senior Repub­li­can staffer says. “They fu cked it up for a lot of peo­ple who were plan­ning to present evi­dence on the House floor. We were pissed off at every­thing that hap­pened .”

    The two sources claim there were ear­ly con­cerns about Alexander’s event. They had seen him with mem­bers of the para­mil­i­tary groups 1st Amend­ment Prae­to­ri­an (1AP) and the Oath Keep­ers in his entourage at pri­or pro-Trump ral­lies. Alexan­der was filmed with a reput­ed mem­ber of 1AP at his side at a Novem­ber Stop the Steal event that took place in Geor­gia. The two sources also claim to have been con­cerned about draw­ing peo­ple to the area direct­ly adja­cent to the Capi­tol on Jan. 6, giv­en the anger among Trump sup­port­ers about the elec­toral cer­ti­fi­ca­tion that was under­way that day.

    ...

    ———-

    “EXCLUSIVE: Jan. 6 Protest Orga­niz­ers Say They Par­tic­i­pat­ed in ‘Dozens’ of Plan­ning Meet­ings With Mem­bers of Con­gress and White House Staff” by Hunter Walk­er; The Rolling Stone; 10/24/2021

    “The two sources, both of whom have been grant­ed anonymi­ty due to the ongo­ing inves­ti­ga­tion, describe par­tic­i­pat­ing in “dozens” of plan­ning brief­in­gs ahead of that day when Trump sup­port­ers broke into the Capi­tol as his elec­tion loss to Pres­i­dent Joe Biden was being cer­ti­fied. ”

    “Dozens” of plan­ning brief­in­gs took place in the days lead­ing up to Jan­u­ary 6. Meet­ings between the var­i­ous ral­ly orga­niz­ers, the Trump White House, and far right Repub­li­can mem­bers of con­gress. So when we’re ask­ing who may have been involved in the plan­ning the insur­rec­tion, we have to include these mem­bers of con­gress and their staffers in that inves­ti­ga­tion. This core group of House GOP mem­bers — Mar­jorie Tay­lor Greene, Paul Gosar, Lau­ren Boe­bert, Mo Brooks, Madi­son Cawthorn, Andy Big­gs, and Louie Gohmert — are prime sus­pects for hav­ing played a direct role in the plan­ning for that insur­rec­tion.

    Impor­tant­ly, note how Gosar, Green, and Boe­bert were billed as speak­ers as the “Wild Protest” led by Roger Stone’s “Stop the Steal” out­fit and Ali Alexan­der. Based on the avail­able evi­dence, it was that “Wild Protest” that effec­tive­ly descend­ed into the insur­rec­tionary mob at the Capi­tol. At least that’s what hap­pened on the Jan 6 day of the Stop the Steal DC event. There was a Jan 5 event too, which includ­ed speech­es like Ali Alexan­der lead­ing the crowd on a “vic­to­ry or death” chant. So those three mem­bers of con­gress were coor­di­nat­ing with Alexan­der, Stone, and oth­er “Wild Protest” orga­niz­ers up until the last minute. That’s part of why a focus on this far right con­gres­sion­al clique could end up being cru­cial for this inves­ti­ga­tion. The insur­rec­tionary mob emerged from that ral­ly. A ral­ly led by chants of “vic­to­ry or death” just the day before:

    ...
    “I remem­ber Mar­jorie Tay­lor Greene specif­i­cal­ly,” the orga­niz­er says. “I remem­ber talk­ing to prob­a­bly close to a dozen oth­er mem­bers at one point or anoth­er or their staffs.”

    For the sake of clar­i­ty, we will refer to one of the sources as a ral­ly orga­niz­er and the oth­er as a plan­ner. Rolling Stone has con­firmed that both sources were involved in orga­niz­ing the main event aimed at object­ing to the elec­toral cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, which took place at the White House Ellipse on Jan. 6. Trump spoke at that ral­ly and encour­aged his sup­port­ers to march to the Capi­tol. Some mem­bers of the audi­ence at the Ellipse began walk­ing the mile and a half to the Capi­tol as Trump gave his speech. The bar­ri­cades were stormed min­utes before the for­mer pres­i­dent con­clud­ed his remarks.

    ...

    Along with Greene, the con­spir­a­to­r­i­al pro-Trump Repub­li­can from Geor­gia who took office ear­li­er this year, the pair both say the mem­bers who par­tic­i­pat­ed in these con­ver­sa­tions or had top staffers join in includ­ed Rep. Paul Gosar (R‑Ariz.), Rep. Lau­ren Boe­bert (R‑Colo.), Rep. Mo Brooks (R‑Ala.), Rep. Madi­son Cawthorn (R‑N.C.), Rep. Andy Big­gs (R‑Ariz.), and Rep. Louie Gohmert (R‑Texas).

    “We would talk to Boebert’s team, Cawthorn’s team, Gosar’s team like back to back to back to back,” says the orga­niz­er.

    ...

    These spe­cif­ic mem­bers of Con­gress were involved in the pro-Trump activism around the elec­tion and the elec­toral cer­ti­fi­ca­tion on Jan. 6. Both Brooks and Cawthorn spoke with Trump at the Ellipse on Jan. 6. In his speech at that event, Brooks, who was report­ed­ly wear­ing body armor, declared, “Today is the day Amer­i­can patri­ots start tak­ing down names and kick­ing ass.” Gosar, Greene, and Boe­bert were all billed as speak­ers at the “Wild Protest,” which also took place on Jan. 6 at the Capi­tol..
    ...

    But it’s not just that this con­gres­sion­al cabal had dozens of meet­ings with key plan­ners in the days lead­ing up to Jan 6. It’s the alle­ga­tions of offers of blan­ket par­dons made by Paul Gosar’s office that is the most intrigu­ing. Because let’s not for­get: Paul Gosar does­n’t have the pow­er to issue blan­ket par­dons. Only the pres­i­dent can do that. So Paul Gosar’s office was appar­ent­ly mak­ing offers to orga­niz­ers of “blan­ket par­dons” that only make sense if the offers were being made on behalf of the Trump White House. In oth­er words, if this con­gres­sion­al group was offer­ing blan­ket par­dons we have to assume they were act­ing as an exten­sion of the White House­’s efforts. And when you’re offer­ing blan­ket par­dons to the same peo­ple you’re ask­ing to protest the elec­tion results, that’s effec­tive­ly a request to do ‘what­ev­er it takes’ to ensure the elec­tion results weren’t cer­ti­fied. That’s anoth­er part of what makes this con­gres­sion­al clique’s actions so inter­est­ing: some of these actions only make sense of done if coor­di­na­tion with the White House. Like offers of blan­ket par­dons:

    ...
    And Gosar, who has been one of the most promi­nent defend­ers of the Jan. 6 riot­ers, alleged­ly took things a step fur­ther.

    “Our impres­sion was that it was a done deal,” the orga­niz­er says, “that he’d spo­ken to the pres­i­dent about it in the Oval … in a meet­ing about par­dons and that our names came up. They were work­ing on sub­mit­ting the paper­work and get­ting mem­bers of the House Free­dom Cau­cus to sign on as a show of sup­port.”

    The orga­niz­er claims the pair received “sev­er­al assur­ances” about the “blan­ket par­don” from Gosar.

    ...

    The ral­ly plan­ner describes the par­don as being offered while “encour­ag­ing” the stag­ing of protests against the elec­tion. While the orga­niz­er says they did not get involved in plan­ning the ral­lies sole­ly due to the par­don, they were upset that it ulti­mate­ly did not mate­ri­al­ize.

    “I would have done it either way with or with­out the par­don,” the orga­niz­er says. “I do tru­ly believe in this coun­try, but to use some­thing like that and put that out on the table when some­one is so des­per­ate, it’s real­ly not good busi­ness.”
    ...

    So based on the avail­able cir­cum­stan­tial evi­dence, it would appear that this con­gres­sion­al cabal was effec­tive­ly coor­di­nat­ing with all of these dif­fer­ent groups on behalf of the Trump White House. That’s the only way Paul Gosar could be mak­ing par­don offers. Ali Alexan­der him­self has come out and said it was Gosar, Brooks, and Big­gs who helped him for­mu­late the strat­e­gy for the “Stop the Steal” event. And as we saw, it was that “Wild Protest” that appears to have direct­ly mor­phed into the insur­rec­tion:

    ...
    In anoth­er indi­ca­tion mem­bers of Con­gress may have been involved in plan­ning the protests against the elec­tion, Ali Alexan­der, who helped orga­nize the “Wild Protest,” declared in a since-delet­ed livestream broad­cast that Gosar, Brooks, and Big­gs helped him for­mu­late the strat­e­gy for that event.

    “I was the per­son who came up with the Jan. 6 idea with Con­gress­man Gosar, Con­gress­man Mo Brooks, and Con­gress­man Andy Big­gs,” Alexan­der said at the time. “We four schemed up on putting max­i­mum pres­sure on Con­gress while they were vot­ing so that — who we couldn’t lob­by — we could change the hearts and the minds of Repub­li­cans who were in that body hear­ing our loud roar from out­side.”

    ...

    Alexan­der did not respond to requests for com­ment. The ral­ly plan­ner, who accused Alexan­der of ratch­et­ing up the poten­tial for vio­lence that day while tak­ing advan­tage of funds from donors and oth­ers who helped finance the events, con­firmed that he was in con­tact with those three mem­bers of Con­gress.

    “He just couldn’t help him­self but go on his live and just talk about every­thing that he did and who he talked to,” the plan­ner says of Alexan­der. “So, he, like, real­ly told on him­self.”
    ...

    Intrigu­ing­ly, we’re also told that Alexan­der promised the Ellipse ral­ly orga­niz­ers that he would NOT hold the “Wild Protest” at the Capi­tol on Jan 6. But he did so any­way, prompt­ing the ral­ly orga­niz­ers to con­tact White House Chief of Staff Mark Mead­ows. What, if any, actions did Mead­ows take regard­ing that “Wild Protest”? That remains unan­swered but we’ve seen zero indi­ca­tion any­thing was done by the White House to stop it. Also keep in mind that we’ve that Trump was inform­ing his lieu­tenants in late-Jan 5/ear­ly-Jan 6 that Pence would NOT be going along with any scheme to block the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of the elec­tion results. So the whole move­ment was giv­en about a day to pre­pare for a non-Pence plan:

    ...
    Both sources also describe Trump’s White House chief of staff, Mark Mead­ows, as some­one who played a major role in the con­ver­sa­tions sur­round­ing the protests on Jan. 6. Among oth­er things, they both say con­cerns were raised to Mead­ows about Alexander’s protest at the Capi­tol and the poten­tial that it could spark vio­lence. Mead­ows was sub­poe­naed by the com­mit­tee last month as part of a group of four peo­ple “with close ties to the for­mer Pres­i­dent who were work­ing in or had com­mu­ni­ca­tions with the White House on or in the days lead­ing up to the Jan­u­ary 6th insur­rec­tion.”

    “Mead­ows was 100 per­cent made aware of what was going on,” says the orga­niz­er. “He’s also like a reg­u­lar fig­ure in these real­ly tiny groups of nation­al orga­niz­ers.”

    A sep­a­rate third source, who has also com­mu­ni­cat­ed with the com­mit­tee and was involved in the Ellipse ral­ly, says Kylie Kre­mer, one of the key orga­niz­ers at that event, boast­ed that she was going to meet with Mead­ows at the White House ahead of the ral­ly. The com­mit­tee has been pro­vid­ed with that infor­ma­tion. Kre­mer did not respond to a request for com­ment.

    Both the orga­niz­er and the plan­ner say Alexan­der ini­tial­ly agreed he would not hold his “Wild Protest” at the Capi­tol and that the Ellipse would be the only major demon­stra­tion. When Alexan­der seemed to be ignor­ing that arrange­ment, both claim wor­ries were brought to Mead­ows.

    “Despite mak­ing a deal … they plowed for­ward with their own thing at the Capi­tol on Jan.y 6 any­way,” the orga­niz­er says of Alexan­der and his allies. “We end­ed up esca­lat­ing that to every­body we could, includ­ing Mead­ows.”
    ...

    But these anony­mous sources weren’t exclu­sive­ly pin­ning the blame for the vio­lence on Ali Alexan­der’s deci­sion to go ahead with the “Wild Protest”. They’re blam­ing Trump too for his provoca­tive words:

    ...
    Despite their remain­ing affin­i­ty for Trump and their ques­tions about the vote, both sources say they were moti­vat­ed to come for­ward because of their con­cerns about how the pro-Trump protests against the elec­tion ulti­mate­ly result­ed in the vio­lent attack on the Capi­tol. Of course, with their oth­er legal issues and the House inves­ti­ga­tion, both of these sources have clear moti­va­tion to coop­er­ate with inves­ti­ga­tors and turn on their for­mer allies. And both of their accounts paint them in a decid­ed­ly favor­able light com­pared with their for­mer allies.

    “The rea­son I’m talk­ing to the com­mit­tee and the rea­son it’s so impor­tant is that — despite Repub­li­cans refus­ing to par­tic­i­pate … this commission’s all we got as far as being able to uncov­er the truth about what hap­pened at the Capi­tol that day,” the orga­niz­er says. “It’s clear that a lot of bad actors set out to cause chaos. … They made us all look like sh it.”

    And Trump, they admit, was one of those bad actors. A rep­re­sen­ta­tive for Trump did not respond to a request for com­ment.

    “The break­ing point for me [on Jan. 6 was when] Trump starts talk­ing about walk­ing to the Capi­tol,” the orga­niz­er says. “I was like. ‘Let’s get the fu ck out of here.’ ”
    ...

    Also note, regard­ing the coor­di­na­tion with mem­bers of con­gress, how there real­ly was a short­age of GOP Sen­a­tors who were will­ing to play along with the scheme and file for­mal com­plaints. More than 100 Repub­li­can mem­bers of the House ulti­mate­ly object­ed to the elec­tion results, but only a hand­ful of Sen­a­tors. This could end up being an espe­cial­ly impor­tant detail in terms of estab­lish­ing the motive for why the insur­rec­tion was start­ed in the first place: it bought time that could be used to lob­by way­ward Sen­a­tors. Recall how we are told that Rudy Giu­liani lit­er­al­ly left a voice­mail at 7 PM on Jan­u­ary 6, hours after the insur­rec­tion, implor­ing Sen­a­tor Tom­my Tuberville to block the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion. So when we’re won­der­ing what kind of last-minute cal­cu­lus was at work as the Trump admin­is­tra­tion allowed the sit­u­a­tion to spi­ral out of con­trol, the fact that they clear­ly still need­ed more GOP Sen­a­tors to go along with the scheme should be kept in mind:

    ...
    Along with mak­ing plans for Jan. 6, the sources say, the mem­bers of Con­gress who were involved solicit­ed sup­posed proof of elec­tion fraud from them. Chal­leng­ing elec­toral cer­ti­fi­ca­tion requires the sup­port of a mem­ber of the Sen­ate. While more than a hun­dred Repub­li­can mem­bers of the House ulti­mate­ly object­ed to the Elec­toral Col­lege count that for­mal­ized Trump’s loss, only a hand­ful of sen­a­tors backed the effort. Accord­ing to the sources, the mem­bers of Con­gress and their staff advised them to hold ral­lies in spe­cif­ic states. The orga­niz­er says loca­tions were cho­sen to put “pres­sure” on key sen­a­tors that “we con­sid­ered to be per­suad­able.”

    “We had also been coor­di­nat­ing with some of our con­gres­sion­al con­tacts on, like, what would be pre­sent­ed after the indi­vid­ual objec­tions, and our expec­ta­tion was that that was the day the storm was going to arrive,” the orga­niz­er says, adding, “It was sup­posed to be the best evi­dence that they had been secret­ly gath­er­ing. … Every­one was going to stay at the Ellipse through­out the con­gres­sion­al thing.”
    ...

    Final­ly, and impor­tant­ly, note how the two anony­mous sources for this report assert that their con­cerns over Ali Alexan­der’s planned “Wild Protest” were root­ed, in part, over the risk of draw­ing a large num­ber of very angry peo­ple to the area direct­ly out­side the Capi­tol. As we’re going to see with the sto­ry of the new­ly dis­cov­ered plans for a ral­ly out­side the Supreme Court lat­er that after­noon, this Supreme Court ral­ly was more or less right out­side the Capi­tol, mak­ing these claims that there were con­cerns about a ral­ly next to the Capi­tol seem rather con­ve­nient after the fact:

    ...
    The two sources claim there were ear­ly con­cerns about Alexander’s event. They had seen him with mem­bers of the para­mil­i­tary groups 1st Amend­ment Prae­to­ri­an (1AP) and the Oath Keep­ers in his entourage at pri­or pro-Trump ral­lies. Alexan­der was filmed with a reput­ed mem­ber of 1AP at his side at a Novem­ber Stop the Steal event that took place in Geor­gia. The two sources also claim to have been con­cerned about draw­ing peo­ple to the area direct­ly adja­cent to the Capi­tol on Jan. 6, giv­en the anger among Trump sup­port­ers about the elec­toral cer­ti­fi­ca­tion that was under­way that day.
    ...

    Ok, and now here’s anoth­er Rolling Stone arti­cle by Hunter Walk­er that was pub­lished a month lat­er and appears to be based on the same three anony­mous sources. We get a few more details on what exact­ly the coor­di­na­tion was between the “Women for Amer­i­ca First” Ellipse ral­ly plan­ners and the planned Roger Stone/Ali Alexan­der “Stop the Steal” ral­ly. For exam­ple, we learn that the Ellipse ral­ly orga­niz­ers appeared to real­ize on Decem­ber 31 that Ali Alexan­der’s Stop the Steal oper­a­tion was going to plow ahead with a Jan 6 ral­ly despite pri­or assur­ances to the con­trary. That’s six days they had to pre­vent that Capi­tol protest.

    The piece also makes clear how close­ly the White House was work­ing with the Ellipse ral­ly orga­niz­ers to ensure they get all the per­mis­sions need­ed for the event to hap­pen. It’s a reminder of anoth­er cru­cial role the con­gres­sion­al clique like­ly played for the Stop the Steal ral­lies on Jan 5 and 6 out­side the Capi­tol: you’re a lot more like­ly to get a license for your event at the Ellipse or out­side the Capi­tol if you’re work­ing with mem­bers of con­gress or the White House. So it looks like it was the con­gres­sion­al far right clique who gave Stop the Steal the con­gres­sion­al back­ing it need­ed to get per­mit for the Stop the Steal ral­ly out­side the Capi­tol and the White House who backed the slight­ly more respectable Ellipse ral­ly. A divide and con­quer strat­e­gy that helped com­part­men­tal­ize the insur­rec­tion away from the White House:

    The Rolling Stone

    Leaked Texts: Jan. 6 Orga­niz­ers Say They Were ‘Fol­low­ing POTUS’ Lead’

    Ral­ly plan­ners coor­di­nat­ed close­ly with the White House before Jan. 6 and read­ied a din­ner par­ty while the Capi­tol was under siege, accord­ing to leaked group text mes­sages obtained by Rolling Stone

    Hunter Walk­er
    Novem­ber 21, 2021 9:28PM ET

    At 5:30 pm on Jan. 6, police were in their third hour of bat­tle with sup­port­ers of for­mer Pres­i­dent Trump on the steps of the U.S. Capi­tol. Mean­while, about a mile away in a suite at the Willard Inter­con­ti­nen­tal Hotel, Amy Kre­mer, a con­ser­v­a­tive activist who orga­nized a major pro-Trump ral­ly near the White House that pre­ced­ed the vio­lence, appar­ent­ly had hors d’oeuvres on her mind.

    ...

    An emer­gency cur­few took effect and Nation­al Guard troops arrived at the Capi­tol to clear the remain­ing crowds at rough­ly the same time Kre­mer and her fel­low orga­niz­ers received their cured meats. Three sources, who spoke on the con­di­tion of anonymi­ty due to the ongo­ing inves­ti­ga­tions into the ral­ly, told Rolling Stone that, along with food, peo­ple were drink­ing cham­pagne in the suite while riot­ers skir­mished with law enforce­ment at the Capi­tol com­plex.

    Kremer’s insur­rec­tion night din­ner order was detailed in a series of text mes­sages and group chats from Jan­u­ary 6 ral­ly orga­niz­ers that were obtained and reviewed by Rolling Stone. The mes­sages includ­ed months of dis­cus­sions as Kremer’s “March For Trump” group staged a bus tour around the coun­try to protest the for­mer president’s elec­tion loss. The con­ver­sa­tions revealed new details of the ral­ly orga­niz­ers’ coor­di­na­tion with the Trump White House.

    Kremer’s Jan. 6 ral­ly took place on the White House Ellipse as Trump’s elec­tion loss was being cer­ti­fied at the U.S. Capi­tol. The event fea­tured a speech by Trump where he urged the crowd to “fight like hell,” and indi­cat­ed he expect­ed them to march to the Capi­tol com­plex. Some of the audi­ence at the ral­ly began mak­ing the approx­i­mate­ly mile-and-a-half long trek to the Capi­tol as Trump con­clud­ed his remarks. The bar­ri­cades at the Capi­tol were breached min­utes before the for­mer pres­i­dent fin­ished the speech.

    ...

    Group chats also pro­vid­ed a glimpse of ten­sions between ral­ly plan­ners. And the con­ver­sa­tions showed how their core group react­ed to the chaos that erupt­ed that day in real time, includ­ing Kre­mer reject­ing calls to hold a press con­fer­ence denounc­ing the vio­lence.

    ...

    The texts reviewed by Rolling Stone reveal that on Decem­ber 13, 2020, Kre­mer texted the group to say she was “still wait­ing to hear from the WH on the pho­to op with the bus.” On Jan­u­ary 1, before the Ellipse ral­ly was pub­licly announced, Kylie sent a mes­sage to anoth­er group chat that said she was still work­ing on the per­mits and “just FYI – we still can’t tweet out about the ellipse.”

    “We are fol­low­ing POTUS’ lead,” Kylie wrote, using an abbre­vi­a­tion for the pres­i­dent.

    Two days lat­er, on Jan­u­ary 3, March For Trump activist Dustin Stock­ton texted one of the team’s groups to ask who was “han­dling” ral­ly cre­den­tials for VIPs. “It’s a com­bi­na­tion of us and WH,” Kylie replied.

    Stockton’s fiancee, Jen­nifer Lawrence, had a sim­i­lar ques­tion when she asked a chat group where media cre­den­tial requests for the Ellipse ral­ly were going after being sub­mit­ted on the group’s web­site.

    “To cam­paign,” Kylie respond­ed in an appar­ent ref­er­ence to Trump’s re-elec­tion team. “They are han­dling all.”

    ...

    As the big ral­ly approached, the group chats grew even more excit­ed. On the morn­ing of Jan­u­ary 5, Kre­mer texted the orga­niz­ers and declared “we are about to be part of a piv­otal and his­toric moment in our nation’s his­to­ry.”

    “Thank you for tak­ing this jour­ney with Women For Amer­i­ca First. I love you all and am grate­ful for each of you,” Kre­mer wrote, adding, “Let’s go save the Repub­lic!”

    But the con­ver­sa­tions weren’t all cel­e­bra­to­ry. The group chats also revealed some of the ten­sions behind the scenes of the efforts to protest Trump’s elec­tion loss.

    Kre­mer and Women For Amer­i­ca First weren’t the only ones involved in plan­ning events to protest the elec­tion result. Anoth­er group, Stop the Steal, which was led by far right activist Ali Alexan­der, held its own ral­lies around the coun­try and planned a “Wild Protest” out­side the Capi­tol on Jan­u­ary 6. Two sources who were involved in the Ellipse ral­ly plan­ning pre­vi­ous­ly told Rolling Stone they had con­cerns Alexander’s event could turn vio­lent due to his appar­ent ties to mili­tia groups and its loca­tion direct­ly out­side the Capi­tol. Those sources claimed Alexan­der ini­tial­ly agreed he would not hold the “Wild Protest” and would allow the Ellipse ral­ly to be the only major pro-Trump event in D.C. on Jan­u­ary 6.

    The March For Trump group chat con­ver­sa­tions hint at some of the ten­sions between Kremer’s group and the “Wild Protest” plan­ners. On the 6th, the group chats indi­cate Kremer’s group had a dis­pute with Alexan­der over VIP seats at the Ellipse ral­ly.

    “Ali try­ing to rearrange our women for amer­i­ca seats,” wrote one of the group’s vol­un­teers. “Stop that sh it,” replied Stock­ton.

    ...

    The group chats also show some of the dra­ma that played out with­in Kremer’s team. On Dec. 31, as the mem­bers of the group real­ized the “Wild Protest” seemed to be mov­ing for­ward, Kylie post­ed a series of angry mes­sages accus­ing the peo­ple who were rid­ing the bus of focus­ing on irrel­e­vant issues and not suf­fi­cient­ly appre­ci­at­ing the work being done to plan the Ellipse event. Kylie dis­missed the “Wild Protest” as “all the peo­ple who aren’t invit­ed or POTUS won’t be asso­ci­at­ed with.”

    “How do yall not get it? Seri­ous­ly. Every­one needs to get off that damn bus because you are all going crazy focused on things that don’t mat­ter.”

    ...

    ———–

    “Leaked Texts: Jan. 6 Orga­niz­ers Say They Were ‘Fol­low­ing POTUS’ Lead’” by Hunter Walk­er; The Rolling Stone; 11/21/2021

    Kre­mer and Women For Amer­i­ca First weren’t the only ones involved in plan­ning events to protest the elec­tion result. Anoth­er group, Stop the Steal, which was led by far right activist Ali Alexan­der, held its own ral­lies around the coun­try and planned a “Wild Protest” out­side the Capi­tol on Jan­u­ary 6. Two sources who were involved in the Ellipse ral­ly plan­ning pre­vi­ous­ly told Rolling Stone they had con­cerns Alexander’s event could turn vio­lent due to his appar­ent ties to mili­tia groups and its loca­tion direct­ly out­side the Capi­tol. Those sources claimed Alexan­der ini­tial­ly agreed he would not hold the “Wild Protest” and would allow the Ellipse ral­ly to be the only major pro-Trump event in D.C. on Jan­u­ary 6.

    What’s the actu­al sto­ry here about the plans for the ‘wild’ Stop The Steal ral­ly? Was it planned or not? We aren’t get­ting a clear answer. These anony­mous sources claim Ali Alexan­der ini­tial­ly agreed he would not hold the “Wild Protest” and would allow the Ellipse ral­ly to be the only major event that day. It almost sound­ed like the two ral­lies per­haps merged, with text mes­sages from the morn­ing of the 6th indi­cat­ing con­ster­na­tion of Alexan­der’s attempts to shuf­fle the VIP seat­ing arrange­ments. And yet, group chats from Dec 31 indi­cate that the Ellipse ral­ly coor­di­na­tors seemed to real­ize the Stop the Steal ral­ly was indeed mov­ing for­ward and was dis­missed at the time as “all the peo­ple who aren’t invit­ed or POTUS won’t be asso­ci­at­ed with.” So the Stop the Steal ral­ly was set up to be like a less rep­utable garbage bin of the groups and fig­ures who weren’t allowed to the Ellipse ral­ly. Like mili­tia types. It’s like an advanced com­part­men­tal­iza­tion of the forces. And they weren’t all that com­part­men­tal­ized. Alexan­der was at the Ellipse ral­ly, rear­rang­ing VIP seats:

    ...
    The March For Trump group chat con­ver­sa­tions hint at some of the ten­sions between Kremer’s group and the “Wild Protest” plan­ners. On the 6th, the group chats indi­cate Kremer’s group had a dis­pute with Alexan­der over VIP seats at the Ellipse ral­ly.

    “Ali try­ing to rearrange our women for amer­i­ca seats,” wrote one of the group’s vol­un­teers. “Stop that sh it,” replied Stock­ton.

    ...

    The group chats also show some of the dra­ma that played out with­in Kremer’s team. On Dec. 31, as the mem­bers of the group real­ized the “Wild Protest” seemed to be mov­ing for­ward, Kylie post­ed a series of angry mes­sages accus­ing the peo­ple who were rid­ing the bus of focus­ing on irrel­e­vant issues and not suf­fi­cient­ly appre­ci­at­ing the work being done to plan the Ellipse event. Kylie dis­missed the “Wild Protest” as “all the peo­ple who aren’t invit­ed or POTUS won’t be asso­ci­at­ed with.”
    ...

    As we saw above, it was con­cerns about the prox­im­i­ty of the Stop the Steal ral­ly direct­ly out­side the Capi­tol and the poten­tial for vio­lence that prompt­ed all the con­ster­na­tion in the first place. So if those pro­fessed con­cerns were gen­uine, how do the Ellipse ral­ly orga­niz­ers explain the recent­ly revealed planned ral­ly right out­side the Supreme Court, adja­cent to the Capi­tol? Sure, the Supreme Court ral­ly did­n’t actu­al­ly end up hap­pen­ing because it was pre­clud­ed by the insur­rec­tion. But it was indeed planned. So the same group of peo­ple telling us that they opposed the Stop the Steal ral­ly over fears hold­ing a ral­ly next to the Capi­tol would foment vio­lence had their own ral­ly planned right next to the Capi­tol at the same time:

    Talk­ing Points Memo
    Muck­rak­er

    EXCLUSIVE: There Was ANOTHER Ral­ly Planned On Jan. 6 … At The Supreme Court
    The same peo­ple who orga­nized Trump’s fate­ful ral­ly on the Ellipse had some­thing else in store on Jan. 6: a ral­ly planned in front of the Supreme Court.

    By Josh Koven­sky
    Decem­ber 28, 2021 9:11 a.m.

    The same peo­ple who orga­nized Trump’s fate­ful ral­ly on the Ellipse had some­thing else in store on Jan. 6: a sep­a­rate, pre­vi­ous­ly unre­port­ed ral­ly planned in front of the Supreme Court.

    Accord­ing to text mes­sages and invoic­es obtained by TPM and pro­vid­ed to the House Jan. 6 Com­mit­tee, the ral­ly out­side of the Supreme Court was set for the after­noon of Jan. 6 with some of the same speak­ers sched­uled to appear.

    The plan for a Supreme Court ral­ly after the event at the Ellipse reveals a new and dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive on the geog­ra­phy and tim­ing of the attack on the Capi­tol.

    We already knew that Pres­i­dent Trump amassed sup­port­ers at the Ellipse, at the White House end of Penn­syl­va­nia Avenue, and dis­patched them toward the Capi­tol end of Penn­syl­va­nia Avenue, declar­ing that he would walk with them before prompt­ly return­ing to the White House. But whether the ral­ly at the Ellipse was planned as a march on the Capi­tol, even though it was nev­er issued a march per­mit, remains a hot­ly con­test­ed issue. Regard­less, riot­ers pen­e­trat­ed the Capi­tol even as the Pres­i­dent was still speak­ing at the Ellipse.

    But now TPM’s report­ing sug­gests that the Ellipse ral­ly orga­niz­ers intend­ed to hold a sep­a­rate 2 p.m. ET event on the steps of the Supreme Court, across the street from the Capi­tol, where Con­gress began cer­ti­fy­ing the Elec­toral Col­lege vote at noon ET. It sug­gests that orga­niz­ers want­ed to keep up the pres­sure on Con­gress through an event far clos­er to the Capi­tol.

    And to get there, Big Lie sup­port­ers would have had to walk past the Capi­tol build­ing, tra­vers­ing a geo­graph­ic bit of irony: Con­sti­tu­tion Avenue.

    ...

    ‘Hun­dreds, if not thou­sands’

    A group of vet­er­an con­ser­v­a­tive activists were involved in both of the Jan. 6 ral­lies: Women for Amer­i­ca First, run by Tea Par­ty activist Amy Kre­mer and her daugh­ter, Kylie Jane Kre­mer.

    ...

    Over at the Supreme Court, secu­ri­ty guards that had been sub­con­tract­ed out from Women for Amer­i­ca First had already arrived to help set up the ral­ly.

    One guard told TPM that upon arrival, he and oth­er guards found a small stage and an array of sound equip­ment.

    ...

    But back at the Ellipse, orga­niz­ers — at least offi­cial­ly — weren’t expect­ing a march.

    Accord­ing to a per­mit filed with the Depart­ment of the Inte­ri­or, Women for Amer­i­ca First orga­niz­ers did not receive per­mis­sion to stage a march from the Ellipse to the Capi­tol, or to any­where else.

    Instead, orga­niz­ers cre­at­ed two events that day: one in the morn­ing out­side the White House, and one at the Supreme Court, set to begin at 2 p.m. ET.

    There was no plan­ning for a march of any kind.

    But for VIPs expect­ed to attend the Supreme Court ral­ly, get­ting from the Ellipse to the Supreme Court was always part of the plan.

    Trump took the stage at the Ellipse ral­ly at noon, and soon blew through his allot­ted win­dow, accord­ing to Steve Ban­non, who said lat­er that day on his pod­cast that Trump “went over” his time — “he ad libbed, he riffed.”

    To ral­ly orga­niz­ers, the Supreme Court event was timed to fol­low Trump’s remarks.

    “Once POTUS is done speak­ing here, the spe­cial guests will leave for sco­tus,” one Jan. 6 text mes­sage from a secu­ri­ty per­son, sent at 12:51 p.m. ET, reads.

    Two min­utes lat­er, video pub­lished by ProP­ub­li­ca shows, the first insur­rec­tion­ists began to over­whelm the out­er defens­es of Capi­tol police.

    ...

    It’s not clear whether orga­niz­ers exhort­ed atten­dees to go from the White House to the Supreme Court — a jour­ney that would have forced peo­ple to walk by and around the Capi­tol build­ing. An archived ver­sion of the March for Trump web­site does not men­tion a Supreme Court ral­ly on Jan. 6.

    But an invoice for a secu­ri­ty sub­con­trac­tor obtained by TPM and sent to the Jan. 6 Com­mit­tee shows that orga­niz­ers planned to pro­vide secu­ri­ty for an event at the Supreme Court: Eleven guards were hired to han­dle the ral­ly on the Ellipse, two peo­ple for the Jan. 5 ral­ly at Free­dom Plaza, and four peo­ple to staff the ral­ly at SCOTUS.

    ...

    Secu­ri­ty guards work­ing the Supreme Court ral­ly were first told to be ready for the event to begin at 2 p.m. ET, while speak­ers and spe­cial guests were set to begin at 3 p.m., ET texts say.

    “We were there freez­ing our butts off until after the speech­es — when they start­ed the insur­rec­tion,” one secu­ri­ty guard who worked the event told TPM, refer­ring to the speech­es at the Ellipse.

    But the start time began to get pushed back, the guard said.

    At 1:40 p.m. ET, the Kre­mers and Dia­mond and Silk still hadn’t reached the Supreme Court. Rather, texts say, they had made it to the Willard Hotel — the Trump team’s “com­mand cen­ter” in its bid to block Biden from tak­ing office.

    “We should be good to col­lapse back to the hotel, regroup and prep for SCOTUS,” one text mes­sage con­cludes.

    But the sit­u­a­tion at the Capi­tol was only get­ting more vio­lent.

    At 2:12 p.m. ET, the first insur­gents broke into the Capi­tol build­ing itself. Mem­bers of Con­gress and sen­a­tors were being evac­u­at­ed, as news reports showed mas­sive crowds over­run­ning the inau­gu­ra­tion scaf­fold­ing.

    ...

    The Jan. 6 Com­mit­tee is review­ing this infor­ma­tion as part of its inves­ti­ga­tion into the attack on the Capi­tol and Trump’s attempt to sub­vert the 2020 elec­tion.

    A doc­u­ment released by DHS showed an offi­cial say­ing before the insur­rec­tion that author­i­ties expect­ed “large groups” at both the Capi­tol and the Supreme Court, while the Fed­er­al Pro­tec­tive Ser­vice also antic­i­pat­ed protests out­side the build­ing.

    ...

    At 2:18 p.m. ET, a secu­ri­ty offi­cial texted a What­sapp group for the pri­vate secu­ri­ty guards at the Supreme Court: “Effec­tive ASAP. Shut down oper­a­tions at SCOTUS.”

    “Pro­tes­tors storm­ing US Capi­tol. You guys be care­ful leav­ing there,” the mes­sage reads.

    ———

    “EXCLUSIVE: There Was ANOTHER Ral­ly Planned On Jan. 6 … At The Supreme Court” by Josh Koven­sky; Talk­ing Points Memo; 12/28/2021

    “But now TPM’s report­ing sug­gests that the Ellipse ral­ly orga­niz­ers intend­ed to hold a sep­a­rate 2 p.m. ET event on the steps of the Supreme Court, across the street from the Capi­tol, where Con­gress began cer­ti­fy­ing the Elec­toral Col­lege vote at noon ET. It sug­gests that orga­niz­ers want­ed to keep up the pres­sure on Con­gress through an event far clos­er to the Capi­tol.

    A new sur­prise planned event, right next to the Capi­tol. And planned by the exact same group of Ellipse ral­ly plan­ners — Women for Amer­i­ca First — who were alleged­ly all con­cerned about the poten­tial for vio­lence should Ali Alexan­der’s Stop the Steal ral­ly also be held next to the Capi­tol. The sto­ry isn’t adding up.

    Beyond that, there’s a ques­tion of how exact­ly the plan­ners expect­ed peo­ple to get from the Ellipse ral­ly to the Supreme Court ral­ly with­out a march after the Ellipse ral­ly. There was no offi­cial plan­ning for a match, and yet it’s hard to see how all those peo­ple at the Ellipse make it to the area out­side the Supreme Court with a march. Again, this sto­ry just does­n’t make sense:

    ...
    “There were hun­dreds, if not thou­sands of them — and we just stood there, watch­ing them march­ing,” one per­son hired to work as a secu­ri­ty guard for the Supreme Court event told TPM.

    But back at the Ellipse, orga­niz­ers — at least offi­cial­ly — weren’t expect­ing a march.

    Accord­ing to a per­mit filed with the Depart­ment of the Inte­ri­or, Women for Amer­i­ca First orga­niz­ers did not receive per­mis­sion to stage a march from the Ellipse to the Capi­tol, or to any­where else.

    Instead, orga­niz­ers cre­at­ed two events that day: one in the morn­ing out­side the White House, and one at the Supreme Court, set to begin at 2 p.m. ET.

    There was no plan­ning for a march of any kind.

    But for VIPs expect­ed to attend the Supreme Court ral­ly, get­ting from the Ellipse to the Supreme Court was always part of the plan.

    Trump took the stage at the Ellipse ral­ly at noon, and soon blew through his allot­ted win­dow, accord­ing to Steve Ban­non, who said lat­er that day on his pod­cast that Trump “went over” his time — “he ad libbed, he riffed.”

    To ral­ly orga­niz­ers, the Supreme Court event was timed to fol­low Trump’s remarks.

    “Once POTUS is done speak­ing here, the spe­cial guests will leave for sco­tus,” one Jan. 6 text mes­sage from a secu­ri­ty per­son, sent at 12:51 p.m. ET, reads.

    Two min­utes lat­er, video pub­lished by ProP­ub­li­ca shows, the first insur­rec­tion­ists began to over­whelm the out­er defens­es of Capi­tol police.

    At the time, ral­ly orga­niz­ers were still focused on get­ting VIPs to the Supreme Court. In this case, that meant the Kre­mers and Dia­mond and Silk.

    Around 45 min­utes lat­er, at 1:37 p.m. ET, a secu­ri­ty guard texted that he was on the move in two golf carts.

    “One for Amy and Kylie. One for Dia­mond and Silk,” the mes­sage reads.

    ...

    At 2:12 p.m. ET, the first insur­gents broke into the Capi­tol build­ing itself. Mem­bers of Con­gress and sen­a­tors were being evac­u­at­ed, as news reports showed mas­sive crowds over­run­ning the inau­gu­ra­tion scaf­fold­ing.

    ...

    At 2:18 p.m. ET, a secu­ri­ty offi­cial texted a What­sapp group for the pri­vate secu­ri­ty guards at the Supreme Court: “Effec­tive ASAP. Shut down oper­a­tions at SCOTUS.”
    ...

    And note an archived ver­sion of the March for Trump web­site makes no men­tion of the planned Supreme Court ral­ly at all. It’s like some sort of ral­ly mirage. And yet DHS offi­cials appar­ent­ly expect­ed “large groups” at both the Capi­tol and Supreme Court accord­ing to doc­u­ments. So let the gov­ern­ment know there was a planned ral­ly out­side the Supreme Court, but did­n’t actu­al­ly noti­fy the ral­ly atten­dees. It’s as if they planned for a ral­ly they did­n’t nec­es­sar­i­ly expect was actu­al­ly going to hap­pen. And sure enough, the insur­rec­tion got the ral­ly can­celed. An insur­rec­tion that hap­pened after the ral­ly goers march along the exact same path they would have had to march to get to the Supreme Court ral­ly. It’s all quite a remark­able coin­ci­dence:

    ...
    We already knew that Pres­i­dent Trump amassed sup­port­ers at the Ellipse, at the White House end of Penn­syl­va­nia Avenue, and dis­patched them toward the Capi­tol end of Penn­syl­va­nia Avenue, declar­ing that he would walk with them before prompt­ly return­ing to the White House. But whether the ral­ly at the Ellipse was planned as a march on the Capi­tol, even though it was nev­er issued a march per­mit, remains a hot­ly con­test­ed issue. Regard­less, riot­ers pen­e­trat­ed the Capi­tol even as the Pres­i­dent was still speak­ing at the Ellipse.

    ...

    It’s not clear whether orga­niz­ers exhort­ed atten­dees to go from the White House to the Supreme Court — a jour­ney that would have forced peo­ple to walk by and around the Capi­tol build­ing. An archived ver­sion of the March for Trump web­site does not men­tion a Supreme Court ral­ly on Jan. 6.

    But an invoice for a secu­ri­ty sub­con­trac­tor obtained by TPM and sent to the Jan. 6 Com­mit­tee shows that orga­niz­ers planned to pro­vide secu­ri­ty for an event at the Supreme Court: Eleven guards were hired to han­dle the ral­ly on the Ellipse, two peo­ple for the Jan. 5 ral­ly at Free­dom Plaza, and four peo­ple to staff the ral­ly at SCOTUS.

    ...

    A doc­u­ment released by DHS showed an offi­cial say­ing before the insur­rec­tion that author­i­ties expect­ed “large groups” at both the Capi­tol and the Supreme Court, while the Fed­er­al Pro­tec­tive Ser­vice also antic­i­pat­ed protests out­side the build­ing.
    ...

    How many more ral­lies were planned for that day? We’ll see. But, again, don’t for­get that what­ev­er plans they had in mind on Jan 5 were no longer valid after Mike Pence decid­ed to not play along on the evening of Jan 5. So not only should we not be sur­prised to learn about new last minute schem­ing but we also should­n’t be too sur­prised if those schemes turn out to be cra­zier than we could have imag­ined. We’re already in secret blan­ket par­don ter­ri­to­ry here, after all.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 31, 2021, 5:48 pm
  34. We got an update to the ongo­ing mys­tery of what caused the near­ly three hour delay in the response by the Nation­al Guard dur­ing the Jan­u­ary 6 Capi­tol insur­rec­tion. William Walk­er, then the com­mand­ing gen­er­al of the DC Nation­al Guard, held a press con­fer­ence where he took ques­tions regard­ing a email sent by then-Chief of Staff Mark Mead­ows. The email was one of a trove of emails Mead­ows sent to the House inves­ti­ga­tion last month. And in this email Mead­ows asserts that the Nation­al Guard was going to be on stand­by to ‘Pro­tect pro-Trump Peo­ple’ on Jan 6. The recip­i­ent of this email from Mead­ows has not been iden­ti­fied.

    When asked what could have prompt­ed this email, Walk­er told reporters “Your guess is as good as mine”. This is a good time to recall how Walk­er is one of the fig­ures who has been pub­licly hint­ing at some sort of cov­er up this whole time. For exam­ple, both Walk­er and Col Earl Matthews — the top attor­ney to Walk­er that day — have been high­ly crit­i­cal of the Pen­ta­gon Inspec­tor Gen­er­al’s report, call­ing it effec­tive­ly a fab­ri­ca­tion that obscures the role Gen­er­al Charles Fly­nn played in hold­ing back the Guard.

    But here’s the key detail to keep in mind regard­ing Mead­ow’s omi­nous email: it was sent on Jan 5. And as we’ve seen, it was­n’t until the evening of Jan 5 that it became clear that Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence was NOT going to be going along with any schemes to block the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of the elec­toral col­lege vote. So when we now learn that Mark Mead­ows was assur­ing par­ties on Jan 5 that the Capi­tol Police would be on stand­by to pro­tect pro-Trump forces, we have to ask the ques­tion: was this email sent before or after it because unam­bigu­ous­ly clear that Mike Pence was­n’t going to go along with any of the vote-block­ing schemes?:

    Talk­ing Points Memo

    Top Offi­cial Denies Alleged Mead­ows Mes­sage That Nation­al Guard Was On Stand­by To ‘Pro­tect Pro-Trump Peo­ple’ On Jan. 6

    By Kate Riga
    Jan­u­ary 4, 2022 3:45 p.m.

    William Walk­er, cur­rent­ly the House Sergeant at Arms and pre­vi­ous­ly com­mand­ing gen­er­al of the D.C. Nation­al Guard, denied Tues­day that the Guard was on stand­by to pro­tect for­mer Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s sup­port­ers dur­ing the Jan. 6 insur­rec­tion.

    The claim sur­faced in doc­u­ments released by the Jan. 6 com­mit­tee, where mem­bers describe an email Mead­ows sent on Jan. 5 in which he alleged­ly said that the Guard would be present at the Capi­tol to “pro­tect pro-Trump peo­ple.” The com­mit­tee did not iden­ti­fy to whom Mead­ows sent the email.

    “Your guess is as good as mine,” Walk­er shrugged Tues­day, when asked what would have prompt­ed Mead­ows to make the claim. “The Nation­al Guard was nev­er on stand­by to pro­tect any­body, pro-Trump or anti-Trump. What we were doing on Jan. 5 was the mis­sion that the may­or of the Dis­trict of Colum­bia request­ed us to do, and that was approved by the Sec­re­tary of the Army.”

    Ques­tions about the Nation­al Guard — its late arrival to the Capi­tol, its seem­ing lack of prepa­ra­tion for the event — have per­me­at­ed attempts to under­stand the secu­ri­ty breach, with Mead­ows’ alleged claim attract­ing wide­spread atten­tion.

    ...

    The Sen­ate is cur­rent­ly slat­ed to be in ses­sion on Thurs­day. The House is out, but has a num­ber of events planned in which mem­bers will par­tic­i­pate. The day will end with a prayer vig­il on the Capi­tol steps — and a duel­ing Trump press con­fer­ence from Mar-a-Lago.

    ———–

    “Top Offi­cial Denies Alleged Mead­ows Mes­sage That Nation­al Guard Was On Stand­by To ‘Pro­tect Pro-Trump Peo­ple’ On Jan. 6” by Kate Riga; Talk­ing Points Memo; 01/04/2022

    “The claim sur­faced in doc­u­ments released by the Jan. 6 com­mit­tee, where mem­bers describe an email Mead­ows sent on Jan. 5 in which he alleged­ly said that the Guard would be present at the Capi­tol to “pro­tect pro-Trump peo­ple.” The com­mit­tee did not iden­ti­fy to whom Mead­ows sent the email.

    You could­n’t have picked a more omi­nous date for Mark Mead­ows to have sent that omi­nous email. Based on avail­able infor­ma­tion, it was Jan 5 when the schem­ing went from des­per­ate schemes cen­tered around Mike Pence to des­per­ate schemes through any means nec­es­sary. Again, was this email sent after the Trump team learned it was­n’t going to have Pence’s coop­er­a­tion? We don’t know, but it’s worth not­ing anoth­er relat­ed detail found in the ini­tial Politi­co report last month that first revealed the Mead­ows email assur­ing some­one that the Guard would be on stand­by to ‘pro­tect pro Trump peo­ple’: it was on Jan 3 that for­mer Defense Sec­re­tary Christo­pher Miller was told by Trump to “do what­ev­er was nec­es­sary to pro­tect the demon­stra­tors that were exe­cut­ing their con­sti­tu­tion­al­ly pro­tect­ed rights.” So the Trump team was already think­ing about how to using the mil­i­tary to pro­tect the ‘pro-Trump’ forces in the days lead­ing up to the insur­rec­tion:

    Politi­co

    Mead­ows Jan. 5 email indi­cat­ed Guard on stand­by to ‘pro­tect pro Trump peo­ple,’ inves­ti­ga­tors say

    The con­text for the mes­sage is unclear, but it comes amid scruti­ny of the Guard’s slow response to the Jan. 6 vio­lence at the Capi­tol.

    By KYLE CHENEY and NICHOLAS WU

    12/12/2021 06:35 PM EST
    Updat­ed: 12/12/2021 08:42 PM EST

    Mark Mead­ows indi­cat­ed in a Jan. 5 email that the Nation­al Guard was on stand­by to “pro­tect pro Trump peo­ple,” accord­ing to doc­u­ments obtained by the House com­mit­tee inves­ti­gat­ing the Capi­tol riot, which the pan­el described in a pub­lic fil­ing Sun­day night.

    The con­text for the mes­sage is unclear, but it comes amid intense scruti­ny of the Guard’s slow response to vio­lence at the Capi­tol on Jan. 6 and con­flict­ing time­lines about their efforts from the Pen­ta­gon and Nation­al Guard lead­er­ship.

    It’s unclear who Mead­ows, the for­mer White House chief of staff to Don­ald Trump, relayed the infor­ma­tion to or whether it was the result of any insight pro­vid­ed by the Defense Depart­ment. But the exchange is of high inter­est to con­gres­sion­al inves­ti­ga­tors prob­ing whether Trump played a role in the three-hour delay between the Capi­tol Police’s urgent request for Guard sup­port and their ulti­mate arrival at the Capi­tol, which had been over­run by pro-Trump riot­ers. The com­ment also aligns with tes­ti­mo­ny from for­mer Defense Sec­re­tary Christo­pher Miller, who said that in a Jan. 3 con­ver­sa­tion with Trump, the then-pres­i­dent told him to “do what­ev­er was nec­es­sary to pro­tect the demon­stra­tors that were exe­cut­ing their con­sti­tu­tion­al­ly pro­tect­ed rights.”

    The descrip­tion of the mes­sage is part of a 51-page doc­u­ment released Sun­day by the select pan­el a day before it is set to vote to hold Mead­ows in con­tempt of Con­gress. The full House is expect­ed to vote to hold Mead­ows in crim­i­nal con­tempt of Con­gress on Tues­day.

    In oth­er mes­sages described by the com­mit­tee, Mead­ows appears to have asked mem­bers of Con­gress to help con­nect Trump with state law­mak­ers short­ly after his defeat in Novem­ber.

    “POTUS wants to chat with them,” Mead­ows said, accord­ing to doc­u­ments obtained by the Jan. 6 com­mit­tee and described pub­licly Sun­day evening.

    The mes­sages also describe numer­ous con­tacts with mem­bers of Con­gress about Trump’s efforts to recruit state law­mak­ers and encour­age them to help over­turn the elec­tion results. They also includ­ed ques­tions about Mead­ows’ exchanges with mem­bers of Con­gress as they pressed him urgent­ly to issue a state­ment telling riot­ers on Jan. 6 to exit the Capi­tol.

    ...

    The mes­sages are the clear­est insight yet into the con­ver­sa­tions Trump was hav­ing with senior advis­ers in the chaot­ic months after his defeat in which he sought to cling to pow­er in increas­ing­ly des­per­ate ways. Though Mead­ows turned over thou­sands of text mes­sages and emails, he has declined to sit for a depo­si­tion to dis­cuss those mes­sages, claim­ing he is barred by exec­u­tive priv­i­lege. The com­mit­tee and Mead­ows had reached a ten­ta­tive agree­ment for him to come in for an inter­view, but the pact col­lapsed last week.

    Instead, the com­mit­tee held a closed-door depo­si­tion with­out Mead­ows present and described the ques­tions they would have asked him. The tran­script of that closed ses­sion was append­ed to the panel’s con­tempt report, describ­ing the details of the doc­u­ments Mead­ows had pro­vid­ed.

    “We would have asked him about text mes­sages sent to and received from a Sen­a­tor regard­ing the Vice President’s pow­er to reject elec­tors, includ­ing a text in which Mr. Mead­ows recounts a direct com­mu­ni­ca­tion with Pres­i­dent Trump who, accord­ing to Mr. Mead­ows in his text mes­sages, quote, ‘thinks the leg­is­la­tors have the pow­er, but the VP has pow­er Too,’” the panel’s inves­ti­ga­tors not­ed.

    Mead­ows’ com­ments on the Nation­al Guard’s readi­ness to defend Trump sup­port­ers align with con­cerns that have wracked inves­ti­ga­tors for months. POLITICO report­ed in May that a Capi­tol Police leader sim­i­lar­ly encour­aged offi­cers to focus on anti-Trump forces with­in the Jan. 6 crowd, prompt­ing con­cerns about intel­li­gence fail­ures even as the pro-Trump mob encroached on the Capi­tol.

    The com­mit­tee point­ed out that many of the mes­sages he shared already appeared to vio­late priv­i­lege by describ­ing his own con­tacts with Trump. He also revealed many of those con­tacts in his recent­ly released book.

    ...

    ———-

    “Mead­ows Jan. 5 email indi­cat­ed Guard on stand­by to ‘pro­tect pro Trump peo­ple,’ inves­ti­ga­tors say” by KYLE CHENEY and NICHOLAS WU
    ; Politi­co; 12/12/2021

    “It’s unclear who Mead­ows, the for­mer White House chief of staff to Don­ald Trump, relayed the infor­ma­tion to or whether it was the result of any insight pro­vid­ed by the Defense Depart­ment. But the exchange is of high inter­est to con­gres­sion­al inves­ti­ga­tors prob­ing whether Trump played a role in the three-hour delay between the Capi­tol Police’s urgent request for Guard sup­port and their ulti­mate arrival at the Capi­tol, which had been over­run by pro-Trump riot­ers. The com­ment also aligns with tes­ti­mo­ny from for­mer Defense Sec­re­tary Christo­pher Miller, who said that in a Jan. 3 con­ver­sa­tion with Trump, the then-pres­i­dent told him to “do what­ev­er was nec­es­sary to pro­tect the demon­stra­tors that were exe­cut­ing their con­sti­tu­tion­al­ly pro­tect­ed rights.”

    Don’t for­get what else we were told by then-Defense Sec­re­tary Christo­pher Miller about the instruc­tions, or lack of instruc­tions, that Trump gave him in the lead up to the insur­rec­tion. Miller told inves­ti­ga­tors that while he spoke to Trump ahead of the insur­rec­tion, he did­n’t com­mu­ni­cate with Trump as the riot unfold­ed. Why? Miller said he “did­n’t need to” because he had the nec­es­sary author­i­ty and “knew what had to hap­pen”.

    That’s all part of what makes Mark Mead­ows’s “pro­tect the pro-Trump peo­ple” Jan 5 email some­what tricky to inter­pret. Are the ‘pro-Trump peo­ple’ in need of pro­tec­tion mem­bers of Con­gress who were will­ing to throw a wrench in the con­sti­tu­tion­al works to help Trump stay in office? Or were the ‘pro-Trump peo­ple’ the mobs of insur­rec­tion­ists rov­ing the halls of the Capi­tol search­ing for mem­bers of Con­gress to lynch?

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 4, 2022, 5:03 pm
  35. Welp, it’s the one year anniver­sary of the Jan­u­ary 6 Capi­tol insur­rec­tion, and Don­ald Trump has as strong a grip as ever on the Repub­li­can Par­ty. At this point the US is just sleep­walk­ing into the next one.

    So it’s worth not­ing a piece pub­lished by Russ Bak­er yes­ter­day about a lit­tle-rec­og­nized admis­sion made by Roger Stone back in Octo­ber of 2016: The Trump team were plan­ning to the con­test the 2016 elec­tion too. It just did­n’t end up being nec­es­sary. But they had plans. Plans to to car­ry out wide­spread acts of civ­il dis­obe­di­ence to grind the coun­try to a halt. This is appar­ent­ly what Roger Stone admit­ted to jour­nal­ist Len Colod­ny back in Octo­ber of 2016 while both were attend­ing a con­fer­ence in New Orleans. Colod­ny shared this expe­ri­ence with Bak­er in 2020, prompt­ing Bak­er to reach out to Stone and con­firm the account. And Stone did indeed con­firm this to Bak­er. They were pre­pared to block bridges, tun­nels. What­ev­er it took.

    It’s the kind of admis­sion that’s obvi­ous­ly of poten­tial impor­tance to fed­er­al inves­ti­ga­tors look­ing into who planned and orga­nized the insur­rec­tion. But let’s not over­look the oth­er major red flag in this sto­ry: the Trump team was plan­ning on an insur­rec­tion dur­ing a time when it did­n’t have con­trol of the White House, mak­ing it the kind of plan that could be very use­ful for Jan 6, 2025:

    WhoWhat­Why

    Roger Stone: Wide­spread Dis­or­der Was Planned for 2016, Had Trump Lost

    Russ Bak­er
    01/05/22

    In Novem­ber 2020, I heard from Len Colod­ny, a jour­nal­ist, author, and old friend (now deceased), about some­thing the GOP oper­a­tive Roger Stone had told him. Both he and I knew Stone, and I was aware that Stone, who has a rep­u­ta­tion for exag­ger­a­tion, tend­ed to be right often enough in his claims not to dis­miss them.

    Colod­ny described a 20-minute meet­ing he had with Stone back in mid-Octo­ber of 2016, while both were attend­ing a con­fer­ence in New Orleans. Stone told Colod­ny how Don­ald Trump’s cam­paign was pre­pared to con­test the elec­tion if he lost. And not only ques­tion it — they were going to car­ry out wide­spread acts of civ­il dis­obe­di­ence to grind the coun­try to a halt.

    Colod­ny brought this up to me in 2020, won­der­ing if he had ever shared the anec­dote with me before. We were approach­ing anoth­er elec­tion, and, giv­en the tenor of the cam­paign, with Trump warn­ing of attempts to steal the White House from him, Colod­ny was wor­ried.

    I shared his con­cern. With the very real pos­si­bil­i­ty that Trump could actu­al­ly lose this time, the threat seemed pal­pa­ble and for­mi­da­ble. I reached out to Stone, who con­firmed it. Trump’s team in 2016 had been ready to block bridges and tun­nels, among oth­er things. What­ev­er it took.

    It’s impor­tant to remem­ber that this kind of thing came out of Stone’s play­book. Dur­ing the nail-biter 2000 elec­tion vote-count­ing see­saw between Al Gore and George W. Bush, as Bush’s mar­gin in the key state of Flori­da shrank to a mere few hun­dred votes, a crowd of lawyers and GOP oper­a­tives in blaz­ers and khakis, many from Wash­ing­ton, poured into Mia­mi-Dade coun­ty vote count­ing cen­ters, pound­ed on the win­dows, gen­er­al­ly harassed peo­ple, and vamped for the media until they man­aged to halt a crit­i­cal recount. Ulti­mate­ly, the Supreme Court ruled that resum­ing the recount was uncon­sti­tu­tion­al, and Bush was declared the win­ner.

    ...

    I thought, based on what hap­pened in the Bush-Gore con­test, the news that Repub­li­can oper­a­tives were plan­ning a major effort to ensure that Trump became pres­i­dent in 2016, no mat­ter what the vote count said, should have gar­nered seri­ous atten­tion from the news media four years lat­er. So, based on Colodny’s account and Stone’s con­fir­ma­tion, we pub­lished a short piece on this in WhoWhat­Why on Novem­ber 3, 2020.

    ...

    ———–

    “Roger Stone: Wide­spread Dis­or­der Was Planned for 2016, Had Trump Lost” by Russ Bak­er; WhoWhat­Why; 01/05/22

    “I shared his con­cern. With the very real pos­si­bil­i­ty that Trump could actu­al­ly lose this time, the threat seemed pal­pa­ble and for­mi­da­ble. I reached out to Stone, who con­firmed it. Trump’s team in 2016 had been ready to block bridges and tun­nels, among oth­er things. What­ev­er it took.

    Who knows why exact­ly Roger Stone decid­ed to con­firm to Russ Bak­er this rather explo­sive admis­sion. Then again, when you’re Roger Stone, there’s no shame in admit­ting your planned to over­turn an elec­tion. It’s a badge of hon­or for the guy. Of course he admit­ted it. Let’s hope inves­ti­ga­tors are lis­ten­ing. Or we can just wait until Jan­u­ary 2025, when we’ll pre­sum­ably get to learn more about the plans as they’re being deployed in real-time.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 6, 2022, 4:50 pm
  36. Are the ring-lead­ers of the Jan­u­ary 6 Capi­tol insur­rec­tion going to ulti­mate­ly be pros­e­cut­ed? That’s the prospect raised by the indict­ment of Oath Keep­ers leader Stew­art Rhodes and ten oth­ers on charges of sedi­tious con­spir­a­cy against the Unit­ed States. But how high up in the coup plot­ter lead­er­ship will those charges ulti­mate­ly go? That’s one of the big ques­tions raised by an indict­ment that does­n’t just indict Rhodes but also refers to an unnamed per­son labeled “the oper­a­tion leader.”” Who is this oper­a­tion leader?

    It’s impor­tant to recall that an impeach­ment con­vic­tion isn’t the only thing that can pre­vent Trump from run­ning for office again. A sedi­tion charge would also pre­vent a future run for office. And, cir­cum­stan­tial­ly speak­ing, Trump should be vul­ner­a­ble to a poten­tial sedi­tion charge, through gross neg­li­gence in not stop­ping the insur­rec­tion, if noth­ing else.

    This is a good time to recall some of the numer­ous Rhodes-relat­ed sto­ries we’ve seen over the years:

    * Mult­nom­ah Coun­ty Repub­li­can par­ty chair­man James Buchal was using the Oath Keep­ers and oth­er mili­tia groups as a kind of secu­ri­ty force for pub­lic events back in 2017.

    * Rhodes was call­ing for vol­un­teer armed guards sta­tioned out­side schools in response to the Park­land, Flori­da high school shoot­ing in 2018.

    * Rhodes was threat­en­ing a “full-blown ‘hot’ civ­il war” back in 2019

    * Rhodes was open­ly call­ing on Trump back in August of 2020 to declare that there was already a nation­al left-wing insur­rec­tion tak­ing place around the coun­try, and the Nation­al Guard should be called in to sup­press the insur­rec­tion in the streets. This call was paired with a warn­ing that if Trump did­n’t han­dle this, this mili­tias would do it them­selves. Dis­turbing­ly, this nar­ra­tive about an ongo­ing left-wing vio­lent insur­rec­tion has been used by Rhodes to suc­cess­ful­ly recruit with­in law enforce­ment and the mil­i­tary.

    * Recall how Rhodes appeared on Alex Jones’s show in Octo­ber 2020 warn­ing about a “Beng­hazi-style” plan by antifa to assault the White House on Elec­tion Day. He assured Jones the Oath Keep­ers were prepar­ing for that even­tu­al­i­ty.

    Then there’s all the reports we’ve had about Rhodes’s direct involve­ment in the Oath Keep­ers actions on Jan 6:

    * We’ve already seen how Rhodes was active­ly issu­ing orders to his Oath Keep­ers dur­ing the insur­rec­tion. Orders to lit­er­al­ly breach the doors of the Capi­tol in one case.

    * Despite Rhodes’s denials, evi­dence points towards Rhodes play­ing a direct role in the plan­ning an coor­di­na­tion of the “Quick Reac­tion Force” (QRF) of weapons sta­tioned near the Capi­tol ready to be called in on a moments notice.

    * Recall how Rhodes referred to Oath Keep­er Michael Sim­mons as the “DC team leader” that day. But Sim­mons, a for­mer Black­wa­ter mer­ce­nary, claims he was hired by Rhodes to work as secu­ri­ty for Roger Stone and that his work was in a pure­ly pro­fes­sion­al capac­i­ty. On Jan­u­ary 6, phone records shone Rhodes and Sim­mons com­mu­ni­cat­ed in the min­utes before mul­ti­ple Oath Keep­ers entered the Capi­tol.

    * 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. 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.

    * Rhodes was wel­comed at the 2021 CPAC back in July.

    That’s just an exam­ple of the exten­sive evi­dence of Oath Keep­ers’ plan­ning for a vio­lent oppo­si­tion to the trans­fer of pow­er. Plan­ning that includ­ed a Quick Reac­tion Force that report­ed­ly was ready and will­ing to ship heavy weapons to the forces at the Capi­tol. And if those plans for heavy weapons were indeed exe­cut­ed, they were to be exe­cut­ed “under per­mis­sion from Trump, not a minute soon­er.” That was all of the avail­able evi­dence pub­licly avail­able before this indict­ment was issued. So we’ll see how much more infor­ma­tion comes about as this pros­e­cu­tion plays out. But at this point there’s so much evi­dence of active plan­ning for a vio­lent coup already out there in the pub­lic that the tri­al of Stew­art Rhodes is less a tri­al of Rhodes him­self and more a tri­al of the US crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem’s capac­i­ty to actu­al­ly pros­e­cute threats against the gov­ern­ment when those threats are car­ried out in coor­di­na­tion with one of the two major par­ties:

    Talk­ing Points Memo

    Oath Keep­ers Chief Stew­art Rhodes Arrest­ed On Jan. 6‑Related Charges
    The charges mark the first time feds have sought to pin­point a leader in the insur­rec­tion.

    By Josh Koven­sky and Matt Shuham
    Jan­u­ary 13, 2022 1:41 p.m.
    Updat­ed Jan­u­ary 13, 2022 3:45 p.m.

    Oath Keep­ers leader Stew­art Rhodes was arrest­ed by fed­er­al agents on Thurs­day after a fed­er­al grand jury returned an indict­ment against Rhodes and ten oth­ers on charges of sedi­tious con­spir­a­cy against the Unit­ed States, the Jus­tice Depart­ment said.

    The fil­ings mark the first time that the DOJ has brought sedi­tion charges in con­nec­tion with the Capi­tol insur­rec­tion.

    The 48-page indict­ment describes a “plot to oppose by force the 2020 law­ful trans­fer of pres­i­den­tial pow­er.”

    In addi­tion to sedi­tious con­spir­a­cy, the indict­ment brings charges of con­spir­a­cy to obstruct an offi­cial pro­ceed­ing, obstruc­tion of an offi­cial pro­ceed­ing, destruc­tion of gov­ern­ment prop­er­ty, civ­il dis­or­der, and con­spir­a­cy to pre­vent an offi­cer from dis­charg­ing duties.

    In the indict­ment, fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tors say that Rhodes used the Oath Keep­ers to coor­di­nate a group of peo­ple from across the coun­try to block the trans­fer of pow­er in 2020.

    “They coor­di­nat­ed trav­el across the coun­try to enter Wash­ing­ton, D.C, equipped them­selves with a vari­ety of weapons, donned com­bat and tac­ti­cal gear, and were pre­pared to answer RHODES’S call to take up arms at RHODES’S direc­tion,” the indict­ment reads.

    The indict­ment also hints at the poten­tial of oth­er attack lead­ers who have not been iden­ti­fied. At sev­er­al points in the indict­ment, the doc­u­ment refers to an unnamed per­son labeled “the oper­a­tion leader.”

    Pros­e­cu­tors divide the Oath Keep­ers who par­tic­i­pat­ed in the attack into three groups, formed of many who have already been charged: two “stacks” of Oath Keep­ers who assault­ed the Capi­tol, and one “Quick Reac­tion Force” sta­tioned out­side of Wash­ing­ton D.C., “pre­pared to rapid­ly trans­port firearms and oth­er weapons into Wash­ing­ton D.C.”

    ‘Lead­er­ship Intel Shar­ing’

    Fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tors describe a scheme to block Biden’s win that began imme­di­ate­ly after the 2020 elec­tion.

    On Nov. 5, 2020, the indict­ment says, Rhodes cre­at­ed a group chat on encrypt­ed mes­sag­ing app Sig­nal titled “Lead­er­ship intel shar­ing secured.”

    “We aren’t get­ting through this with­out a civ­il war,” Rhodes pur­port­ed­ly wrote to the chat.

    Two days lat­er, when major news net­works called the elec­tion for Biden, Rhodes had a plan. Pros­e­cu­tors said that it was based on the reac­tion to Ser­bian leader Slo­bo­dan Milo­se­vic.

    “We must now do what the peo­ple of Ser­bia did when Milo­se­vic stole their elec­tion,” Rhodes alleged­ly wrote. “Refuse to accept it and march en-masse on the nation’s Capi­tol.”

    Pros­e­cu­tors describe in detail how Rhodes ral­lied the Oath Keep­ers for Jan. 6.

    After the ini­tial post-elec­tion mes­sages, Rhodes alleged­ly held meet­ings with mul­ti­ple Oath Keep­ers who would go on to storm the Capi­tol. Some of these took place via phone or video chat, while some Oath Keep­er chap­ters held in-per­son prepa­ra­tion ses­sions. Pros­e­cu­tors describe how, on Dec. 12, 2020, the group’s North Car­oli­na chap­ter held a “train­ing ses­sion” on offen­sive oper­a­tions that includ­ed teach­ing the group “how to fall into a for­ma­tion when we assem­ble.”

    The first ref­er­ences to prepar­ing for ear­ly Jan­u­ary, 2021 appeared with­in days of the elec­tion, the indict­ment alleges. One Oath Keep­er mes­saged her “recruits,” pros­e­cu­tors say, say­ing she want­ed to get them “fight­ing fit by innauger­a­tion.”

    The week before the attack, pros­e­cu­tors say, Rhodes and oth­ers began to gath­er weapon­ry and tac­ti­cal gear. One Oath Keep­er, the indict­ment reads, dis­cussed bring­ing a sep­a­rate back­pack with his “ammo load out.” Rhodes, pros­e­cu­tors say, spent $7,000 on weapons sights and two night-vision devices on Dec. 30, ship­ping them to some­one in D.C.’s Vir­ginia sub­urbs. The next week, Rhodes would drop anoth­er $5,000 on a shot­gun, scope, ammo mag­a­zines, and oth­er acces­sories, pros­e­cu­tors say, in addi­tion to anoth­er $6,000 on a semi­au­to­mat­ic rifle and weapons attach­ments.

    After spend­ing anoth­er $4,500 on firearms equip­ment on Jan. 4, pros­e­cu­tors say, Rhodes spent at least $22,500 on weapons and acces­sories before the attack.

    LARP­ing A DC Inva­sion

    Pros­e­cu­tors’ descrip­tion of the Oath Keep­ers’ plan­ning in the imme­di­ate days before Jan. 6 occa­sion­al­ly reads like it took place at the lev­el of chil­dren plot­ting an incred­i­bly sin­is­ter reen­act­ment of Wash­ing­ton cross­ing the Delaware.

    On the one hand, Oath Keep­ers beefed up their “Quick Reac­tion Force” with real guns and real ammo. That “QRF,” pros­e­cu­tors say, was sta­tioned 15 min­utes away from the Capi­tol at a hotel in Ball­ston, a neigh­bor­hood in Arling­ton, Vir­ginia.

    On the oth­er, the indict­ment describes how one Oath Keep­er looked at a map of D.C. and began to try to obtain “boat trans­porta­tion,” pur­port­ed­ly dis­cussing with anoth­er group mem­ber how the “Cor­ner of west basin and Ohio is a water trans­port land­ing!!” That, the alleged plot­ters said, would serve as “ral­ly points” for the reac­tion force if “the bridges get closed.”

    “Can’t believe I just thought of this,” the mem­ber alleged­ly wrote. “If it all went to shit, our guy loads our [weapons] AND Blue Ridge Mili­tia weps and fer­ries them across.”

    ‘That’s What I Came Up Here For!’

    Rhodes, though he did alleged­ly enter restrict­ed Capi­tol grounds, is not charged with enter­ing the Capi­tol build­ing itself.

    He alleged­ly stayed out­side as oth­ers in the Oath Keep­ers rushed in. The details of the surge have been laid out in sev­er­al pre­ced­ing indict­ments against the mili­tia group mem­bers: They alleged­ly moved in mil­i­taris­tic “stack” for­ma­tions, resist­ed law enforce­ment offi­cers’ attempts to stop them, and shared rap­tur­ous com­mu­ni­ca­tions over chat groups and the “Zel­lo” walkie talkie app describ­ing their actions.

    But the charges of sedi­tious con­spir­a­cy, and Rhodes’ addi­tion to the ros­ter, were built on new evi­dence.

    Many of the details of the Oath Keep­ers’ alleged par­tic­i­pa­tion in the attack — mov­ing in stack for­ma­tions, resist­ing law enforce­ment offi­cers’ attempts to stop them, and rap­tur­ous com­mu­ni­ca­tions back and forth — have been cap­tured in mul­ti­ple pre­vi­ous indict­ments against mem­bers of the mili­tia group.

    ...

    Some­time after 2 p.m., for exam­ple, as Joshua James, Rober­to Min­u­ta and oth­er alleged con­spir­a­tors dis­cussed the fact that indi­vid­u­als had breached the Capi­tol, Min­u­ta alleged­ly stat­ed words to the effect of, “Now we’re talk­ing, that’s what I came up here for!”

    A few min­utes lat­er, Rhodes alleged­ly respond­ed to a text mes­sage from a chat group stat­ing that “news is report­ing Con­gress giv­en gas masks and are try­ing to get out.”

    “Fu ck em,” Rhodes alleged­ly respond­ed — before post­ing a pho­to of peo­ple storm­ing the Capi­tol.

    Soon after, the indict­ment describes James’ and Min­u­ta con­fronting law enforce­ment offi­cers inside the Capi­tol.

    “This is what’s bound to hap­pen, just get out!” Min­u­ta alleged­ly yelled, as James alleged­ly grabbed the vest of a Met­ro­pol­i­tan Police Depart­ment offi­cer and pulled the cop toward the mob.

    As the attack unfold­ed, Edward Valle­jo, the only oth­er new indictee Thurs­day besides Rhodes, was alleged­ly wait­ing at a hotel in Vir­ginia with the Oath Keep­ers’ “QRF.”

    “Valle­jo back at hotel and out­fit­ted,” he alleged­ly wrote at 2:24 p.m. from the Com­fort Inn Ball­ston. “Have 2 trucks avail­able. Let me know how I can assist.”

    As riot­ers assault­ed law enforce­ment offi­cers guard­ing the Capi­tol building’s doors, includ­ing with thrown objects and chem­i­cal spray, Valle­jo alleged­ly chimed in again.

    “QRF stand­ing by at hotel. Just say the word…”

    ‘You Ain’t Seen Noth­ing Yet’

    Imme­di­ate­ly after the attack, on the night of Jan. 6, Rhodes and oth­er Oath Keep­ers alleged­ly shared tri­umphant text mes­sages about what had hap­pened.

    “Thou­sands of ticked off patri­ots spon­ta­neous­ly marched on the Capi­tol,” Rhodes wrote at 7:30 p.m., accord­ing to the indict­ment. “You ain’t seen noth­ing yet.”

    “We’ll be back at 6am to do it again,” Valle­jo alleged­ly wrote. He added that “‘After Action Reports’ will be dat­ed 1/21/21” — the day after Joe Biden’s sched­uled inau­gu­ra­tion.

    Kel­ly Meg­gs, an alleged mem­ber of the first “stack” of Oath Keep­ers to breach the Capi­tol, alleged­ly wrote: “We aren’t quit­ting!! We are reload­ing!!”

    In the days after the Capi­tol attack, Rhodes alleged­ly received a mes­sage from a mem­ber of the “quick reac­tion force” ask­ing about “next steps.” Around that time, accord­ing to the indict­ment, Rhodes alleged­ly mes­saged oth­ers to “orga­nize local mili­tias to oppose Pres­i­dent Biden’s Admin­is­tra­tion.” Rhodes also, pros­e­cu­tors say, pur­chased a ver­i­ta­ble armory after the attack, includ­ing $17,500 on firearms parts, ammu­ni­tion and acces­sories.

    ...

    ———–

    “Oath Keep­ers Chief Stew­art Rhodes Arrest­ed On Jan. 6‑Related Charges” by Josh Koven­sky and Matt Shuham; Talk­ing Points Memo; 01/13/2022

    “The indict­ment also hints at the poten­tial of oth­er attack lead­ers who have not been iden­ti­fied. At sev­er­al points in the indict­ment, the doc­u­ment refers to an unnamed per­son labeled “the oper­a­tion leader.”

    There were three groups of Oath Keep­ers oper­at­ing on Jan 6 — two “stacks” who assault­ed the Capi­tol and one QRF wait­ing for the sig­nal — and some­one had to be coor­di­nat­ing them. We’re now learn­ing that there was an addi­tion­al mys­tery per­son play­ing that role along with Stew­art Rhodes. Who is the unnamed “oper­a­tion leader”? It’s one of the big ques­tions raised by this indict­ment. Roger Stone? Ali Alexan­der? Don­ald Trump per­haps? Don’t for­get how Jes­si­ca Watkins advised a 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.”, in ref­er­ence to the Oath Keep­ers’ QRF. Trump was effec­tive­ly the Oper­a­tion leader in the words of these Oath Keep­ers. Is Trump the mys­tery leader in this indict­ment too? Who­ev­er it was, if they were engaged in the encrypt­ed “Lead­er­ship intel shar­ing” Sig­nal chat, they were engaged in a sedi­tious plot to block the elec­tion. A sedi­tious plot that includ­ing plot­ting for civ­il war:

    ...
    Pros­e­cu­tors divide the Oath Keep­ers who par­tic­i­pat­ed in the attack into three groups, formed of many who have already been charged: two “stacks” of Oath Keep­ers who assault­ed the Capi­tol, and one “Quick Reac­tion Force” sta­tioned out­side of Wash­ing­ton D.C., “pre­pared to rapid­ly trans­port firearms and oth­er weapons into Wash­ing­ton D.C.”

    ‘Lead­er­ship Intel Shar­ing’

    Fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tors describe a scheme to block Biden’s win that began imme­di­ate­ly after the 2020 elec­tion.

    On Nov. 5, 2020, the indict­ment says, Rhodes cre­at­ed a group chat on encrypt­ed mes­sag­ing app Sig­nal titled “Lead­er­ship intel shar­ing secured.”

    “We aren’t get­ting through this with­out a civ­il war,” Rhodes pur­port­ed­ly wrote to the chat.

    Two days lat­er, when major news net­works called the elec­tion for Biden, Rhodes had a plan. Pros­e­cu­tors said that it was based on the reac­tion to Ser­bian leader Slo­bo­dan Milo­se­vic.

    “We must now do what the peo­ple of Ser­bia did when Milo­se­vic stole their elec­tion,” Rhodes alleged­ly wrote. “Refuse to accept it and march en-masse on the nation’s Capi­tol.”
    ...

    Final­ly, note the oth­er aspect of this sto­ry that makes a con­vic­tion of the high-lev­el lead­ers so cru­cial: the plot­ting con­tin­ues. Jan 6 was­n’t just prac­tice for these guys. They were seri­ous. But it will effec­tive­ly have become prac­tice if the lead­ers behind this plot end up not fac­ing any legal reper­cus­sions and are left in a sit­u­a­tion where they can plot for a repeat. A more suc­cess­ful repeat next time:

    ...
    The week before the attack, pros­e­cu­tors say, Rhodes and oth­ers began to gath­er weapon­ry and tac­ti­cal gear. One Oath Keep­er, the indict­ment reads, dis­cussed bring­ing a sep­a­rate back­pack with his “ammo load out.” Rhodes, pros­e­cu­tors say, spent $7,000 on weapons sights and two night-vision devices on Dec. 30, ship­ping them to some­one in D.C.’s Vir­ginia sub­urbs. The next week, Rhodes would drop anoth­er $5,000 on a shot­gun, scope, ammo mag­a­zines, and oth­er acces­sories, pros­e­cu­tors say, in addi­tion to anoth­er $6,000 on a semi­au­to­mat­ic rifle and weapons attach­ments.

    After spend­ing anoth­er $4,500 on firearms equip­ment on Jan. 4, pros­e­cu­tors say, Rhodes spent at least $22,500 on weapons and acces­sories before the attack.

    ...

    In the days after the Capi­tol attack, Rhodes alleged­ly received a mes­sage from a mem­ber of the “quick reac­tion force” ask­ing about “next steps.” Around that time, accord­ing to the indict­ment, Rhodes alleged­ly mes­saged oth­ers to “orga­nize local mili­tias to oppose Pres­i­dent Biden’s Admin­is­tra­tion.” Rhodes also, pros­e­cu­tors say, pur­chased a ver­i­ta­ble armory after the attack, includ­ing $17,500 on firearms parts, ammu­ni­tion and acces­sories.
    ...

    This is prob­a­bly a good time to note that gun sales in the US were actu­al­ly down 12% in 2021 com­pared to 2020. It’s not as good as it sounds. It just means 2021 had the sec­ond high­est lev­el of gun sales, down from the record highs of 2020. Stew­art Rhodes has been the only Amer­i­can on a gun binge late­ly. And that points towards what is real­ly the larg­er sto­ry here in rela­tion to the real lead­er­ship roles played by fig­ures like Don­ald Trump in foment­ing the sedi­tion on Jan 6. Because with the GOP now hav­ing ful­ly embraced the ‘stolen elec­tion’ nar­ra­tive and large­ly endors­ing or dis­miss­ing the insur­rec­tion, the ques­tion of whether or not the open close col­lu­sion between the Oath Keep­ers and the Trump White House was legal in light of the Oath Keep­ers sedi­tion is now one of the major ques­tions offi­cials have to ask in prepa­ra­tion for pre­vent­ing the Jan 6, 2025 insur­rec­tion. And like­ly one of the ques­tions the Trump team and rest of the GOP is ask­ing itself right now too. Legal­ly sedi­tious cam­paign strate­gies are the kind of thing you can be con­fi­dent the con­tem­po­rary GOP is earnest­ly inves­ti­gat­ing.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 14, 2022, 5:41 pm
  37. There’s a new report out of the Guardian about an inter­view by for­mer White House press sec­re­tary Stephanie Grisham with the House select com­mit­tee inves­ti­gat­ing the Jan­u­ary 6 Capi­tol insur­rec­tion. It sounds like Grisham may have pro­vid­ed inves­ti­ga­tors with a set of extreme­ly impor­tant details and clues direct­ly relat­ed to ask­ing the legal ques­tion: did Don­ald Trump and his team plan for the insur­rec­tion or was it a chaot­ic sit­u­a­tion that spi­raled out of con­trol? And based on what Grisham report­ed­ly told the inves­ti­ga­tors, the cir­cum­stan­tial evi­dence point­ing towards a planned insur­rec­tion just keeps adding up.

    In par­tic­u­lar, Grisham report­ed­ly told inves­ti­ga­tors about secret meet­ings held in the White House res­i­den­cy in the days lead­ing up to Jan 6. Grisham her­self can’t say who attend­ed these meet­ings, which were coor­di­nat­ed by Trump’s Chief of Staff Mark Mead­ows. Recall how Mead­ows appears to have been play­ing a cen­tral coor­di­nat­ing role in the orga­ni­za­tion of the Trump White House­’s Jan 6 plans. For exam­ple, there was the sto­ry of how the orga­niz­ers of the “Women for Amer­i­ca First” ral­ly at the Ellipse, Kylie and Amy Kre­mer, pur­chased sev­er­al burn­er phones in the days lead­ing up to the insur­rec­tion which were used to com­mu­ni­cate with White House fig­ures like Eric Trump, Lara Trump, Kat­ri­na Pier­son, and Mark Mead­ows.

    But part of what makes this report so sig­nif­i­cant is the spe­cif­ic legal mys­tery it points towards inves­ti­ga­tors focus­ing on: the mys­tery of why Trump made the pledge to the crowd at the Ellipse ral­ly that he would join them at the Capi­tol, but instead of march­ing to the Capi­tol, Trump returned to the White House to watch the insur­rec­tion unfold. Why did events play out that way and was this part of a plan? Was there a plan for Trump to effec­tive­ly lure his fer­vent sup­ports from the Ellipse to the Capi­tol, where they would be effec­tive­ly led into the insur­rec­tion by groups like the Oath Keep­ers? Was Trump lit­er­al­ly set­ting up his rube sup­port­ers to bum rush the Capi­tol and take the fall for him?

    It’s impor­tant at this point to keep in mind the ongo­ing par­al­lel mys­ter­ies of just how many ral­lies were planned for Jan 6. Recall how there was a sec­ond “Wild Protest”, although whether or not not this ral­ly ever took place is some­what ambigu­ous based on the report­ing. It’s very con­fus­ing. Recall the sto­ry about how the Kre­mers and the White House alleged­ly became con­cerned that Ali Alexan­der’s planned “Wild Protest” at the Capi­tol on Jan 6 was going to be a poten­tial source of vio­lence. Alexan­der alleged­ly agreed to not hold his planned Jan 6 ral­ly and allow the Women for Amer­i­can First ral­ly at the Ellipse to be the only major ral­ly in DC that took place that day. But then the Kre­mers learned that Alexan­der was pro­ceed­ing ahead with his planned “wild” protest, so they took the issue up with Mark Mead­ows. And yet, in the end, there are reports that this “wild” protest did indeed take place at the Capi­tol.

    Also recall how the far right mem­bers of con­gress like Paul Gosar, Majorie Tay­lor Greene, and Lau­ren Boe­bert who were all billed as speak­ers for “wild” protest were the same mem­bers who were report­ed­ly involved in offer­ing “blan­ket par­dons” in peo­ple involved in the “Stop the Steal” orga­niz­ing on behalf of the White House. Final­ly, recall the rev­e­la­tion that there were plans for a ral­ly out­side the Supreme Court, near the ral­ly, lat­er in the after­noon but that ral­ly was can­celled after the insur­rec­tion start­ed.

    Final­ly, in light of the recent indict­ment of Oath Keep­ers founder Stew­art Rhodes, recall the myr­i­ad pieces of evi­dence point­ing towards the Oath Keep­ers work­ing in coor­di­na­tion with the White House.

    So the basic facts of how many ral­lies were planned, or even took place, are still some­what obscured in the fog of war. And one of the basic ques­tions at this point remains the ques­tion of whether or not all of the ongo­ing unre­solved ques­tions are a reflec­tion of an inten­tion­al cam­paign on the part of the Trump White House and its allies to com­part­men­tal­ize and hide their joint coor­di­na­tion in advance of the insur­rec­tion. So we keep get­ting evi­dence point­ing in the direc­tion of the White House coor­di­nat­ing in advance with the vio­lent actors on that day. And now we learn about secret White House meet­ings in the days before the insur­rec­tion. Secret meet­ings with par­tic­i­pants that remain a secret:

    The Guardian

    Trump held secret meet­ings in days before Capi­tol attack, ex-press sec­re­tary tells pan­el

    Stephanie Grisham gave more sig­nif­i­cant details than expect­ed about what Trump was doing before 6 Jan­u­ary, sources say

    Hugo Low­ell in Wash­ing­ton
    Thu 20 Jan 2022 02.00 EST
    Last mod­i­fied on Thu 20 Jan 2022 02.03 EST

    The for­mer White House press sec­re­tary Stephanie Grisham told the House select com­mit­tee inves­ti­gat­ing the Capi­tol attack that Don­ald Trump host­ed secret meet­ings in the White House res­i­dence in days before 6 Jan­u­ary, accord­ing to two sources famil­iar with the mat­ter.

    The for­mer senior Trump aide also told House inves­ti­ga­tors that the details of whether Trump actu­al­ly intend­ed to march to the Capi­tol after his speech at the Ellipse ral­ly would be memo­ri­al­ized in doc­u­ments pro­vid­ed to the US Secret Ser­vice, the sources said.

    The select committee’s inter­view with Grisham, who was Mela­nia Trump’s chief of staff when she resigned on 6 Jan­u­ary, was more sig­nif­i­cant than expect­ed, the sources said, giv­ing the pan­el new details about the Trump White House and what the for­mer US pres­i­dent was doing before the Capi­tol attack.

    Grisham gave House inves­ti­ga­tors an overview of the chaot­ic final weeks in the Trump White House in the days lead­ing up to the Capi­tol attack, recall­ing how the for­mer pres­i­dent held off-the-books meet­ings in the White House res­i­dence, the sources said.

    The secret meet­ings were appar­ent­ly known by only a small num­ber of aides, the sources said. Grisham recount­ed that they were most­ly sched­uled by Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Mead­ows, and that the for­mer chief ush­er, Tim­o­thy Harleth, would wave par­tic­i­pants upstairs, the sources said.

    Harleth, the for­mer direc­tor of rooms at the Trump Inter­na­tion­al Hotel before mov­ing with the Trumps to the White House in 2017, was once one of the for­mer first family’s most trust­ed employ­ees, accord­ing to a top for­mer White House aide to Mela­nia Trump.

    But after Harleth sought to ingra­ti­ate him­self with the Biden tran­si­tion team after Trump’s defeat in the 2020 elec­tion in order to keep his White House role, Trump and Mead­ows moved to fire him before Mela­nia Trump stepped in to keep him until Biden’s inau­gu­ra­tion.

    Grisham told the select com­mit­tee she was not sure who exact­ly Trump met with in the White House res­i­dence, but pro­vid­ed Harleth’s name and the iden­ti­ties of oth­er Trump aides in the usher’s office who might know of the meet­ings, the sources said.

    The Guardian pre­vi­ous­ly report­ed that Trump made sev­er­al phone calls from the Yel­low Oval Room and else­where in the White House res­i­dence to lieu­tenants at the Willard hotel in Wash­ing­ton the night before the Capi­tol attack, telling them to stop Joe Biden’s cer­ti­fi­ca­tion.

    Trump increas­ing­ly retreat­ed to the White House res­i­dence to con­duct work as his pres­i­den­cy pro­gressed, accord­ing to anoth­er for­mer Trump admin­is­tra­tion offi­cial, as he felt less watched by West Wing aides than in the Oval Office.

    Towards the end of his pres­i­den­cy, the for­mer Trump admin­is­tra­tion offi­cial said, an aide to for­mer White House advis­er Peter Navar­ro tried at least once to qui­et­ly ush­er into the res­i­dence Sid­ney Pow­ell, a lawyer push­ing lies about elec­tion fraud, to speak with Trump.

    ...

    Over the course of her hours-long inter­view, Grisham told House inves­ti­ga­tors that the mys­tery sur­round­ing Trump’s promise at the Ellipse ral­ly that he would march with his sup­port­ers to the Capi­tol might be resolved in Trump White House doc­u­ments, the sources said.

    The for­mer president’s pur­port­ed inten­tion to go to the Capi­tol has emerged as a cru­cial issue for the select com­mit­tee, as they exam­ine whether Trump over­saw a crim­i­nal con­spir­a­cy coor­di­nat­ing his polit­i­cal plan to stop Biden’s cer­ti­fi­ca­tion with the insur­rec­tion.

    Trump’s promise is sig­nif­i­cant as it served as one of the pri­ma­ry moti­va­tions for his sup­port­ers to march to the Capi­tol along­side mili­tia groups like the Oath Keep­ers, and was used by far-right activists like Alex Jones to encour­age the crowd along the route.

    But Trump nev­er went to the Capi­tol and instead returned to the White House, where he watched the attack unfold on tele­vi­sion – after being informed by the Secret Ser­vice before the insur­rec­tion that they could not guar­an­tee his secu­ri­ty if he marched to the Capi­tol.

    The select com­mit­tee is now try­ing to untan­gle whether Trump made a promise that he per­haps had no inten­tion of hon­or­ing because he hoped to incite an insur­rec­tion that stopped the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion – his only remain­ing play to get a sec­ond term – one of the sources said.

    Grisham told the select com­mit­tee that Trump’s inten­tions – and whether the Secret Ser­vice had been told Trump had decid­ed not to march to the Capi­tol – should be reflect­ed in the pres­i­den­tial line-by-line, the doc­u­ment that out­lines the president’s move­ments, the sources said.

    The chair­man of the select com­mit­tee, Ben­nie Thomp­son, has told reporters the pan­el is already seek­ing infor­ma­tion from the Secret Ser­vice about what plans they had for Trump on Jan­u­ary 6, as well as what evac­u­a­tion strate­gies they had for then-vice pres­i­dent Mike Pence.

    But the pres­i­den­tial line-by-line, which gets sent to the Secret Ser­vice, could also reveal dis­cus­sions about secu­ri­ty con­cerns and sug­gest a new line of inquiry into why an assess­ment about con­di­tions that were too dan­ger­ous for the pres­i­dent were not dis­sem­i­nat­ed fur­ther.

    ...

    The for­mer Trump aide sug­gest­ed to the select com­mit­tee that Trump was deter­mined to speak at the ral­ly once he heard about its exis­tence, the sources said, and was con­stant­ly on the phone to over­see the event’s optics, the sources said.

    ————

    “Trump held secret meet­ings in days before Capi­tol attack, ex-press sec­re­tary tells pan­el” by Hugo Low­ell; The Guardian; 01/20/2022

    Grisham gave House inves­ti­ga­tors an overview of the chaot­ic final weeks in the Trump White House in the days lead­ing up to the Capi­tol attack, recall­ing how the for­mer pres­i­dent held off-the-books meet­ings in the White House res­i­dence, the sources said.

    Trump was hold­ing off-the-books meet­ings in the White House res­i­dence in the days before the insur­rec­tion. That’s not sus­pi­cious or any­thing.

    So who was Trump secret­ly meet­ing with and what exact did they talk about? Well, Grisham says she does­n’t know who attend­ed these meet­ings and only a small num­ber of aides knew about them, includ­ing White House Chief of Staff Mark Mead­ows. Again, as we’ve seen, Mead­ows appears to be a cen­tral play­er in White House­’s plan­ning in the lead up to Jan 6. He’s a ‘usu­al sus­pect’ in this sto­ry, so it’s not at all a sur­prise to hear that Mead­ows would have been the orga­niz­ers of these secret White House meet­ings. But it also just makes the still-unknown iden­ti­ties of the atten­dees of these meet­ings all the more intrigu­ing.

    Also intrigu­ing is the fact that the oth­er fig­ure who would know the iden­ti­ties of the meet­ing atten­dees, for­mer chief ush­er, Tim­o­thy Harleth, was treat­ed rather poor­ly by the Trump White House. Let’s hope inves­ti­ga­tors got a good chance to talk with Harleth:

    ...
    The secret meet­ings were appar­ent­ly known by only a small num­ber of aides, the sources said. Grisham recount­ed that they were most­ly sched­uled by Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Mead­ows, and that the for­mer chief ush­er, Tim­o­thy Harleth, would wave par­tic­i­pants upstairs, the sources said.

    Harleth, the for­mer direc­tor of rooms at the Trump Inter­na­tion­al Hotel before mov­ing with the Trumps to the White House in 2017, was once one of the for­mer first family’s most trust­ed employ­ees, accord­ing to a top for­mer White House aide to Mela­nia Trump.

    But after Harleth sought to ingra­ti­ate him­self with the Biden tran­si­tion team after Trump’s defeat in the 2020 elec­tion in order to keep his White House role, Trump and Mead­ows moved to fire him before Mela­nia Trump stepped in to keep him until Biden’s inau­gu­ra­tion.
    ...

    Then there’s the fact that Trump was appar­ent­ly increas­ing­ly rely­ing on con­duct­ing his activ­i­ties in the days lead­ing up to Jan 6 in the White House res­i­dence because he felt less watched by West Wing aides than in the Oval Office. Recall how this issue of the dif­fer­ent legal impli­ca­tion depend­ing on where Trump did some­thing has already come up in rela­tion to House inves­ti­ga­tors’ attempts to gain access to White House phone records on in rela­tion to calls made to the Willard Hotel. And as we saw, calls made from the West Wing are auto­mat­i­cal­ly archived and there­fore poten­tial­ly acces­si­ble for House inves­ti­ga­tors, but calls made from the White House per­son­al res­i­dence are not. This same legal tech­ni­cal­i­ty appears to be rel­e­vant for the inves­ti­ga­tion of these mys­tery meet­ings:

    ...
    The Guardian pre­vi­ous­ly report­ed that Trump made sev­er­al phone calls from the Yel­low Oval Room and else­where in the White House res­i­dence to lieu­tenants at the Willard hotel in Wash­ing­ton the night before the Capi­tol attack, telling them to stop Joe Biden’s cer­ti­fi­ca­tion.

    Trump increas­ing­ly retreat­ed to the White House res­i­dence to con­duct work as his pres­i­den­cy pro­gressed, accord­ing to anoth­er for­mer Trump admin­is­tra­tion offi­cial, as he felt less watched by West Wing aides than in the Oval Office.

    Towards the end of his pres­i­den­cy, the for­mer Trump admin­is­tra­tion offi­cial said, an aide to for­mer White House advis­er Peter Navar­ro tried at least once to qui­et­ly ush­er into the res­i­dence Sid­ney Pow­ell, a lawyer push­ing lies about elec­tion fraud, to speak with Trump.
    ...

    But in terms of estab­lish­ing whether or not Trump planned on the insur­rec­tion, per­haps what’s most notable is the treach­er­ous nature of the ques­tions raised by this inves­ti­ga­tion: why did Trump pledge to march on the Capi­tol dur­ing his Jan 6 speech at the Ellipse, but then return to the White House? Was Trump lur­ing his sup­port­ers into rush­ing the Capi­tol while plan­ning on watch­ing the chaos unfold from the safe­ty of the White House? Abus­ing his most fer­vent sup­port­ers like that and treat­ing them legal phys­i­cal and legal can­non fod­der would indeed be a high­ly Trumpian thing to do. But did he real­ly do that? Was this actu­al­ly the plan? A big speech where Trump says, “I’ll see you all at the Capi­tol!”, and then he heads off the White House and lets the insur­rec­tion­ists in the crowd take it from there?

    ...
    Over the course of her hours-long inter­view, Grisham told House inves­ti­ga­tors that the mys­tery sur­round­ing Trump’s promise at the Ellipse ral­ly that he would march with his sup­port­ers to the Capi­tol might be resolved in Trump White House doc­u­ments, the sources said.

    The for­mer president’s pur­port­ed inten­tion to go to the Capi­tol has emerged as a cru­cial issue for the select com­mit­tee, as they exam­ine whether Trump over­saw a crim­i­nal con­spir­a­cy coor­di­nat­ing his polit­i­cal plan to stop Biden’s cer­ti­fi­ca­tion with the insur­rec­tion.

    Trump’s promise is sig­nif­i­cant as it served as one of the pri­ma­ry moti­va­tions for his sup­port­ers to march to the Capi­tol along­side mili­tia groups like the Oath Keep­ers, and was used by far-right activists like Alex Jones to encour­age the crowd along the route.

    But Trump nev­er went to the Capi­tol and instead returned to the White House, where he watched the attack unfold on tele­vi­sion – after being informed by the Secret Ser­vice before the insur­rec­tion that they could not guar­an­tee his secu­ri­ty if he marched to the Capi­tol.

    The select com­mit­tee is now try­ing to untan­gle whether Trump made a promise that he per­haps had no inten­tion of hon­or­ing because he hoped to incite an insur­rec­tion that stopped the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion – his only remain­ing play to get a sec­ond term – one of the sources said.

    Grisham told the select com­mit­tee that Trump’s inten­tions – and whether the Secret Ser­vice had been told Trump had decid­ed not to march to the Capi­tol – should be reflect­ed in the pres­i­den­tial line-by-line, the doc­u­ment that out­lines the president’s move­ments, the sources said.
    ...

    It’s an intrigu­ing mys­tery. It’s no long a ques­tion of whether or not Trump planned the insur­rec­tion in advance. It’s not a ques­tion of whether or not he know­ing­ly threw his sup­ports to the legal wolves and con­scious­ly lured them from the Ellipse to the Capi­tol, know­ing full well that his teams Oath Keep­ers and oth­er mil­i­tants would get the insur­rec­tion under­way, draw­ing the clue­less sup­port­ers into the mix. A scheme that basi­cal­ly turned Trump’s mob of sup­port­ers into a nation­al cri­sis that would delay the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of the vote while leav­ing Trump with a degree of plau­si­ble deni­a­bil­i­ty. It’s intrigu­ing in part because, well, this actu­al­ly all sounds quite plau­si­ble. After all, we have yet to see if Trump ends up get­ting indict­ed over this. The plau­si­ble deni­a­bil­i­ty part of the scheme is still work­ing.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 20, 2022, 6:00 pm
  38. One of the real­ly inter­est­ing com­mon themes when an extreme­ly con­vo­lut­ed crim­i­nal sto­ry plays out is how seem­ing­ly ran­dom tid­bits of infor­ma­tion that came out when the sto­ry was break­ing sud­den­ly become much more mean­ing­ful and sig­nif­i­cant as our under­stand­ing of the sto­ry deep­ens. So here’s a look back at an arti­cle from Jan 10, 2021, four days after the Jan­u­ary 6 Capi­tol insur­rec­tion, con­tain­ing a boast from Alex Jones that seems a lot more mean­ing­ful and sig­nif­i­cant in the wake of the del­uge of details we’ve been learn­ing over the past month about what exact­ly the var­i­ous actors behind the insur­rec­tion were actu­al­ly doing in the days lead­ing up to the event.

    Specif­i­cal­ly, Jones boast­ed that he and Ali Alexan­der had a “deal” with the White House regard­ing the “Wild Protest” Alexan­der and Jones were lead­ing out­side the Capi­tol. “We had a legit­i­mate deal with the White House,” Jones said. “‘Hey Jones and Ali,’ lit­er­al­ly, they let us out ear­ly, we were sup­posed to lead a peace­ful deal.” At the time, this was just one asser­tion in what was a chaot­ic peri­od of fin­ger-point­ing and blame-shift­ing. But over a year lat­er, with every­thing we’ve learned since, that claim of a deal with the White House to “lead a peace­ful deal” is start­ing to look like a smok­ing gun and evi­dence of the Trump White House direct­ly plan­ning and orches­trat­ing the insur­rec­tion.

    * The “Wild Protest” led by Jones and Alexan­der has long been kind of a mys­tery in the sense that it was nev­er actu­al­ly clear if it hap­pened. There were two major ral­lies ini­tial­ly planned for that day. The “Wild Protest” at the Capi­tol and the “Women for Amer­i­ca First” ral­ly held ear­li­er that day at the Ellipse led by Kylie Kre­mer and her moth­er — and Coun­cil for Nation­al Pol­i­cy mem­ber — Amy Kre­mer.

    * Ten­sions between these two protests were boil­ing over in the week lead­ing up to the ral­ly, with the Kre­mers express­ing con­cerns about the extrem­ists asso­ci­at­ed with Alexan­der’s “Wild Protest” and the risk of vio­lence. They reached an agree­ment to allow the Ellipse ral­ly to be the only ral­ly sched­uled for Jan 6. But then the Kre­mers observed that the plan­ning for the Alexander/Jones ral­ly appeared to be ongo­ing so they brought these con­cerns up with White House Chief of Staff Mark Mead­ows.

    * The Kre­mers pur­chased sev­er­al burn­er phones in the days lead­ing up to the insur­rec­tion which were used to com­mu­ni­cate with White House fig­ures like Eric Trump, Lara Trump, Kat­ri­na Pier­son, and Mark Mead­ows.

    * Car­o­line Wren — the for­mer deputy to Don Jr.‘s girl­friend Kim­ber­ly Guil­foyle — had been rais­ing mon­ey for the ral­ly specif­i­cal­ly from Pub­lix heiress Julie Jenk­ins Fan­cel­li. Fancelli’s financ­ing was report­ed­ly facil­i­tat­ing by none oth­er than Alex Jones. And in the week lead­ing up to the ral­ly, there were a num­ber of changes in the plans. Changes pushed by Wren. We lat­er learned Wren and Guil­foyle unsuc­cess­ful­ly pushed for last minute changes to the sched­ule of speak­ers at the Ellipse ral­ly in order to get fig­ures like Roger Stone, Alex Jones and Ali Alexan­der added to the speak­ers list. When Jones and Alexan­der left the ral­ly ear­ly (to begin the march to the “Wild Protest”), it was Wren who escort­ed them away as they pre­pared to lead the march on the Capi­tol.

    * The secret meet­ings tak­ing place in the the White House in the days lead­ing up to the insur­rec­tion. Mark Mead­ows was report­ed­ly the per­son who was facil­i­tat­ing these meet­ings.

    * The close coor­di­na­tion between Ali Alexan­der and a clique of far right GOP mem­bers of con­gress Mar­jorie Tay­lor Greene, Paul Gosar, Lau­ren Boe­bert, Mo Brooks, Madi­son Cawthorn, Andy Big­gs, and Louie Gohmert. As we saw, these mem­bers were report­ed­ly offer­ing blan­ket par­dons to peo­ple involved with oppos­ing the elec­tion results. Par­don offers made on behalf of the Trump White House, of course. An num­ber of these fig­ures were sched­uled to speak at the “Wild Protest” ral­ly (before it descend­ed into an insur­rec­tion).

    Those are just some of the details we’ve learned over the past year regard­ing the “Wild Protest” led by Alexan­der and Jones. Despite the “Women for Amer­i­ca First” con­cerns about vio­lence, the Alexander/Jones protest was seem­ing­ly giv­en a qui­et endorse­ment by the White House. And that’s why, a year lat­er, those words from Jones about “a legit­i­mate deal with the White House” to lead the march to the Capi­tol sound quite plau­si­ble. Trump want­ed Alexan­der and Jones to hold that “Wild Protest”. The very same “Wild Protest” that devolved into the insur­rec­tion:

    The Dai­ly Beast

    On Sun­day night, Twit­ter banned Ali Alexander’s per­son­al account and an account for “Stop the Steal.”

    Will Som­mer
    Pol­i­tics Reporter
    Updat­ed Jan. 10, 2021 9:40PM ET / Pub­lished Jan. 10, 2021 9:08PM ET

    Two weeks before thou­sands of Trump riot­ers breached Con­gress, “Stop the Steal” orga­niz­er Ali Alexan­der said his group wasn’t violent—“yet.”

    “One of our orga­niz­ers in one state said, ‘We’re nice patri­ots, we don’t throw bricks,’” Alexan­der told a crowd at a Dec. 19 ral­ly at Arizona’s state capi­tol. “I leaned over and I said, ‘Not yet. Not yet!’ Haven’t you read about a lit­tle tar-and-feath­er­ing? Those were sec­ond-degree burns!”

    Alexan­der, who has described him­self as one of the “offi­cial orig­i­na­tors” of the Jan. 6 ral­ly in Wash­ing­ton, went on to use “yet” as a code word for vio­lence. Then Alexan­der told the Phoenix crowd about his plans for Wash­ing­ton.

    “We’re going to con­vince them to not cer­ti­fy the vote on Jan­u­ary 6 by march­ing hun­dreds of thou­sands, if not mil­lions of patri­ots, to sit their butts in D.C. and close that city down, right?” Alexan­der said. “And if we have to explore options after that…‘yet.’ Yet!”

    Alexander’s sup­port­ers cheered, yelling threats like “noose!” and “nothing’s off the table!”

    Alexan­der led a host of activists in ratch­et­ing up the rhetoric ahead of Con­gress’ cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of the elec­toral votes, threat­en­ing to “1776” oppo­nents of Trump’s re-elec­tion. Now that five peo­ple, includ­ing a Capi­tol Police offi­cer, are dead, how­ev­er, Alexan­der has gone into hid­ing, and the web­site pro­mot­ing his Jan. 6 ral­ly has been wiped from the inter­net.

    Alexan­der is defi­ant, say­ing he won’t “take an iota of blame that does not belong to me.”

    “I didn’t incite any­thing,” Alexan­der said in a video post­ed Fri­day to Twit­ter. “I didn’t do any­thing.”

    In real­i­ty, even as Alexan­der claimed his sup­port­ers were peace­ful, he repeat­ed­ly raised the prospect of using vio­lence in the weeks ahead of Jan. 6.

    On Sun­day night, Twit­ter banned Alexander’s per­son­al account and an account for “Stop The Steal.” Alexan­der didn’t respond to a request for com­ment.

    Alexan­der is a con­vict­ed felon, after plead­ing guilty to felony prop­er­ty theft in 2007 and felony cred­it card abuse in 2008. Alexan­der first appeared in con­ser­v­a­tive pol­i­tics in the Tea Par­ty era under the name “Ali Akbar,” orga­niz­ing a group called the Nation­al Blog­gers’ Club that was tied to “shady data col­lec­tion oper­a­tions.”

    In the Trump era, now using a new name, Alexan­der emerged as an idio­syn­crat­ic, trash-talk­ing MAGA die-hard affil­i­at­ed with fig­ures like InfoWars con­spir­a­cy the­o­rist Alex Jones, anti-Mus­lim Trump boost­er Lau­ra Loomer, blun­der­ing provo­ca­teur Jacob Wohl, and Trump ally Roger Stone.

    Before Trump’s 2020 elec­tion defeat, Alexan­der was per­haps best known for Don­ald Trump Jr. retweet­ing his ground­less claim that Vice Pres­i­dent-elect Kamala Har­ris is not an “Amer­i­can Black.” He was invit­ed to the White House for Trump’s “Social Media Sum­mit” with var­i­ous right-wing inter­net fig­ures, and began fre­quent­ly wear­ing orange clothes, claim­ing God had giv­en him a mes­sage that the col­or had spe­cial sig­nif­i­cance for 2020.

    “God gave me the col­or orange in Decem­ber 2019,” Alexan­der tweet­ed on Elec­tion Day. “He told me ‘orange would be the col­or of 2020.’ I’ve come to learn it means GOD’S POWER.”

    After Trump’s elec­tion defeat, Alexan­der posi­tioned him­self as one of the lead­ing Trump re-elec­tion dead-enders with his “Stop the Steal” group, which quick­ly became a clear­ing­house for pro-Trump per­son­al­i­ties ral­ly­ing out­side of state capi­tols in con­test­ed bat­tle­ground states.

    Alexan­der also start­ed to pro­mote mega-ral­lies protest­ing the elec­tion results in Wash­ing­ton in Novem­ber and Decem­ber, even clash­ing with rival orga­niz­ers over who deserved cred­it for the events. And he began orga­niz­ing a protest out­side the Capi­tol for Jan. 6, dub­bing it the “Wild Protest” after a Trump tweet promis­ing the protests dur­ing the elec­toral vote count “will be wild.”

    For Jan. 6, Alexan­der claimed in a video, he had some orga­niz­ing assis­tance from pro-Trump Reps. Paul Gosar (R‑AZ), Andy Big­gs (R‑AZ), and Mo Brooks (R‑AL).

    “We four schemed up putting max­i­mum pres­sure on Con­gress while they were vot­ing,” Alexan­der said in a video post­ed before the Jan. 6 protest.

    Gosar and Brooks didn’t respond to requests for com­ment. A spokesman for Big­gs dis­put­ed Alexander’s sto­ry, claim­ing Big­gs isn’t “aware of hear­ing of or meet­ing Mr. Alexan­der at any point” and had no “con­tact with pro­tes­tors or riot­ers.”

    Alexander’s voice grew more men­ac­ing in the lead-up to the Jan. 6 ral­ly. He tweet­ed that he would “give my life for this fight,” a call that was pro­mot­ed by the Ari­zona Repub­li­can Par­ty.

    Alexan­der also began tweet­ing fre­quent­ly about “1776,” a ref­er­ence to the start of the Amer­i­can Rev­o­lu­tion. Alexan­der wrote in one post that the choice was “45”—Trump’s re-election—“or 1776.” In anoth­er mes­sage, he wrote that “1776 is always an option for free men and women.”

    Most point­ed­ly, Alexan­der respond­ed to a tweet from QAnon-sup­port­er Rep. Mar­jorie Tay­lor Greene (R‑GA) claim­ing that top con­gres­sion­al lead­ers were work­ing to block objec­tions to the elec­toral vote. If that hap­pened, Alexan­der said, he and hun­dreds of thou­sands of oth­er pro­test­ers would “1776” the Capi­tol.

    “If they do this, every­one can guess what me and 500,000 oth­ers will do to that build­ing,” Alexan­der tweet­ed on Dec. 30. “1776 is *always* an option”

    ...

    At the Dec. 19 Ari­zona ral­ly, Alexan­der kept up his threat that his move­ment could become vio­lent. He said he wouldn’t describe Democ­rats as bur­glars in Repub­li­cans’ homes, imply­ing that would mean they’d be shot—a metaphor he said wasn’t nec­es­sary “yet.”

    “Let them hear that,” Alexan­der said. “‘Yet.’”

    The night before the Jan. 6 ral­ly, Alexan­der riled up Trump sup­port­ers in Wash­ing­ton with a “vic­to­ry or death” chant and once again brought up “1776.”

    “1776 is always an option,” Alexan­der told the crowd. “These degen­er­ates in the deep state are going to give us what we want, or we are going to shut this coun­try down.”

    Alexander’s “Wild Protest” ral­ly was sched­uled to take place on the north­east cor­ner of the Capitol’s lawn, with a web­site claim­ing that Greene, Gosar, and Rep. Lau­ren Boe­bert (R‑CO) would all speak at the event. Before the ral­ly, Alexan­der attend­ed Trump’s speech on the White House Ellipse, post­ing a pic­ture from the front row.

    “Nice seats,” Alexan­der tweet­ed. “Thank you @realdonaldtrump!”

    Alex Jones claims that he and Alexan­der had some “deal” with the White House about their protest out­side of Con­gress.

    “We had a legit­i­mate deal with the White House,” Jones said in an InfoWars show filmed after the riot with Alexan­der. “‘Hey Jones and Ali,’ lit­er­al­ly, they let us out ear­ly, we were sup­posed to lead a peace­ful deal.”

    Video post­ed by InfoWars in an appar­ent attempt to dis­tance Jones from the riots shows Jones and Alexan­der on the west side of the Capi­tol as tear-gas can­is­ters went off in the dis­tance and Trump sup­port­ers mount­ed MAGA flags on the inau­gu­ra­tion ris­ers. Jones unsuc­cess­ful­ly tried to con­vince riot­ers to move to the east side of the Capi­tol and attend their ral­ly on the oth­er side of the build­ing instead.

    “As much as I love see­ing the Trump flags fly­ing over this, we need to not have the con­fronta­tion with the police, they’re going to make that the sto­ry,” Jones said.

    But Alexan­der refused to dis­avow the riot.

    “I don’t dis­avow this,” Alexan­der said in a video filmed over­look­ing the Capi­tol. “I do not denounce this. This is com­plete­ly peace­ful, looks like, so far.”

    Now Alexan­der claims to be in hid­ing, alleg­ing in a video post­ed Fri­day that he needs $2,000 a day to fund his secu­ri­ty detail and oth­er expens­es and hit­ting his fans up for dona­tions. In a bizarre moment in his fundrais­ing pitch, Alexan­der claimed that he was being tar­get­ed by the super­nat­ur­al: “Witch­es and wic­cans are putting hex­es and curs­es on us.”

    ...

    In his Fri­day video, Alexan­der claimed that his “ral­ly nev­er turned vio­lent.” But Alexan­der also read a quote from talk radio host Rush Lim­baugh that pos­i­tive­ly com­pared the riot­ers to the heroes of the Amer­i­can Rev­o­lu­tion, and said riot­ers who entered the Capi­tol should suf­fer light con­se­quences, if any.

    “I think peo­ple should be row­dy, I think peo­ple should be messy,” Alexan­der said. “I do believe that we own that U.S. Capi­tol. So I’m not apol­o­giz­ing for noth­ing.”

    ———–

    “On Sun­day night, Twit­ter banned Ali Alexander’s per­son­al account and an account for “Stop the Steal.”” by Will Som­mer; The Dai­ly Beast; 01/10/2021

    Alexander’s “Wild Protest” ral­ly was sched­uled to take place on the north­east cor­ner of the Capitol’s lawn, with a web­site claim­ing that Greene, Gosar, and Rep. Lau­ren Boe­bert (R‑CO) would all speak at the event. Before the ral­ly, Alexan­der attend­ed Trump’s speech on the White House Ellipse, post­ing a pic­ture from the front row.

    As much as the “Women for Amer­i­ca First” group would like to sep­a­rate their ral­ly from the “Wild Protest” that imme­di­ate­ly fol­lowed, there’s sim­ply no deny­ing that Ali Alexan­der and Alex Jones were giv­en VIP sta­tus, even if they weren’t giv­en a speak­ers slot. Alexan­der had a front row seat. And as we saw, both Alexan­der and Jones were escort­ed out of the ral­ly ear­ly by Car­o­line Wren so they could lead the march from the Ellipse to the “Wild Protest” at the Capi­tol. The “Wild Protest” was always part of the White House­’s plan, which only lends cred­i­bil­i­ty to sto­ries about Paul Gosar and oth­er far right mem­bers of con­gress offer­ing blan­ket par­dons on behalf of the White House. Peo­ple involved with a scheme to put “max­i­mum pres­sure on Con­gress while they were vot­ing”, as Alexan­der put it. And yet it’s tak­en a year of inves­ti­gat­ing and report­ing for the clear evi­dence of that White House sup­port for the “Wild Protest” to ful­ly emerge:

    ...
    For Jan. 6, Alexan­der claimed in a video, he had some orga­niz­ing assis­tance from pro-Trump Reps. Paul Gosar (R‑AZ), Andy Big­gs (R‑AZ), and Mo Brooks (R‑AL).

    “We four schemed up putting max­i­mum pres­sure on Con­gress while they were vot­ing,” Alexan­der said in a video post­ed before the Jan. 6 protest.

    ...

    Alexander’s voice grew more men­ac­ing in the lead-up to the Jan. 6 ral­ly. He tweet­ed that he would “give my life for this fight,” a call that was pro­mot­ed by the Ari­zona Repub­li­can Par­ty.

    Alexan­der also began tweet­ing fre­quent­ly about “1776,” a ref­er­ence to the start of the Amer­i­can Rev­o­lu­tion. Alexan­der wrote in one post that the choice was “45”—Trump’s re-election—“or 1776.” In anoth­er mes­sage, he wrote that “1776 is always an option for free men and women.”

    Most point­ed­ly, Alexan­der respond­ed to a tweet from QAnon-sup­port­er Rep. Mar­jorie Tay­lor Greene (R‑GA) claim­ing that top con­gres­sion­al lead­ers were work­ing to block objec­tions to the elec­toral vote. If that hap­pened, Alexan­der said, he and hun­dreds of thou­sands of oth­er pro­test­ers would “1776” the Capi­tol.

    “If they do this, every­one can guess what me and 500,000 oth­ers will do to that build­ing,” Alexan­der tweet­ed on Dec. 30. “1776 is *always* an option”
    ...

    And it’s that fleshed out con­text that it’s tak­en a year for us to get that puts this boast from Jones about a White House deal in a very dif­fer­ent light. What seemed like pos­si­ble blus­ter at the time looks obvi­ous­ly true today:

    ...
    Alex Jones claims that he and Alexan­der had some “deal” with the White House about their protest out­side of Con­gress.

    “We had a legit­i­mate deal with the White House,” Jones said in an InfoWars show filmed after the riot with Alexan­der. “‘Hey Jones and Ali,’ lit­er­al­ly, they let us out ear­ly, we were sup­posed to lead a peace­ful deal.”
    ...

    This is prob­a­bly a good time to note that it was one month ago when Jones end­ed up suing the the Jan. 6 select com­mit­tee to block the pan­el from obtain­ing his phone records or com­pelling his tes­ti­mo­ny and said he intends to plead the Fifth Amend­ment. So we’ll see if those phone records end up get­ting turned over. But at least we don’t have to won­der whether or not there was a deal with the White House. There’s no plead­ing the Fifth on some­thing he already told us.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 21, 2022, 4:26 pm
  39. We just got a lit­tle more clar­i­ty on the ongo­ing mys­tery of what pre­cise­ly was planned for Jan­u­ary 6. Specif­i­cal­ly, what were the exact arrange­ments between the Trump White House and fig­ures like Alex Jones and Ali Alexan­der who led the crowd of peo­ple from the first ral­ly at the Ellipse toward the sec­ond planned ral­ly at the Capi­tol. A sec­ond ‘wild’ planned ral­ly out­side the Capi­tol that, as we all saw, nev­er real­ly hap­pened because it devolved into the insur­rec­tion first. It got too wild.

    And as we also saw, Alex Jones was pub­licly claim­ing in the days fol­low­ing the insur­rec­tion that he and Alexan­der has some sort of arrange­ment with the White House involv­ing Jones and Alexan­der lead­ing a march to the sec­ond ral­ly at the Capi­tol “We had a legit­i­mate deal with the White House,” Jones said in an InfoWars show. “‘Hey Jones and Ali,’ lit­er­al­ly, they let us out ear­ly, we were sup­posed to lead a peace­ful deal.” It’s that appar­ent mys­tery deal — a deal to lead the crowd from the “Women for Amer­i­ca First” ral­ly at the Ellipse to the sec­ond ‘wild’ ral­ly at the Capi­tol — between the Trump White House and Alex Jones/Ali Alexan­der that we got more clar­i­ty on today. This was fol­low­ing Alex Jones’s meet­ing with the Jan 6 inves­tiga­tive com­mit­tee. Jones admit­ted to plead­ing the Fifth Amend­ment almost 100 times.

    But despite the repeat­ed Fifth Amend­ment pleas, Jones did pro­vide us some new infor­ma­tion while con­tin­u­ing to insist that he had no idea of any planned vio­lence and that he gen­uine­ly thought Trump him­self was going to join Jones and Alexan­der at the sec­ond ‘wild’ Capi­tol ral­ly. In oth­er words, Jones is dou­bling down on the idea that there was a ‘deal’ between Jones and the White House for Jones and Alexan­der to lead the crowd from the Ellipse to the Capi­tol, where Trump would meet them to give a speech. Jones is act­ing as if he was effec­tive­ly betrayed in this deal.

    So why did­n’t Trump show up at the Capi­tol as alleged­ly planned? Jones does­n’t give an expla­na­tion, but he did reveal this tan­ta­liz­ing tid­bit fol­low­ing his appear­ance before the com­mit­tee: Jones said he heard from wit­ness­es to the com­mit­tee that Trump had told his then-chief of staff, Mark Mead­ows, that he was­n’t going to meet his sup­port­ers at the Capi­tol but could dri­ve by or fly over the crowd with a heli­copter because he had done that at oth­er large events. Now, it’s not clear when exact­ly Jones heard this. But that adds a whole new pos­si­ble twist to the events of that day.

    Keep in mind that the insur­rec­tion did­n’t take long to start after peo­ple start­ed arriv­ing out­side the Capi­tol, so if Trump was plan­ning a fly over for lat­er that after­noon it like­ly would have been can­celed by then. Also keep in mind that if the fly over had been planned in part to inspire the insur­rec­tion, it also would­n’t have been nec­es­sary by that point. So who knows what exact­ly to make of these claims of a planned fly over, but it’s the lat­est indi­ca­tion that the White House had BIG plans for that day. Big plans that were so secret, even the peo­ple exe­cut­ing those plans did­n’t nec­es­sar­i­ly know the details. Big com­part­men­tal­ized plans. Yikes:

    CNN

    Alex Jones met with 1/6 com­mit­tee and says he plead­ed the Fifth ‘almost 100 times’

    By Annie Gray­er and Oliv­er Dar­cy
    Updat­ed 11:59 AM ET, Tue Jan­u­ary 25, 2022

    (CNN)Right-wing con­spir­a­cy the­o­rist Alex Jones met vir­tu­al­ly on Mon­day with the House select com­mit­tee inves­ti­gat­ing the Jan­u­ary 6 insur­rec­tion, he announced on his broad­cast.

    A source famil­iar with the inves­ti­ga­tion con­firmed the meet­ing to CNN.

    “I just had a very intense expe­ri­ence being inter­ro­gat­ed by the Jan­u­ary 6 com­mit­tee,” Jones said on his broad­cast on Mon­day. “They were polite, but they were dogged.”

    Jones said that, by his lawyer’s count, he had plead­ed the Fifth Amend­ment “almost 100 times” and that he had been told to do so “on advice of coun­sel.”

    Jones said that while he had want­ed to answer the ques­tions, he was afraid to do so because he believes that the com­mit­tee, specif­i­cal­ly Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep. Adam Schiff of Cal­i­for­nia, would twist his words, and Jones said he had been afraid of not answer­ing all ques­tions cor­rect­ly and poten­tial­ly per­jur­ing him­self.

    “The ques­tions were over­all pret­ty rea­son­able,” Jones said. “And I want­ed to answer the ques­tions, but at the same time it’s a good thing I did­n’t, because I’m the type that tries to answer things cor­rect­ly even though I don’t know all the answers, and they can kind of claim that that’s per­jury, because about half the ques­tions I did­n’t know the answer to.”

    Jones said he had been shown “a bunch of emails” that he had not seen before. He also said he believes that the com­mit­tee has got­ten access to his phone because he was shown text mes­sages from his phone, includ­ing mes­sages with Jan­u­ary 6 ral­ly orga­niz­ers Cindy Chafi­an and Car­o­line Wren, who also have been sub­poe­naed by the com­mit­tee.

    “They have every­thing that’s already on my phones and things, because I saw my text mes­sages to Car­o­line Wren and Cindy Chafi­an and some of the event orga­niz­ers,” Jones said.

    Jones was first sub­poe­naed by the pan­el in Novem­ber.

    Jones says he was unaware of plans for vio­lence

    On his show, Jones shared that the pan­el had asked him repeat­ed­ly who his White House con­tact was to help with ral­ly plan­ning and orga­niz­ing. Jones said that Car­o­line Wren, a major fundrais­er for the Don­ald Trump cam­paign, was his con­tact for ral­lies on Jan­u­ary 5 and 6.

    Jones sug­gest­ed that Wren was with a group of offi­cials at the Ellipse on Jan­u­ary 6 who led him “to the back of the stage so we could then go and get around the crowd and go lead the march.” Jones said he had sought to direct peo­ple to a spot near the Capi­tol where orga­niz­er Ali Alexan­der planned to hold a per­mit­ted ral­ly. He said he did not sup­port peo­ple going into the Capi­tol, which he called “so stu­pid and so dumb.”

    In its sub­poe­na let­ter to Jones, the com­mit­tee cit­ed news reports and his own state­ments to make the con­nec­tion between Jones, Wren and Chafi­an and said the three worked toward “facil­i­tat­ing a donor, now known to be Julie Fan­cel­li, to pro­vide what (he) char­ac­ter­ized as ‘eighty per­cent’ of the fund­ing” for the ral­ly on the Ellipse on Jan­u­ary 6.

    The com­mit­tee stat­ed that Jones had been denied a speak­ing spot at the Jan­u­ary 6 ral­ly but that his pre­vi­ous com­ments indi­cate he had been des­ig­nat­ed to “lead a march to the Capi­tol, where Pres­i­dent Trump would meet the group.”

    Jones said on Mon­day that it was the belief of those at the Capi­tol that Trump was going to join them in some capac­i­ty after his speech at the Ellipse on Jan­u­ary 6. Jones said he heard from wit­ness­es to the com­mit­tee that Trump had told his then-chief of staff, Mark Mead­ows, that he was­n’t going to meet his sup­port­ers at the Capi­tol but could dri­ve by or fly over the crowd with a heli­copter because he had done that at oth­er large events.

    Jones said Trump “kept mar­veling” at the size of the crowd and that the then-Pres­i­dent “was super excit­ed” about the num­ber of peo­ple gath­er­ing at the Capi­tol.

    Jones also relayed on Mon­day that the com­mit­tee had asked him whether he had heard of any plans for vio­lence on Jan­u­ary 6. Jones said the only talk he had heard about pos­si­ble vio­lence was through news reports and that he was not privy to any insid­er infor­ma­tion. He described it as “back­ground noise” that you “always hear about pol­i­tics in Amer­i­ca.”

    “There was, you know, head­lines about insur­rec­tion acts and Trump was all over the news. But I was get­ting this from the news like every­body else,” Jones said.

    He denounced any sug­ges­tion that he had been involved in the plan­ning of vio­lence at the Capi­tol.

    “Let’s get some­thing clear for the com­mit­tee and my audi­ence and every­body else: I don’t want a civ­il war in this coun­try, and that’s a ter­ri­ble idea,” he said. “And I don’t want law­less­ness by any­body. And I don’t want any­body attack­ing any­body, OK?”

    ...

    The com­mit­tee’s sub­poe­na to Jones ref­er­enced com­ments from a guest host on his pro­gram on Decem­ber 31, 2020, that seemed to fore­shad­ow the riot. “We’re going to only be saved by mil­lions of Amer­i­cans mov­ing to Wash­ing­ton, occu­py­ing the entire area, if nec­es­sary storm­ing right into the Capi­tol,” the host, Matt Brack­en, had told view­ers.

    On his show Mon­day, Jones con­demned those com­ments that had been made on his show, claimed he had­n’t heard them before he had received the sub­poe­na and said, “Quite frankly, I was shocked by it.”

    Jones also shared that he had learned from his depo­si­tion that the com­mit­tee lis­tens to his show almost every day.

    Jones said the com­mit­tee also asked him whether he used Oath Keep­ers or Proud Boys as secu­ri­ty. He said he hired his own pri­vate secu­ri­ty but added that he lat­er found out that the leader of the Oath Keep­ers, Stew­art Rhodes, “would assign some­one to us.” CNN pre­vi­ous­ly report­ed that Rhodes’ Oath Keep­ers pro­tect­ed Jones at mul­ti­ple “Stop the Steal” ral­lies and that some were tasked with pro­vid­ing a per­son­al secu­ri­ty detail for Jones and Alexan­der on Jan­u­ary 6.

    “I had 12 to 14 secu­ri­ty peo­ple,” Jones said, elab­o­rat­ing that he hired a “well-known pri­vate secu­ri­ty com­pa­ny” based out of Texas that pro­vid­ed him with per­son­nel com­posed of “DC and Mary­land police.”

    “I go and try to get pro­fes­sion­al peo­ple,” Jones added, jok­ing that they were prob­a­bly Democ­rats.

    Jones did say that every­where he went, peo­ple “of every dif­fer­ent type” fol­lowed him around.

    He revealed that he had eat­en at a Hoot­ers restau­rant with some mem­bers of the Proud Boys after attend­ing a ral­ly in Geor­gia pri­or to Jan­u­ary 6.

    Jones, refer­ring to the indict­ment of Rhodes on sedi­tious con­spir­a­cy charges, said that if the Oath Keep­ers were attempt­ing to foment a vio­lent rebel­lion, it’s not some­thing he knew about or desired.

    The com­mit­tee acknowl­edged specif­i­cal­ly in its sub­poe­na to Jones that once at the Capi­tol, he had told peo­ple “not to be vio­lent” and to gath­er and wait for Trump to speak. Even though Trump nev­er went to the Capi­tol that day, the com­mit­tee said the loca­tion where Jones had told peo­ple to wait “coin­cid­ed” with the place that “Stop the Steal” ral­ly orga­niz­er Alexan­der had obtained a per­mit for that day.

    On his show, Jones said he had tried to dis­cour­age peo­ple from enter­ing the Capi­tol but described con­tain­ing the crowd as “mis­sion impos­si­ble.”

    “We learned there were a bunch of peo­ple inside the Capi­tol,” Jones said. “And that was so stu­pid and so dumb. I did­n’t sup­port it that day and I don’t sup­port it now.”

    ...

    ————

    “Alex Jones met with 1/6 com­mit­tee and says he plead­ed the Fifth ‘almost 100 times’ ” by Annie Gray­er and Oliv­er Dar­cy; CNN; 01/25/2022

    “Jones said that, by his lawyer’s count, he had plead­ed the Fifth Amend­ment “almost 100 times” and that he had been told to do so “on advice of coun­sel.””

    Almost 100 plead­ings of the Fifth Amend­ment. That is some pal­pa­ble fear of self-incrim­i­na­tion. Although Jones tes­ti­mo­ny does­n’t just threat­en to incrim­i­nat­ed him­self. That’s part of what makes the scruti­ny Jones is fac­ing so inter­est­ing: he real­ly was in the heart of it but he was also just one per­son in a larg­er orches­trat­ed plan. Jones was effec­tive­ly the pub­lic on-the-ground insur­rec­tion wran­gler that day, lead­ing the crowd from the Ellipse to the Capi­tol where the insur­rec­tion hap­pened.

    But, again, it was­n’t just Jones’s plan. Lead­ing the crowd from the Ellipse ral­ly to the area out­side the Capi­tol was part of a broad­er plan com­ing from the Trump White House. Accord­ing to Jones, major Trump fundrais­er Car­o­line Wren was with a group of offi­cials at the Ellipse on Jan­u­ary 6 who led him “to the back of the stage so we could then go and get around the crowd and go lead the march.” So a group of peo­ple asso­ci­at­ed with Wren were involved with ensur­ing Jones and Alexan­der could get the march from the Ellipse to the Capi­tol under­way. Recall how Car­o­line Wren was described by Cindy Chafi­an as an agent of the Trump White House. Ensur­ing a smooth tran­si­tion from the Ellipse to the Capi­tol ral­ly was clear­ly part of the plan. The White House­’s plan:

    ...
    On his show, Jones shared that the pan­el had asked him repeat­ed­ly who his White House con­tact was to help with ral­ly plan­ning and orga­niz­ing. Jones said that Car­o­line Wren, a major fundrais­er for the Don­ald Trump cam­paign, was his con­tact for ral­lies on Jan­u­ary 5 and 6.

    Jones sug­gest­ed that Wren was with a group of offi­cials at the Ellipse on Jan­u­ary 6 who led him “to the back of the stage so we could then go and get around the crowd and go lead the march.” Jones said he had sought to direct peo­ple to a spot near the Capi­tol where orga­niz­er Ali Alexan­der planned to hold a per­mit­ted ral­ly. He said he did not sup­port peo­ple going into the Capi­tol, which he called “so stu­pid and so dumb.”

    In its sub­poe­na let­ter to Jones, the com­mit­tee cit­ed news reports and his own state­ments to make the con­nec­tion between Jones, Wren and Chafi­an and said the three worked toward “facil­i­tat­ing a donor, now known to be Julie Fan­cel­li, to pro­vide what (he) char­ac­ter­ized as ‘eighty per­cent’ of the fund­ing” for the ral­ly on the Ellipse on Jan­u­ary 6.
    ...

    And yet that plan obvi­ous­ly nev­er hap­pened entire­ly. Trump nev­er showed up at the Capi­tol for a speech. What hap­pened? Was the plan can­celled at the last minute? Or was trick­ing all the sup­port­ers into head­ing towards the Capi­tol with promis­es of a Trump speech — only to then trig­ger the insur­rec­tion — always the real plan? Was a Trump speech planned until the last minute, when they decid­ed more force was nec­es­sary? These remain unan­swered ques­tions. But as we saw with the recent reports on the state­ments by for­mer Trump White House press sec­re­tary Stephanie Grisham regard­ing the numer­ous secret White House meet­ings in the days lead­ing up to the insur­rec­tion, Grisham told House inves­ti­ga­tors that the mys­tery sur­round­ing Trump’s promise at the Ellipse ral­ly that he would march with his sup­port­ers to the Capi­tol might be resolved in Trump White House doc­u­ments.

    This mys­tery of why Trump promised all these peo­ple he would speak at the sec­ond Capi­tol ral­ly, but then bailed after Jones and Alexan­der already led every­one there, is at the core of the larg­er mys­tery of whether or not the insur­rec­tion was planned. Did they plan a giant switcheroo? Lure the crowd to the Capi­tol with promis­es of Trump, and then lure that same crowd into the Capi­tol with para­mil­i­tary teams implant­ed in the crowd? These remain mas­sive ques­tions in this inves­ti­ga­tion, and look at the answer Jones gave us: first, he says it was the belief of those at the Capi­tol that Trump was going to join them in some capac­i­ty after his speech at the Ellipse on Jan­u­ary 6. That’s con­sis­tent with every­thing else we’ve heard. But then Jones said he heard from wit­ness­es to the com­mit­tee that Trump had told his then-chief of staff, Mark Mead­ows, that he was­n’t going to meet his sup­port­ers at the Capi­tol but could dri­ve by or fly over the crowd with a heli­copter because he had done that at oth­er large events. A planned fly­over? That would have been pret­ty wild indeed. Was that actu­al­ly part of the plan?

    ...
    The com­mit­tee stat­ed that Jones had been denied a speak­ing spot at the Jan­u­ary 6 ral­ly but that his pre­vi­ous com­ments indi­cate he had been des­ig­nat­ed to “lead a march to the Capi­tol, where Pres­i­dent Trump would meet the group.”

    Jones said on Mon­day that it was the belief of those at the Capi­tol that Trump was going to join them in some capac­i­ty after his speech at the Ellipse on Jan­u­ary 6. Jones said he heard from wit­ness­es to the com­mit­tee that Trump had told his then-chief of staff, Mark Mead­ows, that he was­n’t going to meet his sup­port­ers at the Capi­tol but could dri­ve by or fly over the crowd with a heli­copter because he had done that at oth­er large events.

    Jones said Trump “kept mar­veling” at the size of the crowd and that the then-Pres­i­dent “was super excit­ed” about the num­ber of peo­ple gath­er­ing at the Capi­tol.

    ...

    The com­mit­tee acknowl­edged specif­i­cal­ly in its sub­poe­na to Jones that once at the Capi­tol, he had told peo­ple “not to be vio­lent” and to gath­er and wait for Trump to speak. Even though Trump nev­er went to the Capi­tol that day, the com­mit­tee said the loca­tion where Jones had told peo­ple to wait “coin­cid­ed” with the place that “Stop the Steal” ral­ly orga­niz­er Alexan­der had obtained a per­mit for that day.
    ...

    Final­ly, note the rather laugh­able denials by Jones that he had any idea what­so­ev­er that vio­lence could have been planned for that day. As Jones put it, he only heard about such chat­ter in news reports. Amus­ing­ly, one of those ‘news reports’ could have come from his own show, when guest host Matt Brack­en warned audi­ence on Dec 31, 2020, that “We’re going to only be saved by mil­lions of Amer­i­cans mov­ing to Wash­ing­ton, occu­py­ing the entire area, if nec­es­sary storm­ing right into the Capi­tol.” Jones claimed he had nev­er heard this before, of course:

    ...
    Jones also relayed on Mon­day that the com­mit­tee had asked him whether he had heard of any plans for vio­lence on Jan­u­ary 6. Jones said the only talk he had heard about pos­si­ble vio­lence was through news reports and that he was not privy to any insid­er infor­ma­tion. He described it as “back­ground noise” that you “always hear about pol­i­tics in Amer­i­ca.”

    “There was, you know, head­lines about insur­rec­tion acts and Trump was all over the news. But I was get­ting this from the news like every­body else,” Jones said.

    He denounced any sug­ges­tion that he had been involved in the plan­ning of vio­lence at the Capi­tol.

    “Let’s get some­thing clear for the com­mit­tee and my audi­ence and every­body else: I don’t want a civ­il war in this coun­try, and that’s a ter­ri­ble idea,” he said. “And I don’t want law­less­ness by any­body. And I don’t want any­body attack­ing any­body, OK?”

    ...

    The com­mit­tee’s sub­poe­na to Jones ref­er­enced com­ments from a guest host on his pro­gram on Decem­ber 31, 2020, that seemed to fore­shad­ow the riot. “We’re going to only be saved by mil­lions of Amer­i­cans mov­ing to Wash­ing­ton, occu­py­ing the entire area, if nec­es­sary storm­ing right into the Capi­tol,” the host, Matt Brack­en, had told view­ers.

    On his show Mon­day, Jones con­demned those com­ments that had been made on his show, claimed he had­n’t heard them before he had received the sub­poe­na and said, “Quite frankly, I was shocked by it.”
    ...

    So while it’s hard to take Jones seri­ous­ly when he makes claims like that about not know­ing about any threats of vio­lence, he still remains a fas­ci­nat­ing wit­ness in the con­text of this larg­er inves­ti­ga­tion. And a big part of what makes him such a fas­ci­nat­ing wit­ness is the grow­ing pos­si­bil­i­ty that Jones was manip­u­lat­ed and used by Trump to help lead an insur­rec­tion while Trump keeps his hands clean. Because if Jones is telling the truth of expect­ing Trump to show up at the Capi­tol, that real­ly does sound like a sce­nario where Jones was just straight up played and used. And it’s not like it’s hard to fath­om fel­low far right fig­ures using and abus­ing each oth­er. It’s what they do. That’s why we have to ask: did Trump total­ly fool Alex Jones into trig­ger­ing his insur­rec­tion? Just how com­part­men­tal­ized was the last-minute insur­rec­tionary Trump switcheroo?

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 25, 2022, 5:46 pm
  40. Was the Jan­u­ary 6 Capi­tol insur­rec­tion mere­ly an act of “legit­i­mate polit­i­cal dis­course”? Yep. At least that’s how the Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee (RNC) sees it accord­ing to the lan­guage in the cen­sure motion passed by the RNC on Fri­day tar­get­ing Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger for par­tic­i­pat­ing in the House Jan 6 inves­ti­ga­tion.

    Fol­low­ing the pas­sage of the mea­sure, the RNC clar­i­fied that it was­n’t refer­ring to the peo­ple who actu­al­ly entered the Capi­tol on Jan 6. Instead, they were refer­ring to the non-vio­lent peo­ple who are caught up in the inves­ti­ga­tion. So who are these non-vio­lent peo­ple being inves­ti­gat­ed? Oh right, the Trump cabal, who actu­al­ly orga­nized it and foment­ed it on that day but did­n’t them­selves enter the Capi­tol. So the RNC is basi­cal­ly say­ing that the kind of open foment­ing of vio­lence and orga­niz­ing that led up to the insur­rec­tion is an act of “legit­i­mate polit­i­cal dis­course”, even if those who actu­al­ly entered the Capi­tol com­mit­ted real crimes. Or at least that’s one way to inter­pret their motion. The oth­er obvi­ous inter­pre­ta­tion is that the RNC real­ly did intend on send­ing the mes­sage that the insur­rec­tion itself was per­fect­ly legal and legit­i­mate and is engag­ing in the kind of mealy-mouthed dou­ble-talk we’ve should expect. Either way, the RNC made it offi­cial: plot­ting and foment­ing insur­rec­tions are acts of legit­i­mate speech:

    The New York Times

    G.O.P. Declares Jan. 6 Attack ‘Legit­i­mate Polit­i­cal Dis­course’

    The Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee vot­ed to cen­sure Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger for par­tic­i­pat­ing in the inquiry into the dead­ly riot at the Capi­tol.

    By Jonathan Weis­man and Reid J. Epstein
    Pub­lished Feb. 4, 2022
    Updat­ed Feb. 5, 2022, 12:04 a.m. ET

    WASHINGTON — The Repub­li­can Par­ty on Fri­day offi­cial­ly declared the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capi­tol and events that led to it “legit­i­mate polit­i­cal dis­course,” and rebuked two law­mak­ers in the par­ty who have been most out­spo­ken in con­demn­ing the dead­ly riot and the role of Don­ald J. Trump in spread­ing the elec­tion lies that fueled it.

    The Repub­li­can Nation­al Committee’s voice vote to cen­sure Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illi­nois at its win­ter meet­ing in Salt Lake City cul­mi­nat­ed more than a year of vac­il­la­tion, which start­ed with par­ty lead­ers con­demn­ing the Capi­tol attack and Mr. Trump’s con­duct, then shift­ed to down­play­ing and deny­ing it.

    On Fri­day, the par­ty went fur­ther in a res­o­lu­tion slam­ming Ms. Cheney and Mr. Kinzinger for tak­ing part in the House inves­ti­ga­tion of the assault, say­ing they were par­tic­i­pat­ing in “per­se­cu­tion of ordi­nary cit­i­zens engaged in legit­i­mate polit­i­cal dis­course.”

    After the vote, par­ty lead­ers rushed to clar­i­fy that lan­guage, say­ing it was nev­er meant to apply to riot­ers who vio­lent­ly stormed the Capi­tol in Mr. Trump’s name.

    “Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger crossed a line,” Ron­na McDaniel, the Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee chair­woman, said in a state­ment. “They chose to join Nan­cy Pelosi in a Demo­c­rat-led per­se­cu­tion of ordi­nary cit­i­zens who engaged in legit­i­mate polit­i­cal dis­course that had noth­ing to do with vio­lence at the Capi­tol.”

    But the cen­sure, which was care­ful­ly nego­ti­at­ed in pri­vate among par­ty mem­bers, made no such dis­tinc­tion, nor is the House com­mit­tee inves­ti­gat­ing the attack exam­in­ing any nor­mal polit­i­cal debate. It was the lat­est and most force­ful effort by the Repub­li­can Par­ty to min­i­mize what hap­pened and the broad­er attempt by Mr. Trump and his allies to inval­i­date the results of the 2020 elec­tion. In approv­ing it and opt­ing to pun­ish two of its own, Repub­li­cans seemed to embrace a posi­tion that many of them have only hint­ed at: that the assault and the actions that pre­ced­ed it were accept­able.

    It came days after Mr. Trump sug­gest­ed that, if re-elect­ed in 2024, he would con­sid­er par­dons for those con­vict­ed in the Jan. 6 attack and for the first time described his goal that day as sub­vert­ing the elec­tion results, say­ing in a state­ment that Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence “could have over­turned the elec­tion.”

    On Fri­day, Mr. Pence pushed back on Mr. Trump, call­ing his asser­tion “wrong.”

    “I had no right to over­turn the elec­tion,” Mr. Pence told the Fed­er­al­ist Soci­ety, a con­ser­v­a­tive legal orga­ni­za­tion, at a gath­er­ing in Flori­da.

    The day’s events, which were sup­posed to be about uni­ty, only served to high­light Repub­li­cans’ per­sis­tent divi­sion over Mr. Trump’s attempt to over­turn the 2020 elec­tion, as their lead­ers try to move for­ward and focus atten­tion on what they call the fail­ings of the Biden admin­is­tra­tion. More than a year lat­er, the par­ty is still wrestling with how much crit­i­cism and dis­sent it will tol­er­ate.

    “Shame falls on a par­ty that would cen­sure per­sons of con­science, who seek truth in the face of vit­ri­ol,” Sen­a­tor Mitt Rom­ney, Repub­li­can of Utah, wrote on Twit­ter. “Hon­or attach­es to Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger for seek­ing truth even when doing so comes at great per­son­al cost.”

    He did not men­tion that the par­ty chair­woman who presided over the meet­ing and orches­trat­ed the cen­sure res­o­lu­tion, Ms. McDaniel, is his niece.

    The cen­sure was also con­demned by Sen­a­tor Bill Cas­sidy, Repub­li­can of Louisiana, who, like Mr. Rom­ney, vot­ed to remove Mr. Trump from office for incit­ing insur­rec­tion on Jan. 6, and Gov. Lar­ry Hogan of Mary­land, also a Repub­li­can, called Fri­day “a sad day for my par­ty — and the coun­try.”

    Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee mem­bers defend­ed the mea­sure, describ­ing peo­ple who have been ques­tioned by the Jan. 6 com­mit­tee as vic­tims in a broad­er Demo­c­ra­t­ic effort to keep focus on the attack at the Capi­tol.

    “The nom­i­nal Repub­li­cans on the com­mit­tee pro­vide a pas­tiche of bipar­ti­san­ship, but no gen­uine pro­tec­tion or due process for the ordi­nary peo­ple who did not riot being tar­get­ed and ter­ror­ized by the com­mit­tee,” said Richard Porter, a Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee mem­ber from Illi­nois. “The inves­ti­ga­tion is a de fac­to Demo­c­rat-only inves­ti­ga­tion increas­ing­ly unmoored from con­gres­sion­al norms.”

    The Jan. 6 com­mit­tee, which has sev­en Demo­c­ra­t­ic mem­bers, has inter­viewed more than 475 wit­ness­es, the vast major­i­ty of whom either vol­un­teered to tes­ti­fy or agreed to with­out a sub­poe­na. It has no pros­e­cu­to­r­i­al pow­ers, and is charged with draw­ing up a report and pro­duc­ing rec­om­men­da­tions to pre­vent any­thing sim­i­lar from hap­pen­ing again.

    The party’s far-right flank has long agi­tat­ed to boot Ms. Cheney and Mr. Kinzinger out of the House Repub­li­can Con­fer­ence for agree­ing to serve on the pan­el, a push that Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Kevin McCarthy of Cal­i­for­nia, the minor­i­ty leader, has tried to brush aside. And the for­mal cen­sure, approved by the state par­ty chairs and com­mit­tee mem­bers who make up the Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee, is sure to stir up those efforts again.

    “We need to move on from that whole dis­cus­sion and, frankly, move for­ward and get the House back in 2022,” said Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mike Gar­cia, a Cal­i­for­nia Repub­li­can fac­ing a dif­fi­cult re-elec­tion cam­paign in a new­ly con­fig­ured dis­trict.

    Most House Repub­li­cans tried to ignore the actions of the par­ty on Fri­day, refus­ing to answer ques­tions or say­ing they had not read the cen­sure res­o­lu­tion. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Dan Cren­shaw, Repub­li­can of Texas, called it “dumb stuff,” while Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mark Green, Repub­li­can of Ten­nessee, lament­ed the dis­trac­tion from “this abysmal administration’s record.”

    ...

    In his own defense, Mr. Kinzinger said: “I have no regrets about my deci­sion to uphold my oath of office and defend the Con­sti­tu­tion. I will con­tin­ue to focus my efforts on stand­ing for truth and work­ing to fight the polit­i­cal matrix that’s led us to where we find our­selves today.”

    The res­o­lu­tion spoke repeat­ed­ly of par­ty uni­ty as the goal of cen­sur­ing the law­mak­ers, say­ing that Repub­li­cans’ abil­i­ty to focus on the Biden admin­is­tra­tion was being “sab­o­taged” by the “actions and words” of Ms. Cheney and Mr. Kinzinger, which indi­cate “they sup­port Demo­c­rat efforts to destroy Pres­i­dent Trump more than they sup­port win­ning back a Repub­li­can major­i­ty in 2022.”

    Nor­mal­ly, the par­ty stays out of pri­ma­ry fights, but the res­o­lu­tion will make it eas­i­er for the Repub­li­can appa­ra­tus to aban­don Ms. Cheney and throw its weight and mon­ey behind her main G.O.P. chal­lenger, Har­ri­et Hage­man.

    It declares that the par­ty “shall imme­di­ate­ly cease any and all sup­port of” both law­mak­ers “as mem­bers of the Repub­li­can Par­ty for their behav­ior, which has been destruc­tive to the insti­tu­tion of the U.S. House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, the Repub­li­can Par­ty and our repub­lic, and is incon­sis­tent with the posi­tion of the con­fer­ence.”

    Mr. Kinzinger has already announced he will not seek re-elec­tion, as have some oth­er House Repub­li­cans who vot­ed to impeach Mr. Trump for incit­ing the attack on the Capi­tol. Ms. Cheney, how­ev­er, has vowed to stand for re-elec­tion.

    Ear­li­er this week, the Wyoming del­e­ga­tion to the Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee sub­mit­ted a so-called “Rule 11” let­ter, for­mal­iz­ing par­ty sup­port for Ms. Hage­man. The exis­tence of the let­ter was report­ed by The Wash­ing­ton Post.

    The let­ter allows the Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee to send resources to the Wyoming branch of the par­ty to spend on Ms. Hageman’s behalf — essen­tial­ly des­ig­nat­ing her as the party’s pre­sump­tive nom­i­nee. The des­ig­na­tions are com­mon in Repub­li­can pol­i­tics, but typ­i­cal­ly are used to sup­port incum­bents who may be fac­ing token pri­ma­ry chal­lengers.

    Ms. Cheney, who faces an uphill bat­tle in her re-elec­tion bid against a Repub­li­can Par­ty aligned with Mr. Trump, said par­ty lead­ers “have made them­selves will­ing hostages” to Mr. Trump.

    “I do not rec­og­nize those in my par­ty who have aban­doned the Con­sti­tu­tion to embrace Don­ald Trump,” she said. “His­to­ry will be their judge. I will nev­er stop fight­ing for our con­sti­tu­tion­al repub­lic. No mat­ter what.”

    Ms. Cheney has a a com­mand­ing finan­cial advan­tage over Ms. Hage­man, accord­ing to fed­er­al cam­paign finance reports released this week. Ms. Cheney entered 2022 with near­ly $5 mil­lion in cam­paign cash, while Ms. Hage­man report­ed just $380,000.

    The cen­sure res­o­lu­tion was watered down from an ini­tial ver­sion that called direct­ly for the House Repub­li­can Con­fer­ence to “expel” Ms. Cheney and Mr. Kinzinger “with­out delay.” That demand was dropped. How­ev­er, the lan­guage con­demn­ing the attack on “legit­i­mate polit­i­cal dis­course” was then added.

    William J. Palatuc­ci, a Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee mem­ber from New Jer­sey who said he opposed the res­o­lu­tion, said those changes were made “behind closed doors.” The final lan­guage was offi­cial­ly cir­cu­lat­ed to com­mit­tee mem­bers ear­ly Fri­day morn­ing. He called it “can­cel cul­ture at its worst.”

    ———–

    “On Fri­day, the par­ty went fur­ther in a res­o­lu­tion slam­ming Ms. Cheney and Mr. Kinzinger for tak­ing part in the House inves­ti­ga­tion of the assault, say­ing they were par­tic­i­pat­ing in “per­se­cu­tion of ordi­nary cit­i­zens engaged in legit­i­mate polit­i­cal dis­course.”

    It’s not an inves­ti­ga­tion into who planned and exe­cut­ed the insur­rec­tion. It’s the “per­se­cu­tion of ordi­nary cit­i­zens engaged in legit­i­mate polit­i­cal dis­course.” It sounds like the kind of state­ment that’s ref­er­enc­ing the hun­dreds of MAGA-lov­ing ‘ordi­nary cit­i­zens’ who stormed the Capi­tol. But no, after the vote the RNC clar­i­fied that it was­n’t refer­ring to the peo­ple who entered the Capi­tol. No, it was all the oth­er ‘ordi­nary cit­i­zens’ who did­n’t enter the Capi­tol but are cur­rent­ly under inves­ti­ga­tion. In oth­er words, the ‘ordi­nary cit­i­zens’ the RNC is refer­ring to are peo­ple like Trump, Rudy Giu­liani, Steve Ban­non, Roger Stone and the rest of the cabal who actu­al­ly planned and orga­nized the insur­rec­tion:

    ...
    After the vote, par­ty lead­ers rushed to clar­i­fy that lan­guage, say­ing it was nev­er meant to apply to riot­ers who vio­lent­ly stormed the Capi­tol in Mr. Trump’s name.

    “Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger crossed a line,” Ron­na McDaniel, the Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee chair­woman, said in a state­ment. “They chose to join Nan­cy Pelosi in a Demo­c­rat-led per­se­cu­tion of ordi­nary cit­i­zens who engaged in legit­i­mate polit­i­cal dis­course that had noth­ing to do with vio­lence at the Capi­tol.”

    But the cen­sure, which was care­ful­ly nego­ti­at­ed in pri­vate among par­ty mem­bers, made no such dis­tinc­tion, nor is the House com­mit­tee inves­ti­gat­ing the attack exam­in­ing any nor­mal polit­i­cal debate. It was the lat­est and most force­ful effort by the Repub­li­can Par­ty to min­i­mize what hap­pened and the broad­er attempt by Mr. Trump and his allies to inval­i­date the results of the 2020 elec­tion. In approv­ing it and opt­ing to pun­ish two of its own, Repub­li­cans seemed to embrace a posi­tion that many of them have only hint­ed at: that the assault and the actions that pre­ced­ed it were accept­able.

    ...

    Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee mem­bers defend­ed the mea­sure, describ­ing peo­ple who have been ques­tioned by the Jan. 6 com­mit­tee as vic­tims in a broad­er Demo­c­ra­t­ic effort to keep focus on the attack at the Capi­tol.

    “The nom­i­nal Repub­li­cans on the com­mit­tee pro­vide a pas­tiche of bipar­ti­san­ship, but no gen­uine pro­tec­tion or due process for the ordi­nary peo­ple who did not riot being tar­get­ed and ter­ror­ized by the com­mit­tee,” said Richard Porter, a Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee mem­ber from Illi­nois. “The inves­ti­ga­tion is a de fac­to Demo­c­rat-only inves­ti­ga­tion increas­ing­ly unmoored from con­gres­sion­al norms.”

    ...

    The cen­sure res­o­lu­tion was watered down from an ini­tial ver­sion that called direct­ly for the House Repub­li­can Con­fer­ence to “expel” Ms. Cheney and Mr. Kinzinger “with­out delay.” That demand was dropped. How­ev­er, the lan­guage con­demn­ing the attack on “legit­i­mate polit­i­cal dis­course” was then added.
    ...

    It’s also worth keep­ing in mind that, at this point, it looks like if Trump does make anoth­er run for the White House in 2024, he’s basi­cal­ly going to be cam­paign­ing in open defense of the insur­rec­tion and will pre­sum­ably be active­ly foment­ing a new one if nec­es­sary. So don’t be sur­prised if the RNC ends up dou­bling and tripling down on this res­o­lu­tion. There’s prob­a­bly going to be a lot more “legit­i­mate polit­i­cal dis­course” for them to defend in the new few years. Prac­tice makes per­fect.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | February 5, 2022, 4:47 pm
  41. Now that the Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee has for­mal­ly declared that the Jan 6 Capi­tol insur­rec­tion was just an act of “legit­i­mate polit­i­cal dis­course”, here’s anoth­er look at what we can expect from the GOP in the upcom­ing 2022 mid-term elec­tions. If ever it was a ‘Democ­ra­cy is on the bal­lot’ kind of elec­tion, this is it. An elec­tion that will hinge on the ques­tion of whether or not insur­rec­tions are ok. Or at least that’s what the elec­tion clear­ly should be focused on. But whether or not that pub­lic focus on the insur­rec­tion hap­pens remains to be seen, and that brings us to the recent reports on the fig­ure tapped by the House GOP lead­er­ship to mas­ter­mind their 2022 mid-term strate­gies: Newt Gin­grich.

    Yes, Newt has report­ed­ly been lead­ing brain-storm­ing ses­sions with House lead­ers includ­ing Minor­i­ty Leader Kevin McCarthy and Minor­i­ty Whip Steve Scalise. The archi­tect of the 1994 ‘Repub­li­can Rev­o­lu­tion’ is being giv­en a crack as lead­ing a 2022 rev­o­lu­tion that could help serve to make the GOP’s offi­cial embrace of insur­rec­tions much more offi­cial in the legal sense. Because if we take Newt at his word, the plan is for crim­i­nal pros­e­cu­tions of the Democ­rats who have been lead­ing the inves­ti­ga­tion into Jan 6. That’s one of Newt’s big ideas for win­ning back the House in 2022: pledg­ing crim­i­nal inves­ti­ga­tions of the Jan 6 inves­ti­ga­tors.

    Newt also report­ed­ly plans on keep­ing the GOP focused on the rest of its con­tem­po­rary ‘great­est hits’: fear­mon­ger­ing about Chi­na, “Crit­i­cal Race The­o­ry”, and But Newt report­ed­ly does­n’t want the GOP’s agen­da to be lim­it­ed to threat­en­ing Democ­rats and hopes the GOP will include a more pos­i­tive pol­i­cy agen­da. Like oppos­ing Biden’s tax mea­sures, includ­ing the glob­al min­i­mum cor­po­rate tax nego­ti­at­ed by Trea­sury Sec­re­tary Janet L. Yellen and the 15 per­cent min­i­mum tax the White House has pushed on large cor­po­ra­tions. Oh, and a bal­anced bud­get amend­ment. An oldie but a good­ie. Recall how the GOP tried and failed to pass a Bal­anced Bud­get Amend­ment in 2011 and 2018. Third time’s a charm. Plus, they’re expect­ed to offer a “Par­ents Bill of Rights” that will offer par­ents basi­cal­ly the same rights that already have, but with extra fear­mon­ger­ing about crit­i­cal race the­o­ry. In oth­er words, they’re not going to actu­al­ly offer any poli­cies, unless those poli­cies hap­pen to be tax cuts or more offi­cial fear-mon­ger­ing:

    The Wash­ing­ton Post

    Opin­ion: Newt Gin­grich start­ed us on the road to ruin. Now, he’s back to fin­ish the job.

    By Dana Mil­bank
    Colum­nist |
    Feb­ru­ary 4, 2022 at 3:56 p.m. EST

    Kevin McCarthy and his House Repub­li­can lead­er­ship team have called on Newt Gin­grich to advise them on their midterm elec­tion strat­e­gy, The Post’s Jeff Stein and Lau­ra Meck­ler report­ed recent­ly.

    Man of No Prin­ci­ples hires Man of Low Char­ac­ter: What could pos­si­bly go wrong?

    But the choice is per­fect, in a way unin­tend­ed by the upward­ly fail­ing McCarthy. Gin­grich, leader of the Repub­li­can Rev­o­lu­tion of 1994, bears a sin­gu­lar respon­si­bil­i­ty for pre­cip­i­tat­ing the ruin of the Amer­i­can polit­i­cal sys­tem. So it’s appro­pri­ate that he is return­ing for what might be Amer­i­can democracy’s final act.

    Before and dur­ing his four-year reign as speak­er of the House, Gin­grich pio­neered much of the sav­agery we see today: treat­ing oppo­nents as crim­i­nals, un-Amer­i­can and sub­hu­man; using shock­ing lan­guage; per­pe­trat­ing a grind­ing attack on the press; and sab­o­tag­ing gov­ern­ment oper­a­tions and insti­tu­tions.

    McCarthy has a famous weak­ness for strong­men. First, he was Don­ald Trump’s “my Kevin.” Now, he’s a dis­ci­ple of Trump’s dem­a­gog­ic prog­en­i­tor.

    Right on cue, Gin­grich dis­played his anti-demo­c­ra­t­ic instincts. He said on — where else? — Fox News that if Repub­li­cans regain the major­i­ty in the House, law­mak­ers on the Jan. 6 inves­tiga­tive com­mit­tee are “going to face a real risk of jail for the kind of laws they are break­ing.”

    Threat­en­ing to imprison oppo­nents for unspec­i­fied crimes? The hall­mark of author­i­tar­i­ans every­where. And vin­tage Gin­grich.

    Three decades before Trump inspired sup­port­ers to chant “Lock her up!” Gin­grich pop­u­lar­ized the idea that Democ­rats weren’t just wrong — they were crim­i­nals. They didn’t just dis­agree — they were cor­rupt and anti-Amer­i­can.

    In the 1980s, as a young back­bencher from Geor­gia, Gin­grich led a suc­cess­ful cam­paign to oust Demo­c­ra­t­ic House Speak­er Jim Wright over ethics alle­ga­tions. (Gin­grich was lat­er rep­ri­mand­ed and fined for sim­i­lar offens­es.) On the House floor, Gin­grich accused 10 Democ­rats of ille­gal­i­ty and dis­loy­al­ty to the Unit­ed States. In 1991, he sug­gest­ed Democ­rats on the House Intel­li­gence Com­mit­tee would betray nation­al secu­ri­ty by leak­ing secrets.

    He accused Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton and count­less oth­er Democ­rats of cor­rup­tion, ille­gal finan­cial schemes and polit­i­cal cam­paigns, and end­less coverups. He accused admin­is­tra­tion offi­cials of shred­ding com­pro­mis­ing doc­u­ments and the pres­i­dent him­self of “black­mail,” “law­break­ing” and sub­vert­ing the “rule of law.”

    ...

    Lis­ten to how he describes the pol­i­tics of his every­day rivals, ‘the left-wing Democ­rats’: ‘sick,’ ‘grotesque,’ ‘loony,’ ‘stu­pid,’ ‘cor­rupt,’ ‘extra­or­di­nar­i­ly destruc­tive,’” John Har­wood wrote in the St. Peters­burg Times in 1989. Gin­grich said the Democ­rats’ “val­ue struc­ture” includ­ed “all the mul­ti­part­ner sex you want­ed,” “all the recre­ation­al drugs you want­ed” and “let mur­der­ers out on the week­ends.” Gin­grich said Democ­rats “rep­re­sent the par­ty of total hedo­nism, total exhi­bi­tion­ism, total bizarreness, total weird­ness, and the total right to crip­ple inno­cent peo­ple.”

    Such vit­ri­ol is com­mon­place now. Then, it was shock­ing. Gin­grich main­streamed the appalling.

    Two decades before Trump cam­paigned against a “rigged” sys­tem and elec­tions, Gin­grich accused Democ­rats of “rig­ging” the ethics process and mak­ing “rigged” tax cal­cu­la­tions. Gin­grich also embraced white nation­al­ism long before Trump’s rise. When Pat Buchanan launched his race-bait­ing pri­ma­ry chal­lenge to Pres­i­dent George H.W. Bush in 1992, Gin­grich boost­ed Buchanan and accused Democ­rats of seek­ing “a mul­ti­cul­tur­al, nihilis­tic hedo­nism.”

    Long before Trump attacked the “fake news” media as the “ene­my of the peo­ple,” Gin­grich attacked the media for “despi­ca­ble dem­a­goguery.”

    Long before Trump invent­ed facts and lev­eled base­less alle­ga­tions, Gin­grich claimed up to a quar­ter of the Clin­ton White House staff had used ille­gal drugs.

    Long before Trump said “the world is laugh­ing at us,” Gin­grich said: “All over the world, we look like a vio­lent, help­less, pathet­ic coun­try.”

    Like Trump, Gin­grich said his oppo­nents were “vicious.” He accused them of “shame­less­ly lying and exploit­ing chil­dren,” of sup­port­ing child sex­u­al abuse, of “deca­dence,” of being “coun­ter­cul­ture McGov­er­nicks.” Labor unions were “dic­ta­to­r­i­al.” Clin­ton cre­at­ed a “Euro­pean Viet­nam” in the Balka­ns and encour­aged mass shoot­ings by under­min­ing Amer­i­can val­ues.

    Like Trump, he threw sand in the gears of gov­ern­ment. Long before Trump shut down the gov­ern­ment over his insis­tence on build­ing a bor­der wall, Gin­grich admit­ted he shut down the gov­ern­ment because Clin­ton had dis­re­spect­ed him aboard Air Force One and forced him to dis­em­bark via the rear stairs.

    Gin­grich pio­neered the now-com­mon refusal to nego­ti­ate, which brought hope­less grid­lock and dys­func­tion to the polit­i­cal sys­tem. “We will not com­pro­mise,” he assert­ed before bud­get nego­ti­a­tions began.

    So it’s entire­ly fit­ting that Gin­grich is back atop the GOP. In a sense, he nev­er left.

    ———–

    “Opin­ion: Newt Gin­grich start­ed us on the road to ruin. Now, he’s back to fin­ish the job.” By Dana Mil­bank; The Wash­ing­ton Post; 02/04/2022

    “Three decades before Trump inspired sup­port­ers to chant “Lock her up!” Gin­grich pop­u­lar­ized the idea that Democ­rats weren’t just wrong — they were crim­i­nals. They didn’t just dis­agree — they were cor­rupt and anti-Amer­i­can.”

    It’s hard to think of a polit­i­cal fig­ure who has done more to poi­son the well of US polit­i­cal dis­course over the last gen­er­a­tion than Newt Gin­grich. It makes him the nat­ur­al choice for guid­ing the GOP’s 2022 mid-term strat­e­gy. A post-insur­rec­tion strat­e­gy focused on con­vinc­ing the Amer­i­can pub­lic that the real polit­i­cal crim­i­nals are the Democ­rats com­mit­ting the crime of crim­i­nal­iz­ing the insur­rec­tion. An insur­rec­tion that the RNC just declared to be an act of “legit­i­mate polit­i­cal dis­course”. The GOP is poised to wage a war on democ­ra­cy in 2022 by pre­emp­tive­ly crim­i­nal­iz­ing the oppo­si­tion. Gin­grich was the nat­ur­al choice:

    ...
    Right on cue, Gin­grich dis­played his anti-demo­c­ra­t­ic instincts. He said on — where else? — Fox News that if Repub­li­cans regain the major­i­ty in the House, law­mak­ers on the Jan. 6 inves­tiga­tive com­mit­tee are “going to face a real risk of jail for the kind of laws they are break­ing.”

    Threat­en­ing to imprison oppo­nents for unspec­i­fied crimes? The hall­mark of author­i­tar­i­ans every­where. And vin­tage Gin­grich.

    ...

    Such vit­ri­ol is com­mon­place now. Then, it was shock­ing. Gin­grich main­streamed the appalling.
    ...

    So with Gin­grich tasked with craft­ing the GOP’s 2022 pitch to vot­ers, it rais­es the ques­tion: Are we going to see a new “Con­tract with Amer­i­ca”? Sort of. Although it sounds like it might be more of a “Com­mit­ment to Amer­i­ca.” A com­mitt­ment to pros­e­cute the Democ­rats for inves­ti­gat­ing Jan 6, cut tax­es, gut envi­ron­men­tal reg­u­la­tions, and fear-mon­ger about “crit­i­cal race the­o­ry”. And not much else:

    The Wash­ing­ton Post

    House GOP plots pol­i­cy agen­da for 2022 midterm elec­tions — with help from archi­tect of 1994 plan

    Newt Gin­grich, who wrote the ‘Con­tract with Amer­i­ca,’ is work­ing with House Minor­i­ty Leader Kevin McCarthy on a sim­i­lar effort

    By Jeff Stein and Lau­ra Meck­ler
    Jan­u­ary 20, 2022 at 6:00 a.m. EST

    Senior House Repub­li­cans are putting togeth­er a list of pol­i­cy pledges to run on in the 2022 elec­tions, and they are con­sult­ing with the archi­tect of one of their biggest his­tor­i­cal midterm vic­to­ries.

    Newt Gin­grich, whose “Con­tract with Amer­i­ca” in 1994 is linked with the GOP takeover of Con­gress in that midterm cycle, said he has been advis­ing House Minor­i­ty Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) on a set of pol­i­cy items for Repub­li­cans to take to vot­ers ahead of the Novem­ber elec­tions. House Minor­i­ty Whip Steve Scalise (La.) and oth­er mem­bers of House Repub­li­can lead­er­ship are also involved in the project, which is not expect­ed to launch until the spring or sum­mer.

    Repub­li­cans are expect­ed to focus their new plat­form on edu­ca­tion poli­cies aimed at tap­ping into parental dis­con­tent; coun­ter­ing the rise of Chi­na with new eco­nom­ic mea­sures; and “over­sight” of the Biden admin­is­tra­tion. They are also look­ing at invok­ing oth­er tra­di­tion­al GOP goals such as cut­ting tax­es, restrict­ing immi­gra­tion, crit­i­ciz­ing Sil­i­con Val­ley and repeal­ing envi­ron­men­tal rules.

    It was unclear what the par­ty would have to say about one of the biggest issues in recent years: the long-stand­ing GOP effort to unrav­el or repeal the Afford­able Care Act.

    The talks between McCarthy and Gin­grich offer a sharp con­trast to the strat­e­gy that Sen­ate Repub­li­cans are using, which large­ly amounts to sit­ting on the side­lines and allow­ing Democ­rats to con­tin­ue war­ring with each oth­er as pub­lic sen­ti­ment turns against the par­ty in pow­er. Democ­rats hold a razor-thin major­i­ty in the Sen­ate and a nar­row major­i­ty in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

    ...

    New Hamp­shire Gov. Chris Sununu, one of the GOP’s top recruits to run for Sen­ate in 2022, told the Wash­ing­ton Exam­in­er this week that he decid­ed against doing so in part because his con­ver­sa­tions with Repub­li­can sen­a­tors led him to believe they only plan to “be a road­block” to Pres­i­dent Biden’s agen­da. Biden cit­ed Sununu’s remarks at his news con­fer­ence Wednes­day.

    “Think about this: What are Repub­li­cans for? What are they for? Name me one thing they’re for,” the pres­i­dent said.

    By con­trast, McCarthy told Bre­it­bart last week that his cau­cus is work­ing on pro­duc­ing pol­i­cy posi­tions — some of which have already been released — that will then be rolled into a broad­er pledge out­lin­ing the House GOP’s key pol­i­cy pri­or­i­ties. But ques­tions abound about the seri­ous­ness of that effort and whether the Repub­li­can pol­i­cy plat­forms will amount to much more than a mes­sag­ing effort. Democ­rats say they are eager for the GOP to release a pol­i­cy vision they can run against, believ­ing it is far eas­i­er for Repub­li­cans to point out prob­lems in the econ­o­my than offer mate­r­i­al solu­tions.

    The nature of the House GOP pledges could define the 2022 midterms and the bal­ance of pow­er in Con­gress, while also reflect­ing the party’s top pri­or­i­ties should it win the elec­tion. The Trump admin­is­tra­tion end­ed amid a fail­ure to con­tain the pan­dem­ic and dis­as­trous nation­al eco­nom­ic cir­cum­stances, and the GOP has been immersed in an inter­nal feud over Don­ald Trump’s repeat­ed false­hoods about the results of the 2020 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion. The fed­er­al deficit also explod­ed under Trump, in part as a result of the coro­n­avirus pan­dem­ic but also because of the 2017 GOP tax cuts.

    “Basi­cal­ly oth­er than tax cuts for rich peo­ple, it’s very hard to see what the GOP has by way of eco­nom­ic pol­i­cy,” said Dean Bak­er, a lib­er­al econ­o­mist. “Repub­li­cans have over years delib­er­ate­ly gut­ted gov­ern­ment in all sorts of areas where it was intend­ed to ben­e­fit work­ing peo­ple and the poor, and there’s no rea­son to think they’ve changed.”

    Gin­grich said he is hope­ful the GOP will incor­po­rate a “bal­anced bud­get amend­ment,” a long-sought con­ser­v­a­tive pol­i­cy goal that would require enor­mous cuts to fed­er­al spend­ing pro­grams. He argued that Repub­li­cans will pro­vide a robust agen­da that is not mere­ly about oppos­ing Biden.

    “[McCarthy] real­ly does want to dri­ve home that we can’t just have a neg­a­tive anti-Biden cam­paign — we need a pos­i­tive mes­sage, too,” Gin­grich told The Wash­ing­ton Post. “I think that’s clear­ly what McCarthy wants to do and I’ve offered to look at stuff and offer advice. There’s lots of peo­ple in the House work­ing on it. It will be a wide­spread com­mit­ment.”

    McCarthy’s office said in a state­ment that Repub­li­cans will also focus on chal­leng­ing “Big Tech” with antitrust and oth­er mea­sures, as well as chang­ing con­gres­sion­al rules, such as by repeal­ing mask man­dates, remov­ing mag­net­ic scan­ners from the floor of the House and abol­ish­ing vot­ing by proxy. Repub­li­cans will also resist Biden’s tax mea­sures, includ­ing the glob­al min­i­mum cor­po­rate tax nego­ti­at­ed by Trea­sury Sec­re­tary Janet L. Yellen and the 15 per­cent min­i­mum tax the White House has pushed on large cor­po­ra­tions. Politi­co recent­ly report­ed that he pri­vate­ly remains more sup­port­ive of Big Tech than his pub­lic com­ments sug­gest.

    “Any­time you have an elec­tion that has con­trast, clear con­trast — like, if Repub­li­cans were trust­ed with the major­i­ty, what would you do?” McCarthy told Bre­it­bart. “We’ll come out with a Com­mit­ment to Amer­i­ca. … We’ve been work­ing on pol­i­cy.”

    The blue­print is expect­ed to emerge from meet­ings with House GOP task forces led by Repub­li­can law­mak­ers gath­er­ing input over months. But it is also like­ly to expose ten­sions with­in the GOP coali­tion on eco­nom­ic and oth­er pol­i­cy issues.

    Busi­ness elites close to the par­ty, for instance, remain opposed to the tar­iffs and oth­er trade restric­tions imposed by Trump dur­ing his pres­i­den­cy, although many GOP law­mak­ers also want to increase eco­nom­ic pres­sure on Chi­na. The par­ty also large­ly aban­doned its pledge to cut spend­ing under Trump, despite long-stand­ing GOP promis­es to bal­ance the fed­er­al bud­get.

    “I don’t think they’ll call it the ‘Con­tract for Amer­i­ca,’ but there is going to be some kind of very robust Repub­li­can promise list for what they will do if or when they take con­trol of the House,” said Stephen Moore, who served as an out­side eco­nom­ic advis­er to Trump.

    Among the biggest ques­tions fac­ing the GOP is what it will put for­ward on infla­tion, which has quick­ly emerged as a defin­ing eco­nom­ic chal­lenge for the White House. Repub­li­cans have blamed Biden’s $1.9 tril­lion eco­nom­ic relief plan for fuel­ing ris­ing prices. But beyond putting the brakes on spend­ing, it is unclear exact­ly what the GOP wants to do to com­bat the price pres­sures. Repub­li­can offi­cials have talked about reduc­ing ener­gy costs by repeal­ing lim­its on fos­sil fuel pro­duc­tion, despite the threat caused by cli­mate change.

    “There is noth­ing that mes­sages well, sig­nif­i­cant­ly reduces infla­tion and is pain­less,” said Bri­an Riedl, who served as an aide to Sen. Rob Port­man (R‑Ohio). “It’s eas­i­er to crit­i­cize infla­tion than to map out an actu­al solu­tion going for­ward, and that’s the box Repub­li­cans are cur­rent­ly in.”

    The idea of “par­ents’ rights” as a polit­i­cal strat­e­gy emerged from last year’s guber­na­to­r­i­al race in Vir­ginia, where Repub­li­can Glenn Youngkin won elec­tion in part by promis­ing that par­ents would have more say in their children’s edu­ca­tion.

    McCarthy has released a “Par­ents Bill of Rights” that would not make big changes in edu­ca­tion but would send some new man­dates to school dis­tricts, some of which dupli­cate actions that are already rou­tine or cov­ered by exist­ing rules and laws.

    For instance, they would require that dis­tricts post cur­ricu­lum and school bud­gets, which are typ­i­cal­ly avail­able through pub­lic records requests, as well as lists of books in school libraries, which are less like­ly to be avail­able. Par­ents are also to be informed that they have the right to meet with their child’s teacher twice a year, already a com­mon prac­tice.

    The doc­u­ment also asserts that par­ents have a “right to be heard.” School boards almost uni­form­ly allow for pub­lic com­ment, though some have shut meet­ings down because of dis­rup­tions includ­ing scream­ing and threats of vio­lence.

    ————

    “House GOP plots pol­i­cy agen­da for 2022 midterm elec­tions — with help from archi­tect of 1994 plan” by Jeff Stein and Lau­ra Meck­ler; The Wash­ing­ton Post; 01/20/2022

    ““Any­time you have an elec­tion that has con­trast, clear con­trast — like, if Repub­li­cans were trust­ed with the major­i­ty, what would you do?” McCarthy told Bre­it­bart. “We’ll come out with a Com­mit­ment to Amer­i­ca. … We’ve been work­ing on pol­i­cy.”

    Will the “Com­mit­ment to Amer­i­ca” be as pop­u­lar with the elec­torate as Gin­grich’s orig­i­nal “Con­tract with Amer­i­ca”? Time will tell. Although with today’s hyper-ger­ry­man­dered House dis­tricts — far more ger­ry­man­dered than 1994 — the actu­al elec­toral appeal of the “Com­mit­ment to Amer­i­ca” is less of an issue. Which is prob­a­bly for the best for the GOP, but it’s not real­ly clear how much pop­u­lar appeal this “Com­mit­ment to Amer­i­ca” will ulti­mate­ly have: fear-mon­ger­ing about Chi­na, “Crit­i­cal Race The­o­ry”, and inves­ti­ga­tions into Jan 6. It does­n’t real­ly have the “Con­tract with Amer­i­ca” feel of ’94, which did actu­al include a robust pol­i­cy agen­da, albeit a decep­tive and destruc­tive agen­da.

    Sure, Gin­grich is push­ing for a Bal­anced Bud­get Amend­ment plat­form, which is more aspi­ra­tional than any­thing and only draws focus on the destruc­tive fall­out of the GOP’s 2017 tax cuts. But keep in mind that the GOP was push­ing the Bal­anced Bud­get amend­ment when the GOP con­trolled the House both in 2011 and 2018, and was­n’t able to get the required 2/3 major­i­ty required for pass­ing a con­sti­tu­tion­al amend­ment res­o­lu­tion. So to a large extent Gin­grich’s talk about a Bal­anced Bud­get Amend­ment appears to be designed to draw atten­tion from the fact that this “Com­mit­ment to Amer­i­ca” has almost no pol­i­cy sub­stance. But it does serve as a reminder that we should con­tin­ue to expect the GOP to make a big push for an Arti­cle V Con­sti­tu­tion­al Con­ven­tion of the States, whether or not the GOP retakes con­trol of the House in 2022:

    ...
    Repub­li­cans are expect­ed to focus their new plat­form on edu­ca­tion poli­cies aimed at tap­ping into parental dis­con­tent; coun­ter­ing the rise of Chi­na with new eco­nom­ic mea­sures; and “over­sight” of the Biden admin­is­tra­tion. They are also look­ing at invok­ing oth­er tra­di­tion­al GOP goals such as cut­ting tax­es, restrict­ing immi­gra­tion, crit­i­ciz­ing Sil­i­con Val­ley and repeal­ing envi­ron­men­tal rules.

    It was unclear what the par­ty would have to say about one of the biggest issues in recent years: the long-stand­ing GOP effort to unrav­el or repeal the Afford­able Care Act.

    ...

    Gin­grich said he is hope­ful the GOP will incor­po­rate a “bal­anced bud­get amend­ment,” a long-sought con­ser­v­a­tive pol­i­cy goal that would require enor­mous cuts to fed­er­al spend­ing pro­grams. He argued that Repub­li­cans will pro­vide a robust agen­da that is not mere­ly about oppos­ing Biden.

    “[McCarthy] real­ly does want to dri­ve home that we can’t just have a neg­a­tive anti-Biden cam­paign — we need a pos­i­tive mes­sage, too,” Gin­grich told The Wash­ing­ton Post. “I think that’s clear­ly what McCarthy wants to do and I’ve offered to look at stuff and offer advice. There’s lots of peo­ple in the House work­ing on it. It will be a wide­spread com­mit­ment.”

    McCarthy’s office said in a state­ment that Repub­li­cans will also focus on chal­leng­ing “Big Tech” with antitrust and oth­er mea­sures, as well as chang­ing con­gres­sion­al rules, such as by repeal­ing mask man­dates, remov­ing mag­net­ic scan­ners from the floor of the House and abol­ish­ing vot­ing by proxy. Repub­li­cans will also resist Biden’s tax mea­sures, includ­ing the glob­al min­i­mum cor­po­rate tax nego­ti­at­ed by Trea­sury Sec­re­tary Janet L. Yellen and the 15 per­cent min­i­mum tax the White House has pushed on large cor­po­ra­tions. Politi­co recent­ly report­ed that he pri­vate­ly remains more sup­port­ive of Big Tech than his pub­lic com­ments sug­gest.

    ...

    “I don’t think they’ll call it the ‘Con­tract for Amer­i­ca,’ but there is going to be some kind of very robust Repub­li­can promise list for what they will do if or when they take con­trol of the House,” said Stephen Moore, who served as an out­side eco­nom­ic advis­er to Trump.
    ...

    But there’s one area — beyond tax cuts and gut­ting dereg­u­la­tions — where we can expect some very loud GOP pol­i­cy pro­pos­als: edu­ca­tion poli­cies. Specif­i­cal­ly, a “Par­ents Bill of Rights”, which already exists. No, we can’t expect an new edu­ca­tion poli­cies that might actu­al­ly improve edu­ca­tion or even address a real prob­lem. But we can expect exten­sive fear-mon­ger­ing about how Democ­rats have turned pub­lic schools into trans­gen­dered anti-white Marx­ist Satan­ic indoc­tri­na­tion cen­ters. Newt prob­a­bly already has the slo­gans all worked out:

    ...
    The idea of “par­ents’ rights” as a polit­i­cal strat­e­gy emerged from last year’s guber­na­to­r­i­al race in Vir­ginia, where Repub­li­can Glenn Youngkin won elec­tion in part by promis­ing that par­ents would have more say in their children’s edu­ca­tion.

    McCarthy has released a “Par­ents Bill of Rights” that would not make big changes in edu­ca­tion but would send some new man­dates to school dis­tricts, some of which dupli­cate actions that are already rou­tine or cov­ered by exist­ing rules and laws.

    For instance, they would require that dis­tricts post cur­ricu­lum and school bud­gets, which are typ­i­cal­ly avail­able through pub­lic records requests, as well as lists of books in school libraries, which are less like­ly to be avail­able. Par­ents are also to be informed that they have the right to meet with their child’s teacher twice a year, already a com­mon prac­tice.

    The doc­u­ment also asserts that par­ents have a “right to be heard.” School boards almost uni­form­ly allow for pub­lic com­ment, though some have shut meet­ings down because of dis­rup­tions includ­ing scream­ing and threats of vio­lence.
    ...

    It sounds like they might even call it the “Com­mit­ment to Amer­i­ca.” So it looks like 2022 is poised to be Newt’s Last Hurrah...and quite pos­si­bly the Amer­i­can democ­ra­cy’s last hur­rah. As well the first offi­cial hur­ruh for insur­rec­tions, with many more pre­sum­ably to come.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | February 7, 2022, 3:30 pm
  42. There’s an inter­est­ing new inves­tiga­tive angle to the Jan 6 Capi­tol insur­rec­tion involv­ing both the Oath Keep­ers and Proud Boys, the two lead­ing pro-MAGA para­mil­i­tary groups that had exten­sive con­tact with var­i­ous groups work­ing on behalf of the Trump White House in the lead up to the Jan­u­ary 6 Capi­tol insur­rec­tion. It turns out the lead­ers of the two groups, Stew­art Rhodes and Enrique Tar­rio, held a seem­ing­ly spon­ta­neous meet­ing with four oth­er peo­ple in a DC park­ing garage on Jan­u­ary 5.

    First, recall the exten­sive role Rhodes and the Oath Keep­ers played in the events of that day, includ­ing the sta­tion­ing of a “Quick Reac­tion Force” with a large cache of arms ready to be deliv­ered to the insur­rec­tion­ists upon Trump’s orders accord­ing to Rhodes. Also recall how GOP legal strate­gists involved with the schem­ing to over­turn the elec­tion, like John East­man, ran sim­u­la­tions for var­i­ous sce­nar­ios for keep Trump in office that the use of groups like the Proud Boys to help keep order in the streets in the event of mas­sive nation­al protests. Also recall the reports of Proud Boys active­ly stand­ing with far right groups dur­ing street protest in the weeks fol­low­ing the Novem­ber 2020 elec­tion threat­en­ing to exter­mi­nate their polit­i­cal oppo­si­tion. To now learn about a meet­ing between the lead­ers of the two key para­mil­i­tary orga­ni­za­tions involved with Jan 6 the day before the insur­rec­tion in a park­ing garage is more than a lit­tle sus­pi­cious.

    So who else was at this meet­ing? One fig­ure was Bian­ca Gra­cia, who heads a pro-Trump coali­tion called Lati­nos for Trump and an affil­i­at­ed Polit­i­cal Action Com­mit­tee named Lati­nos For Amer­i­ca First. Impor­tant­ly, it turns out Tar­rio was for­mer­ly the head of the Flori­da chap­ter of Lati­nos for Trump. The rea­son that’s an impor­tant fact in this case is that it belies the osten­si­ble rea­son we are told this meet­ing took place. Gra­cia, we are told, invit­ed the attor­ney for Lati­nos for Trump, Kel­lye SoRelle. SoRelle also hap­pens to be the attor­ney for the Oath Keep­ers. The alleged rea­son for the meet­ing was for SoRelle to offer Tar­rio legal advice in rela­tion to his arrest on Jan 4 in DC in rela­tion to a Proud Boy attack on a his­toric DC-area Black church. That’s what we’re told. Except it does­n’t actu­al­ly make sense. For starters, SoRelle her­self tells reporters that that she does­n’t under­stand why that meet­ing was arranged, in part because she already told Tar­rio that legal advice before the meet­ing. In addi­tion, we’re told that SoRelle was brought to the park­ing garage by Gar­cia, and Tar­rio and Rhodes were already there. In oth­er words, Tar­rio and Rhodes had an oppor­tu­ni­ty to have a mini-meet­ing of their own before SoRelle arrived.

    But here’s per­haps the biggest mys­tery of this meet­ing: the atten­dees includ­ed a doc­u­men­tary film­mak­er who had been fol­low­ing Tar­rio around. Footage of the meet­ing has even shown up in a British Chan­nel 4 doc­u­men­tary. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, we’re told no audio of the meet­ing was cap­tured. Adding to intrigue is the appar­ent fact that Rhodes kept this meet­ing secret from fel­low Oath Keep­er, Michael Sim­mons, who was present dur­ing part of Jan 6 with Rhodes. When Reuters told him of the meet­ing, Sim­mons said he was shocked and exclaimed, “Why would you meet Enrique in a fuc king park­ing garage?...It just blows my mind. That’s crazy!” So Rhodes was fine with a doc­u­men­tary film team record­ing the meet­ing but kept it secret from a fel­low Oath Keep­er. Again, you have to won­der just what they talked about giv­en this weird con­text. Because if there’s been one com­mon theme through­out the unfold­ing of the sto­ry of Jan 6, it’s the remark­able degree of coor­di­na­tion and com­part­men­tal­iza­tion that appears to have been uti­lized in car­ry­ing out this oper­a­tion. Dif­fer­ent teams seem­ing­ly oper­at­ing inde­pen­dent­ly yet also seem­ing­ly sur­rep­ti­tious coor­di­nat­ing.
    It’s also worth recall­ing the sto­ry of the ‘burn­er phones’ uti­lized by the key fig­ures involved with orga­niz­ing the Jan 6 Ellipse ral­ly that imme­di­ate­ly pre­ced­ed the insur­rec­tion. It’s a reminder that the var­i­ous par­ties involved with this effort were in com­mu­ni­ca­tion, but also intent on keep­ing that com­mu­ni­ca­tion secret. So in this case we had a meet­ing that was in-per­son with no audio cap­ture, mak­ing that com­mu­ni­ca­tion lost for­ev­er. And yet a doc­u­men­tary film crew was there. It’s like they were cre­at­ing footage that would have been cel­e­brat­ed as evi­dence of their rev­o­lu­tion­ary efforts had the insur­rec­tion worked. But it did­n’t work, so now we’re being giv­en an expla­na­tion for the meet­ing that even some of the meet­ing par­tic­i­pants say don’t make sense:

    Reuters

    Exclu­sive: FBI probes pre-Capi­tol riot meet­ing of far-right groups

    By Aram Ros­ton
    Feb­ru­ary 8, 2022 9:46 AM CST Last Updat­ed

    WASHINGTON, Feb 8 (Reuters) — The Fed­er­al Bureau of Inves­ti­ga­tion is prob­ing a meet­ing in a down­town DC garage the day before the Jan­u­ary 6 Capi­tol Hill riot between the then-leader of the Proud Boys extrem­ist group, the now-indict­ed leader of the Oath Keep­ers mili­tia and oth­er far-right fig­ures, accord­ing to two wit­ness­es inter­viewed by FBI agents.

    Among the half dozen peo­ple gath­ered at a garage near the Phoenix Park Hotel was Oath Keep­ers head Stew­art Rhodes, who was indict­ed this year on charges of “sedi­tious con­spir­a­cy” in the insur­rec­tion. Proud Boys Chair­man Enrique Tar­rio, who was not present at the riot, was also at the garage meet­ing but left Wash­ing­ton after­ward.

    The meet­ing put the heads of the nation’s two best-known vio­lent far-right pro-Trump groups in imme­di­ate prox­im­i­ty to each oth­er 24 hours before the breach of the Capi­tol. Three atten­dees or their rep­re­sen­ta­tives con­tact­ed by Reuters say they did not dis­cuss mat­ters relat­ed to Jan­u­ary 6.

    Bian­ca Gra­cia, who heads a pro-Trump coali­tion called Lati­nos for Trump and an affil­i­at­ed Polit­i­cal Action Com­mit­tee named Lati­nos For Amer­i­ca First, was at the garage meet­ing as well, accord­ing to wit­ness­es and video tak­en by a doc­u­men­tary film crew. Also present was Kel­lye SoRelle, a lawyer for the Oath Keep­ers and Lati­nos for Trump. SoRelle told Reuters she was invit­ed by Gra­cia to meet Tar­rio and share infor­ma­tion about crim­i­nal defense attor­neys. She said her role in the meet­ing was brief, and did not con­cern plans for the next day.

    A U.S. House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives com­mit­tee is inves­ti­gat­ing the Jan­u­ary 6 riot, in which sup­port­ers of then-Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump sought to block Con­gress’ cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of Joe Biden’s elec­tion as pres­i­dent. The com­mit­tee has sub­poe­naed the phone records of a pho­tog­ra­ph­er who accom­pa­nied Tar­rio to parts of the garage meet­ing.

    Tar­rio told Reuters last June that his meet­ing at the garage with Rhodes was unplanned and not sig­nif­i­cant. “By coin­ci­dence,” Tar­rio said, “he was inside … that park­ing garage.” He said he shook hands with Rhodes sole­ly to be polite. “He’s here, I’m not going to not shake somebody’s hand.” He has denied any Proud Boys plan­ning ahead of Jan­u­ary 6.

    Reached again in Jan­u­ary, Tar­rio said he would not answer fur­ther ques­tions. “I usu­al­ly speak to all reporters,” he texted back after one ques­tion, “but when they become con­spir­a­cy the­o­rists … that’s usu­al­ly when I sev­er ties.” Tar­rio has said he stepped down as Proud Boys chair­man ear­li­er this year.

    An attor­ney for Rhodes, who is being held pend­ing tri­al, emailed Reuters that “there was no coor­di­na­tion” between Rhodes and Tar­rio.

    The FBI’s inves­ti­ga­tion of the meet­ing has not pre­vi­ous­ly been report­ed, nor have the cir­cum­stances of the gath­er­ing. A short clip of the gath­er­ing appeared in a British Chan­nel 4 doc­u­men­tary last year about the Proud Boys, spurring some chat­ter on Twit­ter.

    Michael Sim­mons, who was present dur­ing part of Jan­u­ary 6 with Rhodes, said Rhodes had not men­tioned meet­ing Tar­rio. When Reuters told him of the meet­ing, Sim­mons said he was shocked because, he said, Rhodes had been crit­i­cal of Tar­rio and the Proud Boys. “Why would you meet Enrique in a fuc king park­ing garage?” said Sim­mons, who has not been charged. “It just blows my mind. That’s crazy!”

    Fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tors have charged mul­ti­ple lead­ers of the Proud Boys and Oath Keep­ers with play­ing lead­ing roles in the may­hem of Jan­u­ary 6. Tar­rio has not been indict­ed in the case.

    The Proud Boys is an all-male group that encour­ages street brawl­ing against left­ist pro­test­ers and calls itself “West­ern chau­vin­ist.” Oath Keep­ers wear mil­i­tary-style uni­forms, train in mil­i­tary tac­tics and often car­ry firearms in oper­a­tions.

    Last March, pros­e­cu­tors cit­ed the social media mes­sages of one Oath Keep­er leader indict­ed in the Jan­u­ary 6 case. “This week I orga­nized an alliance between Oath Keep­ers, Flori­da 3%ers, and Proud Boys,” he alleged­ly wrote in a Face­book mes­sage before the riot, cit­ing a dif­fer­ent gath­er­ing, pros­e­cu­tors said in a court fil­ing. The Three Per­centers is a loose­ly orga­nized far right mili­tia, some of whose mem­bers have been charged in the Capi­tol attack.

    So far, how­ev­er, the Jus­tice Depart­ment has not dis­closed clear evi­dence that the far-right groups plot­ted to come togeth­er on Jan­u­ary 6.

    An FBI spokesper­son declined to com­ment.

    ‘OUT OF SIGHT’

    On the after­noon of Jan­u­ary 5, 2021, Wash­ing­ton teemed with Trump sup­port­ers prepar­ing for Jan­u­ary 6, when Con­gress was sched­uled to rat­i­fy Biden’s pres­i­den­tial vic­to­ry at the Capi­tol. Tar­rio had just been released after a night in a Wash­ing­ton jail, where he was held on charges of burn­ing a Black Lives Mat­ter flag in Decem­ber 2020. A judge ordered him to leave town until his court appear­ances. Tar­rio lat­er served near­ly six months for burn­ing the ban­ner and car­ry­ing ille­gal rifle mag­a­zines into the city that Decem­ber.

    After he was released on Jan­u­ary 5, the doc­u­men­tary film crew work­ing on the Proud Boys report drove Tar­rio to the Phoenix Park Hotel, not far from the Capi­tol build­ing, said a source famil­iar with the mat­ter.

    Oath Keep­ers leader Rhodes had left Texas on Jan­u­ary 3, spend­ing over $10,000 on firearms equip­ment on his jour­ney to the DC area, pros­e­cu­tors say in an indict­ment unsealed Jan­u­ary 4. The indict­ment said he con­spired “to oppose by force the law­ful trans­fer of pres­i­den­tial pow­er.” He stayed at a hotel in Vien­na, Vir­ginia.

    Just as Tar­rio arrived from jail Jan­u­ary 5, Rhodes was out­side the Phoenix Park Hotel in DC, said a source at the scene.

    Gra­cia, the pres­i­dent of Lati­nos for Trump, was inside the hotel. SoRelle, the lawyer for Lati­nos for Trump, says Gra­cia invit­ed her to meet Tar­rio. While Tar­rio is best known as the Proud Boys chair­man, he was also pre­vi­ous­ly involved in Lati­nos for Trump and had been its Flori­da state direc­tor.

    Sorelle said her rec­ol­lec­tion was that Tar­rio and a cou­ple of oth­ers were in the garage when she walked in with Rhodes and Gra­cia. She said Rhodes shook Tarrio’s hand and the two exchanged pleas­antries. Then she briefly dis­cussed Tarrio’s need for a lawyer in the DC crim­i­nal case, for which he’d been arrest­ed the pre­vi­ous day. She said about six peo­ple were there. Lati­nos for Trump has not been accused in the Jan­u­ary 6 vio­lence.

    Con­tact­ed this Jan­u­ary, Gra­cia declined to dis­cuss the garage meet­ing. Pre­vi­ous­ly, she told Reuters her group had a morn­ing ral­ly on Jan­u­ary 6 near the U.S. Sen­ate, and that she left by 12:15 PM, went to her hotel and slept through the insur­rec­tion. “We’re a very spir­i­tu­al group and we’re ground­ed in God and we stayed where we were sup­posed to stay and we prayed,” she said. SoRelle says she too went to the morn­ing Jan­u­ary 6 ral­ly by Lati­nos for Trump, where she spoke, as did Rhodes, SoRelle and Sim­mons said.

    The pho­tog­ra­ph­er, Amy Har­ris, was also with Tar­rio at the garage meet­ing Jan­u­ary 5, two sources said. Har­ris, who orig­i­nal­ly spe­cial­ized in pho­tog­ra­phy of music con­certs and fes­ti­vals, had shift­ed to protests in 2020, and had begun focus­ing on Tar­rio and the Proud Boys. The House com­mit­tee has sub­poe­naed Harris’s phone records; she is suing the Jan­u­ary 6 com­mit­tee to block the sub­poe­na. “Harris’s work doc­u­ment­ing Tar­rio through­out the remain­der of 2020 earned her Tarrio’s trust as a jour­nal­ist and, accord­ing­ly, the trust of the mem­bers of his group,” her suit said.

    ...

    SoRelle said the garage meet­ing left her puz­zled and she says she is unclear why it was held. She said the meet­ing was not nec­es­sary, as she had already shared infor­ma­tion about pos­si­ble lawyers with Tar­rio and oth­ers. “There was no rea­son for him to show up and there was no rea­son for me to be there,” she said.

    The doc­u­men­tary film crew was from a com­pa­ny called “Sabo­teur Media.” It gath­ered a snip­pet show­ing Tar­rio, Rhodes and Gra­cia stand­ing in the garage but does not have audio, accord­ing to a source famil­iar with it. Reuters has seen a pho­to of the par­tic­i­pants stand­ing togeth­er at the garage.

    ...

    ————-

    “Exclu­sive: FBI probes pre-Capi­tol riot meet­ing of far-right groups” by Aram Ros­ton; Reuters; 02/09/2022

    “The meet­ing put the heads of the nation’s two best-known vio­lent far-right pro-Trump groups in imme­di­ate prox­im­i­ty to each oth­er 24 hours before the breach of the Capi­tol. Three atten­dees or their rep­re­sen­ta­tives con­tact­ed by Reuters say they did not dis­cuss mat­ters relat­ed to Jan­u­ary 6.”

    What a coin­ci­dence. The heads of the two best-known MAGA para­mil­i­tary orga­ni­za­tions just hap­pened to have a seem­ing­ly spon­ta­neous meet up at a ran­dom park­ing garage on Jan 5. But it was all very inno­cent and com­plete­ly unre­lat­ed to any plan­ning at all in rela­tion to Jan 6. At least that’s their sto­ry. A coin­ci­den­tal meet­ing involv­ing Proud Boy leader Enrique Tar­rio and Oath Keep­ers leader Stew­art Rhodes. Along with Bian­ca Gra­cia, the head of Lati­nos for Trump, and Kel­lye SoRelle, a fig­ure who hap­pens to be the lawyer for both Lati­nos for Trump and the Oath Keep­ers. And it turns out that Tar­rio was pre­vi­ous­ly the Flori­da state direc­tor for Lati­nos for Trump. So while the Proud Boys and Oath Keep­ers aren’t the same group, their lead­er­ship does sort of share a lawyer. Tar­rio insists the whole thing was “by coin­ci­dence” while SoRelle claims it was Gra­cia who invit­ed her to the gath­er­ing, where they mere­ly had a brief dis­cus­sion about Tar­rio’s need for a lawyer in a DC crim­i­nal case for which he had been arrest­ed the pre­vi­ous day. The sto­ries aren’t real­ly adding up:

    ...
    Bian­ca Gra­cia, who heads a pro-Trump coali­tion called Lati­nos for Trump and an affil­i­at­ed Polit­i­cal Action Com­mit­tee named Lati­nos For Amer­i­ca First, was at the garage meet­ing as well, accord­ing to wit­ness­es and video tak­en by a doc­u­men­tary film crew. Also present was Kel­lye SoRelle, a lawyer for the Oath Keep­ers and Lati­nos for Trump. SoRelle told Reuters she was invit­ed by Gra­cia to meet Tar­rio and share infor­ma­tion about crim­i­nal defense attor­neys. She said her role in the meet­ing was brief, and did not con­cern plans for the next day.

    ...

    Tar­rio told Reuters last June that his meet­ing at the garage with Rhodes was unplanned and not sig­nif­i­cant. “By coin­ci­dence,” Tar­rio said, “he was inside … that park­ing garage.” He said he shook hands with Rhodes sole­ly to be polite. “He’s here, I’m not going to not shake somebody’s hand.” He has denied any Proud Boys plan­ning ahead of Jan­u­ary 6.
    ...

    Gra­cia, the pres­i­dent of Lati­nos for Trump, was inside the hotel. SoRelle, the lawyer for Lati­nos for Trump, says Gra­cia invit­ed her to meet Tar­rio. While Tar­rio is best known as the Proud Boys chair­man, he was also pre­vi­ous­ly involved in Lati­nos for Trump and had been its Flori­da state direc­tor.

    Sorelle said her rec­ol­lec­tion was that Tar­rio and a cou­ple of oth­ers were in the garage when she walked in with Rhodes and Gra­cia. She said Rhodes shook Tarrio’s hand and the two exchanged pleas­antries. Then she briefly dis­cussed Tarrio’s need for a lawyer in the DC crim­i­nal case, for which he’d been arrest­ed the pre­vi­ous day. She said about six peo­ple were there. Lati­nos for Trump has not been accused in the Jan­u­ary 6 vio­lence.
    ...

    And then there’s the fact that the Oath Keep­ers and Proud Boy report­ed­ly aren’t on the best terms with each oth­er, but they end­ed up cre­at­ing some sort of alliance in the lead up to Jan 6, mak­ing this meet­ing all the more curi­ous. But by far the biggest red flag is the fact that SoRelle her­self says it’s unclear to her why this meet­ing was nec­es­sary as she had already shared infor­ma­tion about pos­si­ble lawyers with Tar­rio and oth­ers. Again, this sto­ry isn’t adding up. Even SoRelle her­self isn’t buy­ing it:

    ...
    Michael Sim­mons, who was present dur­ing part of Jan­u­ary 6 with Rhodes, said Rhodes had not men­tioned meet­ing Tar­rio. When Reuters told him of the meet­ing, Sim­mons said he was shocked because, he said, Rhodes had been crit­i­cal of Tar­rio and the Proud Boys. “Why would you meet Enrique in a fuc king park­ing garage?” said Sim­mons, who has not been charged. “It just blows my mind. That’s crazy!”

    ...

    Last March, pros­e­cu­tors cit­ed the social media mes­sages of one Oath Keep­er leader indict­ed in the Jan­u­ary 6 case. “This week I orga­nized an alliance between Oath Keep­ers, Flori­da 3%ers, and Proud Boys,” he alleged­ly wrote in a Face­book mes­sage before the riot, cit­ing a dif­fer­ent gath­er­ing, pros­e­cu­tors said in a court fil­ing. The Three Per­centers is a loose­ly orga­nized far right mili­tia, some of whose mem­bers have been charged in the Capi­tol attack.

    ...

    SoRelle said the garage meet­ing left her puz­zled and she says she is unclear why it was held. She said the meet­ing was not nec­es­sary, as she had already shared infor­ma­tion about pos­si­ble lawyers with Tar­rio and oth­ers. “There was no rea­son for him to show up and there was no rea­son for me to be there,” she said.
    ...

    Final­ly, there’s the curi­ous fact that the doc­u­men­tary film crew that was fol­low­ing Tar­rio was there too. They did­n’t actu­al­ly cap­ture any audio of what was dis­cussed. But they were there to cap­ture the fact that it hap­pened. Why is that?

    ...
    The doc­u­men­tary film crew was from a com­pa­ny called “Sabo­teur Media.” It gath­ered a snip­pet show­ing Tar­rio, Rhodes and Gra­cia stand­ing in the garage but does not have audio, accord­ing to a source famil­iar with it. Reuters has seen a pho­to of the par­tic­i­pants stand­ing togeth­er at the garage.
    ...

    Keep in mind that these groups were pre­sum­ably joint­ly plan­ning on what would amount to a rev­o­lu­tion­ary event. So in that sense it may not be all that sur­pris­ing a doc­u­men­tary film crew was allowed to cap­ture the event. They were plan­ning on mak­ing his­to­ry. Glo­ri­ous rev­o­lu­tion­ary his­to­ry that end­ed up an inglo­ri­ous riot no one wants to now own. Well, almost no one.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | February 10, 2022, 4:00 pm
  43. As more and more details of the Jan­u­ary 6 Capi­tol insur­rec­tion plot have come out, one of the grim­ly fas­ci­nat­ing ques­tions that’s emerged is the ques­tion of whether or not then-Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump