Trump lashes out at Gov. Doug Ducey following certification

Re: Trump lashes out at Gov. Doug Ducey following certificat

Postby admin » Fri Dec 17, 2021 9:31 pm

Jim Jordan's Text to Mark Meadows & the Crime of Obstructing a Congressional Proceeding
by Glenn Kirschner
Dec 16, 2021

The House select committee released multiple text messages sent to Donald Trump's former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on January 6. These texts form Donald Trump's allies and supporters - Fox News hosts, Republicans in Congress and Trump's own son - make clear it was widely (and accurately) believed that Trump was in control of the actions of the mob that he set on the Capitol that day to stop the certification of the election results. The text messages also prove that, despited all the begging and pleading that Trump call off his mob, he refused to do so for more than three hours.

The committee also released a text from Rep. Jim Jordan to Meadows sent on January 5, on the eve of the Capitol attack. Importantly, before January 5, Trump's Attorney General Bill Barr had announced that there was no election fraud undermining Joe Biden's win. Moreover, before January 5, Trump's own agencies announced that the 2020 presidential election was the most secure election in US history. Nevertheless, Jordan sent Meadows a text urging him to have Vice President Mike Pence throw out votes he deemed unconstitutional. This conduct qualifies as an attempt to obstruct or impede an official congressional proceeding, in violation of 18 United State Code section 1512. Time for accountability.


GOP Rep. Jim Jordan confirms January 6 panel released text message he sent to Meadows
Jordan's office said the text from the Ohio Republican was a forwarded message and that the Jan. 6 committee misrepresented its content by shortening it.

by Dartunorro Clark, Ali Vitali and Haley Talbot
NBC News
Dec. 15, 2021, 4:13 PM MST

WASHINGTON — Rep. Jim Jordan's office confirmed Wednesday that the Ohio Republican was one of the lawmakers whose text messages to then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows were released this week by the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

The acknowledgement comes two days after the Jan. 6 committee made public numerous documents, including text messages, provided to the panel by Meadows. The House committee revealed several text messages sent to Meadows by GOP lawmakers but did not name any of them.

Jordan's office said Wednesday that the message cited by the panel on Monday was a forwarded text, and that it was truncated by the committee.

“Mr. Jordan forwarded the text to Mr. Meadows and Mr. Meadows certainly knew it was a forward,” Jordan’s spokesman told NBC News on Wednesday.

Some smartphones do not specify that a text message has been forwarded.

The text message from Jordan to Meadows released by committee on Monday read: "On January 6, 2021, Vice President Mike Pence, as President of the Senate, should call out all electoral votes that he believes are unconstitutional as no electoral votes at all.”

Jordan's office said the shortened version misrepresented the content of the text with an "inadvertently" placed period.

The Jan. 6 committee acknowledged trimming the text before making it public.

“The Select Committee is responsible for and regrets the error,” a spokesman told NBC News on Wednesday.

The full text read: “On January 6, 2021, Vice President Mike Pence, as President of the Senate, should call out all electoral votes that he believes are unconstitutional as no electoral votes at all — in accordance with guidance from founding father Alexander Hamilton and judicial precedence. 'No legislative act,' wrote Alexander Hamilton in Federalist No. 78, 'contrary to the Constitution, can be valid.' The court in Hubbard v. Lowe reinforced this truth: 'That an unconstitutional statute is not a law at all is a proposition no longer open to discussion.' 226 F. 135, 137 (SDNY 1915), appeal dismissed, 242 U.S. 654 (1916). Following this rationale, an unconstitutionally appointed elector, like an unconstitutionally enacted statute, is no elector at all.’”

And Jim Jordan made this statement urging Mike Pence to just throw out votes that let's be clear were going to be cast for Joe Biden, he made this statement after Donald Trump's own attorney general Bill Barr said there was no fraud undermining Joe Biden's win. Jim Jordan made this statement urging Mike Pence to throw out electoral college votes after "Trump's own officials say 2020 was America's most secure election in history." (Vox) Jim Jordan made this statement urging Mike Pence to throw out votes after "The Department of Homeland Security calls election 'the most secure in American history.' (Axios) Jim Jordan made this statement after Donald Trump's own officials and administration vouched for the validity and legitimacy of the election results. But Jim Jordan just said, "I don't care. Throw them out," apparently based on false claims, baseless claims, debunked claims of voter fraud.

So let's be clear. This is Jim Jordan in a text message to Mark Meadows saying -- apologies -- "F the voters! They don't matter. They don't count. Just throw out Joe Biden's win and install Trump for a second term."

-- Jim Jordan's Text to Mark Meadows & the Crime of Obstructing a Congressional Proceeding, by Glenn Kirschner

Politico reported on Jordan's text message earlier Wednesday.

Joseph Schmitz, a conservative lawyer and one-time national security adviser on former President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign, sent the legal theory to Jordan who then passed it on to Meadows, a source familiar with the matter told NBC News.

The text reveals another instance of how those in Trump's orbit were pressing the White House to challenge the counting of electoral votes on Jan. 6.

Jordan is a close ally of Meadows from their time in Congress and as members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus.

Jordan has been a staunch Trump ally and was one of the Republican lawmakers tapped by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., to serve on the Jan. 6 committee. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., rejected Jordan and another Republican offered by McCarthy, who later pulled his picks. Pelosi later added two GOP lawmakers — Reps. Liz Cheney, of Wyoming, and Adam Kinzinger, of Illinois — to the nine-member committee.

The Jan. 6 committee this week also released texts from three Fox News hosts and Donald Trump Jr. showing they had urged Meadows to get Trump to call off the rioters during the attack on the Capitol.

The House voted Tuesday night to refer Meadows to the Justice Department for a potential criminal charge over his refusal to answer questions about the Jan. 6 attack. Lawmakers passed the measure largely along party lines in a 222-208 vote. Cheney and Kinzinger were the only Republicans to cross the aisle and vote with Democrats.
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Re: Trump lashes out at Gov. Doug Ducey following certificat

Postby admin » Sun Dec 19, 2021 3:21 am

Meadows and the Band of Loyalists: How They Fought to Keep Trump in Power: A small circle of Republican lawmakers, working closely with President Donald J. Trump’s chief of staff, took on an outsize role in pressuring the Justice Department, amplifying conspiracy theories and flooding the courts in an attempt to overturn the 2020 election.
by Katie Benner, Catie Edmondson, Luke Broadwater and Alan Feuer
New York Times
Dec. 15, 2021



President Donald J. Trump seemed to believe that a small group of Republican lawmakers would help him stay in office. Credit...Doug Mills/The New York Times

WASHINGTON — Two days after Christmas last year, Richard P. Donoghue, a top Justice Department official in the waning days of the Trump administration, saw an unknown number appear on his phone.

Mr. Donoghue had spent weeks fielding calls, emails and in-person requests from President Donald J. Trump and his allies, all of whom asked the Justice Department to declare, falsely, that the election was corrupt.
The lame-duck president had surrounded himself with a crew of unscrupulous lawyers, conspiracy theorists, even the chief executive of MyPillow — and they were stoking his election lies.

Mr. Trump had been handing out Mr. Donoghue’s cellphone number so that people could pass on rumors of election fraud. Who could be calling him now?

It turned out to be a member of Congress: Representative Scott Perry, Republican of Pennsylvania, who began pressing the president’s case. Mr. Perry said he had compiled a dossier of voter fraud allegations that the department needed to vet. Jeffrey Clark, a Justice Department lawyer who had found favor with Mr. Trump, could “do something” about the president’s claims, Mr. Perry said, even if others in the department would not.

The message was delivered by an obscure lawmaker who was doing Mr. Trump’s bidding. Justice Department officials viewed it as outrageous political pressure from a White House that had become consumed by conspiracy theories.

It was also one example of how a half-dozen right-wing members of Congress became key foot soldiers in Mr. Trump’s effort to overturn the election, according to dozens of interviews and a review of hundreds of pages of congressional testimony about the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6.

Representatives Jim Jordan of Ohio, left, and Scott Perry of Pennsylvania at a rally in Harrisburg, Pa., two days after the 2020 election. Credit...Gabriela Bhaskar for The New York Times

The lawmakers — all of them members of the ultraconservative House Freedom Caucus — worked closely with the White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, whose central role in Mr. Trump’s efforts to overturn a democratic election is coming into focus as the congressional investigation into Jan. 6 gains traction.

The men were not alone in their efforts — most Republican lawmakers fell in line behind Mr. Trump’s false claims of fraud, at least rhetorically — but this circle moved well beyond words and into action. They bombarded the Justice Department with dubious claims of voting irregularities. They pressured members of state legislatures to conduct audits that would cast doubt on the election results. They plotted to disrupt the certification on Jan. 6 of Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory.

There was Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio, the pugnacious former wrestler who bolstered his national profile by defending Mr. Trump on cable television; Representative Andy Biggs of Arizona, whose political ascent was padded by a $10 million sweepstakes win; and Representative Paul Gosar, an Arizona dentist who trafficked in conspiracy theories, spoke at a white nationalist rally and posted an animated video that depicted him killing Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democrat of New York.

Representatives Paul Gosar of Arizona, left, and Louie Gohmert of Texas spoke at a news conference this month expressing concerns about the treatment of those who had stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6. Credit...T.J. Kirkpatrick for The New York Times

They were joined by Representative Louie Gohmert of Texas, who was known for fiery speeches delivered to an empty House chamber and unsuccessfully sued Vice President Mike Pence over his refusal to interfere in the election certification; and Representative Mo Brooks of Alabama, a lawyer who rode the Tea Party wave to Congress and was later sued by a Democratic congressman for inciting the Jan. 6 riot.

Mr. Perry, a former Army helicopter pilot who is close to Mr. Jordan and Mr. Meadows, acted as a de facto sergeant. He coordinated many of the efforts to keep Mr. Trump in office, including a plan to replace the acting attorney general with a more compliant official. His colleagues call him General Perry.

Mr. Meadows, a former congressman from North Carolina who co-founded the Freedom Caucus in 2015, knew the six lawmakers well. His role as Mr. Trump’s right-hand man helped to remarkably empower the group in the president’s final, chaotic weeks in office.

In his book, “The Chief’s Chief,” Mr. Meadows insisted that he and Mr. Trump were simply trying to unfurl serious claims of election fraud. “All he wanted was time to get to the bottom of what really happened and get a fair count,” Mr. Meadows wrote.

Congressional Republicans have fought the Jan. 6 committee’s investigation at every turn, but it is increasingly clear that Mr. Trump relied on the lawmakers to help his attempts to retain power. When Justice Department officials said they could not find evidence of widespread fraud, Mr. Trump was unconcerned: “Just say that the election was corrupt + leave the rest to me and the R. Congressmen,” he said, according to Mr. Donoghue’s notes of the call.

Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, promoted several conspiracy theories as he fought the electoral process. Credit...Erin Schaff/The New York Times


On Nov. 9, two days after The Associated Press called the race for Mr. Biden, crisis meetings were underway at Trump campaign headquarters in Arlington, Va.

Mr. Perry and Mr. Jordan huddled with senior White House officials, including Mr. Meadows; Stephen Miller, a top Trump adviser; Bill Stepien, the campaign manager; and Kayleigh McEnany, the White House press secretary.

According to two people familiar with the meetings, which have not been previously reported, the group settled on a strategy that would become a blueprint for Mr. Trump’s supporters in Congress: Hammer home the idea that the election was tainted, announce legal actions being taken by the campaign, and bolster the case with allegations of fraud.

At a news conference later that day, Ms. McEnany delivered the message.

“This election is not over,” she said. “Far from it.”

Mr. Jordan’s spokesman said that the meeting was to discuss media strategy, not to overturn the election.

On cable television and radio shows and at rallies, the lawmakers used unproved fraud claims to promote the idea that the election had been stolen. Mr. Brooks said he would never vote to certify Mr. Trump’s loss. Mr. Jordan told Fox News that ballots were counted in Pennsylvania after the election, contrary to state law. Mr. Gohmert claimed in Philadelphia that there was “rampant” voter fraud and later said on YouTube that the U.S. military had seized computer servers in Germany used to flip American votes.

Mr. Gosar pressed Doug Ducey, the Republican governor of Arizona, to investigate voting equipment made by Dominion Voting Systems, a company at the heart of several false conspiracy theories that Mr. Trump and his allies spread.

Mr. Trump’s supporters protested at the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office in Phoenix as ballots were being counted in November 2020. Credit...Adriana Zehbrauskas for The New York Times

Mr. Gosar embraced the fraud claims so closely that his chief of staff, Tom Van Flein, rushed to an airplane hangar parking lot in Phoenix after a conspiracy theory began circulating that a suspicious jet carrying ballots from South Korea was about to land, perhaps in a bid to steal the election from Mr. Trump, according to court documents filed by one of the participants. The claim turned out to be baseless.

Mr. Van Flein did not respond to detailed questions about the episode.

Even as the fraud claims grew increasingly outlandish, Attorney General William P. Barr authorized federal prosecutors to look into “substantial allegations” of voting irregularities. Critics inside and outside the Justice Department slammed the move, saying it went against years of the department’s norms and chipped away at its credibility. But Mr. Barr privately told advisers that ignoring the allegations — no matter how implausible — would undermine faith in the election, according to Mr. Donoghue’s testimony.

And in any event, administration officials and lawmakers believed the claims would have little effect on the peaceful transfer of power to Mr. Biden from Mr. Trump, according to multiple former officials.

Mainstream Republicans like Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, said on Nov. 9 that Mr. Trump had a right to investigate allegations of irregularities, “A few legal inquiries from the president do not exactly spell the end of the Republic,” Mr. McConnell said.

Mr. Gohmert unsuccessfully sued Vice President Mike Pence, center, in an attempt to force him to nullify the election results. Credit...Stefani Reynolds for The New York Times


On Dec. 1, 2020, Mr. Barr said publicly what he knew to be true: The Justice Department had found no evidence of widespread election fraud. Mr. Biden was the lawful winner.

The attorney general’s declaration seemed only to energize the six lawmakers. Mr. Gohmert suggested that the F.B.I. in Washington could not be trusted to investigate election fraud. Mr. Biggs said that Mr. Trump’s allies needed “the imprimatur, quite frankly of the D.O.J.,” to win their lawsuits claiming fraud.

They turned their attention to Jan. 6, when Mr. Pence was to officially certify Mr. Biden’s victory. Mr. Jordan, asked if the president should concede, replied, “No way.”

The lawmakers started drumming up support to derail the transfer of power.

Mr. Gohmert sued Mr. Pence in an attempt to force him to nullify the results of the election. Mr. Perry circulated a letter written by Pennsylvania state legislators to Mr. McConnell and Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the House Republican leader, asking Congress to delay certification. “I’m obliged to concur,” Mr. Perry wrote.

Mr. Meadows remained the key leader. When disputes broke out among organizers of the pro-Trump “Stop the Steal” rallies, he stepped in to mediate, according to two organizers, Dustin Stockton and Jennifer Lynn Lawrence.

In one case, Mr. Meadows helped settle a feud about whether to have one or two rallies on Jan. 6. The organizers decided that Mr. Trump would make what amounted to an opening statement about election fraud during his speech at the Ellipse, then the lawmakers would rise in succession during the congressional proceeding and present evidence they had gathered of purported fraud.

(That plan was ultimately derailed by the attack on Congress, Mr. Stockton said.)

Mr. Trump at the rally outside the White House on Jan. 6. “We fight like hell, and if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore,” he told his supporters. Credit...Pete Marovich for The New York Times

On Dec. 21, Mr. Trump met with members of the Freedom Caucus to discuss their plans. Mr. Jordan, Mr. Gosar, Mr. Biggs, Mr. Brooks and Mr. Meadows were there.

“This sedition will be stopped,” Mr. Gosar wrote on Twitter.

Asked about such meetings, Mr. Gosar’s chief of staff said the congressman and his colleagues “have and had every right to attend rallies and speeches.”

“None of the members could have anticipated what occurred (on Jan. 6),” Mr. Van Flein added.

Mr. Perry was finding ways to exert pressure on the Justice Department. He introduced Mr. Trump to Mr. Clark, the acting head of the department’s civil division who became one of the Stop the Steal movement’s most ardent supporters.

Then, after Christmas, Mr. Perry called Mr. Donoghue to share his voter fraud dossier, which focused on unfounded election fraud claims in Pennsylvania.

“I had never heard of him before that day,” Mr. Donoghue would later testify to Senate investigators. He assumed that Mr. Trump had given Mr. Perry his personal cellphone number, as the president had done with others who were eager to pressure Justice Department officials to support the false idea of a rigged election.

Key Figures in the Jan. 6 Inquiry

The House investigation. A select committee is scrutinizing the causes of the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, which occurred as Congress met to formalize Joe Biden’s election victory amid various efforts to overturn the results. Here are some people being examined by the panel:

Donald Trump. The former president’s movement and communications on Jan. 6 appear to be a focus of the inquiry. But Mr. Trump has attempted to shield his records, invoking executive privilege. The dispute is making its way through the courts.

Mark Meadows. Mr. Trump’s chief of staff, who initially provided the panel with a trove of documents that showed the extent of his role in the efforts to overturn the election, is now refusing to cooperate. The House voted to recommend holding Mr. Meadows in criminal contempt of Congress.

Republican congressmen. Scott Perry, Jim Jordan, Andy Biggs, Paul Gosar, Louie Gohmert and Mo Brooks, working closely with Mr. Meadows, became key in the effort to overturn the election. The panel has signaled that it will investigate the role of members of Congress.

Phil Waldron. The retired Army colonel has been under scrutiny since a 38-page PowerPoint document he circulated on Capitol Hill was turned over to the panel by Mr. Meadows. The document contained extreme plans to overturn the election.

Fox News anchors. ​​Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity and Brian Kilmeade texted Mr. Meadows during the Jan. 6 riot urging him to persuade Mr. Trump to make an effort to stop it. The texts were part of the material that Mr. Meadows had turned over to the panel.

Steve Bannon. The former Trump aide has been charged with contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with a subpoena, claiming protection under executive privilege even though he was an outside adviser. His trial is scheduled for next summer.

Jeffrey Clark. The little-known official repeatedly pushed his colleagues at the Justice Department to help Mr. Trump undo his loss. The panel has recommended that Mr. Clark be held in criminal contempt of Congress for refusing to cooperate.

John Eastman. The lawyer has been the subject of intense scrutiny since writing a memo that laid out how Mr. Trump could stay in power. Mr. Eastman was present at a meeting of Trump allies at the Willard Hotel that has become a prime focus of the panel.

Mr. Donoghue passed the dossier on to Scott Brady, the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, with a note saying “for whatever it may be worth.”

Mr. Brady determined the allegations “were not well founded,” like so much of the flimsy evidence that the Trump campaign had dug up.

A mob breached the Capitol on Jan. 6. Credit...Jason Andrew for The New York Times


On Jan. 5, Mr. Jordan was still pushing.

That day, he forwarded Mr. Meadows a text message he had received from a lawyer and former Pentagon inspector general outlining a legal strategy to overturn the election.

“On January 6, 2021, Vice President Mike Pence, as President of the Senate, should call out all the electoral votes that he believes are unconstitutional as no electoral votes at all — in accordance with guidance from founding father Alexander Hamilton and judicial precedence,” the text read.

On Jan. 6, Washington was overcast and breezy as thousands of people gathered at the Ellipse to hear Mr. Trump and his allies spread a lie that has become a rallying cry in the months since: that the election was stolen from them in plain view.

Mr. Brooks, wearing body armor, took the stage in the morning, saying he was speaking at the behest of the White House. The crowd began to swell.

“Today is the day American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass,” Mr. Brooks said. “Are you willing to do what it takes to fight for America?”

Just before noon, Mr. Pence released a letter that said he would not block certification. The power to choose the president, he said, belonged “to the American people, and to them alone.”

Mr. Trump approached the dais soon after and said the vice president did not have “the courage to do what should have been done to protect our country and our Constitution.”

“We will never give up,” Mr. Trump said. “We will never concede.”

Roaring their approval, many in the crowd began the walk down Pennsylvania Avenue toward the Capitol, where the certification proceeding was underway. Amped up by the speakers at the rally, the crowd taunted the officers who guarded the Capitol and pushed toward the building’s staircases and entry points, eventually breaching security along the perimeter just after 1 p.m.

By this point, the six lawmakers were inside the Capitol, ready to protest the certification. Mr. Gosar was speaking at 2:16 p.m. when security forces entered the chamber because rioters were in the building.

As the melee erupted, Senator Mitt Romney, Republican of Utah, yelled to his colleagues who were planning to challenge the election: “This is what you’ve gotten, guys.”

When Mr. Jordan tried to help Representative Liz Cheney, Republican of Wyoming, move to safety, she smacked his hand away, according to a congressional aide briefed on the exchange.

“Get away from me,” she told him. “You fucking did this.”

A spokesman for Mr. Jordan disputed parts of the account, saying that Ms. Cheney did not curse at the congressman or slap him.

The back-and-forth was reported earlier by the Washington Post reporters Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker in their book “I Alone Can Fix It.”

Of the six lawmakers, only Mr. Gosar and Mr. Jordan responded to requests for comment for this article, through their spokespeople.

The House reconvened after the riot to continue the process of certifying the election results. Credit...Erin Schaff/The New York Times

The Aftermath

Mr. Perry was recently elected leader of the Freedom Caucus, elevating him to an influential leadership post as Republicans could regain control of the House in 2022. The stolen election claim is now a litmus test for the party, with Mr. Trump and his allies working to oust those who refuse to back it.

All six lawmakers are poised to be key supporters should Mr. Trump maintain his political clout before the midterm and general elections. Mr. Brooks is running for Senate in Alabama, and Mr. Gohmert is running for Texas attorney general.

Some, like Mr. Jordan, are in line to become committee chairs if Republicans take back the House. After Jan. 6, Mr. Jordan has claimed that he never said the election was stolen.

In many ways, they have tried to rewrite history. Several of the men have argued that the Jan. 6 attack was akin to a tourist visit to the Capitol. Mr. Gosar cast the attackers as “peaceful patriots across the country” who were harassed by federal prosecutors. A Pew research poll found that nearly two-thirds of Republicans said their party should not accept elected officials who criticize Mr. Trump.

Still, the House select committee investigating the Capitol attack appears to be picking up steam, voting this week to recommend that Mr. Meadows be charged with criminal contempt of Congress after he shifted from partly participating in the inquiry to waging a full-blown legal fight against the committee.

His fight is in line with Mr. Trump’s directive to stonewall the inquiry.

But the committee has signaled that it will investigate the role of members of Congress.

According to one prominent witness who was interviewed by the committee, investigators are interested in the relationship between Freedom Caucus members and political activists who organized “Stop the Steal” rallies before and after the election.

Representative Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi and the chairman of the committee, said the panel would follow the facts wherever they led, including to members of Congress.

“Nobody,” he said, “is off-limits.”

Katie Benner covers the Justice Department. She was part of a team that won a Pulitzer Prize in 2018 for public service for reporting on workplace sexual harassment issues. @ktbenner

Catie Edmondson is a reporter in the Washington bureau, covering Congress. @CatieEdmondson

Luke Broadwater covers Congress. He was the lead reporter on a series of investigative articles at The Baltimore Sun that won a Pulitzer Prize and a George Polk Award in 2020. @lukebroadwater

Alan Feuer covers courts and criminal justice for the Metro desk. He has written about mobsters, jails, police misconduct, wrongful convictions, government corruption and El Chapo, the jailed chief of the Sinaloa drug cartel. He joined The Times in 1999. @alanfeuer
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Re: Trump lashes out at Gov. Doug Ducey following certificat

Postby admin » Sun Dec 19, 2021 3:40 am

Jan. 6 investigators believe Rick Perry sent Mark Meadows a text outlining 'aggressive strategy' to sabotage the election results, CNN report says
by Alia Shoaib
Business Insider
DEC 18, 2021, 17:07 IST



Former Texas Governor and Trump Energy Secretary Rick Perry. Thierry Monasse/Getty Images

Jan. 6 investigators believe Rick Perry sent Mark Meadows a text outlining 'aggressive strategy' to sabotage the election results, CNN report says

• Rick Perry likely authored a text outlining a strategy to undermine election results, CNN reported.
• The text said GOP-controlled state legislatures could have electors vote for Trump regardless of the result.

The former Texas Governor and Trump Energy Secretary Rick Perry is believed to be the author of a text to then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows outlining a strategy to undermine the results of the 2020 election, a CNN report says.

On Tuesday night, the text was read on the House floor during a vote to hold Mark Meadows in contempt of Congress.

The text sent on November 4, 2020 – the day after the presidential election – suggested that the Republican-controlled state legislatures of Georgia, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania could go against voters and have their state electors vote for Donald Trump.

Acyn @Acyn Dec 14, 2021
Unknown text to Meadows: I heard Jeff Clark is getting put in on Monday. That's amazing. It will make a lot of patriots happy and I'm personally so proud that you are at the tip of the spear and I can call you a friend.

Lawmaker to Meadows on November 4th: Here's an aggressive strategy. Why can't the states GA, NC, PENN, and other R controlled state houses declare this BS.. and just send their own electors to vote and have it go to SCOTUS
4:04 pm Dec 14, 2021

It read: "HERE's an AGRESSIVE [sic] STRATEGY: Why can t [sic] the states of GA NC PENN and other R controlled state houses declare this is BS (where conflicts and election not called that night) and just send their own electors to vote and have it go to the SCOTUS."

Three sources familiar with the January 6 House committee investigating the Capitol attack told CNN that members believe Perry was behind the text.

The outlet reported that "multiple people" who know Perry confirmed that the cell phone number used to send the text is his.

Furthermore, CNN found that the phone number appears in databases as registered to James Richard Perry of Texas, the former governor's full name.

The number also appears in another database registered to a Department of Energy email address associated with Perry during his time as secretary, the outlet reported.

A spokesman for Perry told CNN that he denies being the author of the text but had no explanation when asked about the evidence suggesting it came from his number.

The text message is one of many included in the 9,000 pages of records handed over by Mark Meadows to the House committee.

Although Meadows initially cooperated with the House investigation, he later declined to sit for a scheduled deposition, and on Wednesday, the House voted to hold him in contempt.

During the debate, Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin, a Democrat, cited the text message as to why the House wants to question Meadows directly.

"How did this text influence the planning of Mark Meadows and Donald Trump to try to destroy the lawful electoral college majority that had been established by the people of the United States and the states for Joe Biden?" Raskin said on the House floor.

"Those are the kinds of questions that we have a right to ask Mark Meadows."

Although Raskin described the text as having come from a "House lawmaker," sources told CNN that this was an inadvertent error. The congressman has written a letter to correct the Congressional record.

The text was sent before any of the three mentioned states had declared winners. President Joe Biden won Pennsylvania and Georgia, and Trump won North Carolina.

Perry, who briefly bid to be the Republican candidate for president in 2016, was once a fierce critic of Trump, calling his candidacy "a cancer on conservatism."

However, he later allied himself with the president, claiming Trump was "sent by God to do great things."
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Re: Trump lashes out at Gov. Doug Ducey following certificat

Postby admin » Fri Dec 24, 2021 3:06 am

Legal Expert Laurence Tribe: DOJ Must Immediately Conduct 'Full-Blown' Jan. 6 Probe
Dec 23, 2021

Laurence Tribe calls on his former student, Attorney General Garland, to take action over Trump’s role in the insurrection: “If Merrick Garland has not yet ginned up a full-blown investigation, he should do so yesterday.”

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Re: Trump lashes out at Gov. Doug Ducey following certificat

Postby admin » Fri Dec 24, 2021 5:34 am

Jan. 6 Organizers: We ‘Lost The Battle’ When Trump Ordered March To Capitol
by Chris Hayes
Dec 15, 2021

Jan. 6 rally organizers Dustin Stockton and Jennifer Lynn Lawrence join Chris Hayes: "There was an internal conflict that was ongoing inside the organizer groups about what the program and what the day on January 6 should look like...we didn't realize we lost that battle until President Trump told people to walk down to the Capitol."
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Re: Trump lashes out at Gov. Doug Ducey following certificat

Postby admin » Sat Jan 01, 2022 1:25 am

Trump Adviser 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…”
by Jose Pagliery
Updated Dec. 28, 2021 3:44AM ET 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 adviser, details how he stayed in close contact with Bannon as they put the 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 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.

“I never spoke directly to him about it. But he was certainly on board with the strategy. Just listen to his speech that day. ”

“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.

“It was better for me to spend that morning working on the Green Bay Sweep. Just checking to see that everything was in line, that congressmen were on board,” he said during the interview. “It was a pretty mellow morning for me. I was convinced everything was set in place.”

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.”

“The Green Bay Sweep was very well thought out. It was designed to get us 24 hours of televised hearings.”

Indeed, Trump legal adviser 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.
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Re: Trump lashes out at Gov. Doug Ducey following certificat

Postby admin » Mon Jan 03, 2022 8:28 am

Capitol attack: Cheney says Republicans must choose between Trump and truth
Republican member of the House committee investigating the events of 6 January issues stark warning to her party

by Martin Pengelly @MartinPengelly
The Guardian
Sun 2 Jan 2022 12.03 EST

On a day of alarming polling about attitudes to political violence and fears for US democracy, and as the first anniversary of the Capitol attack approached, a Republican member of the House committee investigating the events of 6 January 2021 had a stark warning for her party.

“Our party has to choose,” Liz Cheney told CBS’s Face the Nation. “We can either be loyal to Donald Trump or we can be loyal to the constitution, but we cannot be both.”

Trump supporters attacked Congress in an attempt to stop certification of his defeat by Joe Biden, which Trump maintains without evidence was the result of electoral fraud. Five people died around a riot in which a mob roamed the Capitol, searching for lawmakers to capture and possibly kill.

On Sunday, Cheney and Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, the committee chairman, again discussed the possibility of a criminal referral for Trump over his failure to attempt to stop the riot or for his obstruction of the investigation.

Speaking to ABC’s This Week, Cheney said there were “potential criminal statutes at issue here, but I think that there’s absolutely no question that it was a dereliction of duty. And I think one of the things the committee needs to look at is … a legislative purpose, is whether we need enhanced penalties for that kind of dereliction of duty.”

Thompson said subpoenas could be served on Republicans in Congress who refuse to comply with information requests of the kind which have led to a charge of criminal contempt of Congress for Steve Bannon, Trump’s former strategist, and a recommendation of such a charge for Mark Meadows, Trump’s chief of staff.

The Democrat told NBC’s Meet the Press the committee was examining whether it could issue subpoenas to members of Congress, immediately Jim Jordan of Ohio and Scott Perry of Pennsylvania.

“I think there are some questions of whether we have the authority to do it,” Thompson said. “If the authorities are there, there’ll be no reluctance on our part.”

Last month, the committee asked Jordan for testimony about conversations with Trump on 6 January. Jordan told Fox News he had “real concerns” about the credibility of the panel.

Perry was asked for testimony about attempts to replace Jeffrey Rosen, acting head of the justice department, with Jeffrey Clark, an official who tried to help overturn Trump’s defeat.

Perry called the committee “illegitimate, and not duly constituted”. A court has ruled that the panel is legitimate and entitled to see White House records Trump is trying to shield, an argument that has reached the supreme court.

Sunday saw a rash of polls marking the anniversary of 6 January.

CBS found that 68% of Americans saw the Capitol attack as a sign of increasing political violence, and that 66% thought democracy itself was threatened.

When respondents were asked if violence would be justifiable to achieve various political ends, the poll returned an average of around 30%. A survey by the Washington Post and the University of Maryland said more than a third of Americans said violence against the government could be justified.

ABC News and Ipsos found that 52% of Republicans said the Capitol rioters were trying to protect democracy.

Other polling has shown clear majorities among Republicans in believing Trump’s lie about electoral fraud and distrust of federal elections.

On CNN’s State of the Union, Larry Hogan, Maryland governor and a moderate Republican with an eye on the presidential nomination, said: “Frankly, it’s crazy that that many people believe things that simply aren’t true.

“There’s been an amazing amount of disinformation that’s been spread over the past year. And many people are consuming that disinformation and believing it as if it’s fact. To think the violent protesters who attacked the Capitol, our seat of democracy, on 6 January was just tourists looking at statues? It’s insane that anyone could watch that on television and believe that’s what happened.”

Cheney told CBS the blame lay squarely with her own party.

“Far too many Republicans are trying to enable the former president, embrace the former president or look the other way and hope that the former president goes away, or trying to obstruct the activities of this committee, but we won’t be deterred. At the end of the day, the facts matter, the truth matters.”

Her host, Margaret Brennan, pointed out that Republicans across the US, some in states where Trump’s attempt to steal the election was repulsed, are changing election laws to their advantage.

“We’ve got to be grounded on the rule of law,” Cheney said. “We’ve got to be grounded on fidelity of the constitution … So I think for people all across the country, they need to recognise how important their vote is for their voices. They’ve got to elect serious people who are going to defend the constitution, not simply do the bidding of Donald Trump.”

Cheney faces a primary challenger doing Trump’s bidding and enjoying his backing. The other Republican on the 6 January committee, Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, will retire in November rather than fight such a battle of his own.

Cheney said she was “confident people of Wyoming will not choose loyalty to one man as dangerous as Donald Trump”, and that she will secure re-election.

She also notably did not say no when she was asked if she would run against Trump if he sought the nomination next time.

On ABC, Cheney was asked if she agreed with Hillary Clinton, who has said a second Trump presidency could end US democracy.

“I do,” Cheney said. “I think it is critically important, given everything we know about the lines that he was willing to cross.

“… We entrust the survival of our republic into the hands of the chief executive, and when a president refuses to tell the mob to stop, when he refuses to defend any of the co-ordinate branches of government, he cannot be trusted.”
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Re: Trump lashes out at Gov. Doug Ducey following certificat

Postby admin » Thu Jan 06, 2022 1:25 am

Trump lawyers drafted letter for seizure of election ‘evidence’ in ‘interest of national security’, documents show: The letter is not the only document that suggested a plan to seize ballots to bolster former president Donald Trump’s false election fraud claims
by Andrew Feinberg
January 3, 2022
(Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Outside lawyers working for former president Donald Trump drafted a letter for his signature that would have called for the seizure of “evidence” in service of the false claims of voter fraud he and his allies promoted in the days leading up to the 6 January insurrection, documents turned over to Congress show.

An entry on a four-page list of evidence that ex-New York City police commissioner Bernard Kerik is refusing to turn over to the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the Capitol shows Mr Kerik is in possession of a document listed as a “draft POTUS letter,” meaning a draft letter from the President of the United States.

The draft document, which Mr Kerik is purporting to withhold under attorney-client privilege despite his not being an attorney, is further described as a “DRAFT LETTER FROM POTUS TO SEIZE EVIDENCE IN THE INTEREST OF NATIONAL SECURITY FOR THE 2020 ELECTIONS” dated 17 December 2020, more than a month after most news organisations called the 2020 race for President Joe Biden.

Unlike the other 26 documents described in the “withheld evidence log”, the document has no author, but the log states that it is being kept from the select committee because it was “drafted and/or edited by attorney”.

Several members of the motley crew that surrounded Mr Trump in the days after he became the first president to lose a reelection bid in nearly two decades reportedly pushed for him to use extralegal means to bolster the false claims of election fraud he and his allies made in the run-up to the worst attack on the Capitol since Major General Robert Ross ordered it burned in 1814.

A 36-page PowerPoint presentation that found its way into then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows’ email inbox laid out a scenario in which the US Marshals Service would have seized ballots in all 50 states for the purpose of a sham recount conducted by federalised National Guard soldiers.

That unprecedented proposal tracked with demands made in a post-election phone call from ex-Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn to Ezra Cohen, a former Flynn aide who was then serving as the acting undersecretary of defence for intelligence.

In Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show, author Jonathan Karl reported that Mr Flynn placed a call to Mr Cohen in late 2020 — just days after having received a presidential pardon from Mr Trump — to urge his former aide to immediately return to Washington from an official trip he was on.

“We need you,” Mr Flynn reportedly said before telling Mr Cohen that he would need to obtain signed orders to seize ballots and take “extraordinary measures…to stop Democrats from stealing the election”.

When the Defence Department official replied that the election was “over” and it was “time to move on”, Mr Flynn berated him for being a “quitter” and maintained that the election was “not over”.

In a letter to select committee chairman Bennie Thompson, Mr Kerik’s attorney Timothy Paratore claimed that Mr Kerik “was hired by former president Donald Trump’s legal team to act as an investigator tasked to look into claims of election fraud” and therefore can withhold documents from the committee because his work “was done at the behest of attorneys in anticipation of litigation” and is therefore “shielded from disclosure by the work-product doctrine”.

Mr Kerik, who is not licensed as a private investigator in either New York or Washington, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Independent.
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Re: Trump lashes out at Gov. Doug Ducey following certificat

Postby admin » Thu Jan 06, 2022 1:33 am

“American Insurrection”: How Far-Right Extremists Moved from Fringe to Mainstream After Jan. 6 Attack
by Amy Goodman
January 5, 2022 ... transcript

Rick Rowley: award-winning filmmaker, independent journalist and director of PBS Frontline’s documentary American Insurrection.
"American Insurrection"

Thursday marks one year since a violent mob of thousands of far-right and white supremacist Trump supporters descended on the U.S. Capitol, disrupting Congress from certifying the results of the 2020 presidential election and resulting in five deaths and hundreds of injuries. We look at where these movements are one year later, with the updated investigative documentary “American Insurrection” by Frontline in collaboration with ProPublica and Berkeley Journalism’s Investigative Reporting Program. Director Rick Rowley explains how the far-right social movements have grown since the insurrection and says “the locus of the organizing has shifted really from a national platform to a local one, which makes it more difficult to track and increases the potential for local or regional violence.” Rowley and Frontline correspondent A.C. Thompson interviewed January 6 select committee chair Rep. Bennie Thompson about what makes this a moment for “far-right mobilization” and discussed the significance of the widespread contradictory beliefs by many on the far right that antifa and Black Lives Matter dressed up as Trump supporters and carried out the January 6 riot, but that those who tried to overturn the election are patriots.


This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: Thursday marks the first anniversary of the deadly January 6th insurrection, when thousands of people attacked the U.S. Capitol with the goal of overthrowing the 2020 election. Many were part of far-right extremist and white supremacist groups. Today we look at where these movements are now with an investigation by Frontline, ProPublica and Berkeley Journalism’s Investigative Reporting Program that began in the wake of the deadly 2017 Charlottesville “Unite the Right” rally. In their reporting, they found many white supremacist groups started to splinter amidst the backlash following Charlottesville, but President Trump gave them new life.

This is an excerpt from American Insurrection with correspondent A.C. Thompson that actually begins before January 6, 2020, when, on November 14th, one week after the presidential election was called for Joe Biden, Trump supporters took to the streets of Washington, D.C., stirred up by Trump’s refusal to concede. They demanded the results be overturned.

A.C. THOMPSON: As night falls, Proud Boys merge with MAGA marchers and roam the city looking for fights. Trump supporters confront journalists, vandalize Black Lives Matter signs and fight with activists who try to stop them.

POLICE OFFICER: Get out of here!

A.C. THOMPSON: A month later, Trump supporters take to the streets of Washington again. And once again, the protests turn violent. And then, he calls his supporters to the Capitol on January 6th.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: We’re going to walk down, and I’ll be there with you. We’re going to walk down to the Capitol! … You’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength, and you have to be strong. We have come to demand that Congress do the right thing. … And we fight. We fight like hell. And if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.

A.C. THOMPSON: As the clock runs out on his presidency, he urges them towards the Capitol building.

TRUMP SUPPORTERS: Whose house? Our house!


A.C. THOMPSON: The Proud Boys are here, but they aren’t wearing their trademark yellow and black. The boogaloo bois are here, too, also out of uniform. They both blend into the pro-Trump crowd. Inside, Congress is trying to certify the election. Outside, the crowd is bearing down on them.

TRUMP SUPPORTERS: U.S.A.! U.S.A.! Whose house? Our house!

A.C. THOMPSON: But the police on the steps are outnumbered and unprepared.


A.C. THOMPSON: Around 140 police officers are injured. One officer, Brian Sicknick, will later die. A Proud Boy from New York state smashes through a window. The Capitol has been breached. A Proud Boy broke the window, but what about the crowd behind him? A mob, urged on by the president, willing to embrace an insurrectionary violence that was once confined only to the most extreme elements of the far right.

TRUMP SUPPORTER: It’s amazing!

A.C. THOMPSON: Bewildered, some wander through the halls. Others move towards the Senate chamber. Police struggle to hold them off while congressmembers flee through back exits. The mob surges through the hallways searching for them, coming within feet of their targets.

TRUMP SUPPORTERS: Break it down! Break it down! Break it down!

A.C. THOMPSON: Rioters try to break into a hallway that lawmakers are escaping through.


A.C. THOMPSON: A protester is shot and killed. Three other rioters die in the mayhem. It would be hours before the Capitol was cleared.

AMY GOODMAN: Now in an update to the documentary American Insurrection that came out this week, Frontline correspondent A.C. Thompson examines how far-right extremist groups have evolved since January 6th and the threat they pose today.

A.C. THOMPSON: In Washington, D.C., the fences are gone. So are the National Guard patrols. The city no longer feels like a war zone. But when I come back to the Capitol almost a year later, there are many questions that remain unanswered.

REP. BENNIE THOMPSON: We cannot allow what happened on January 6 to ever happen again. We owe it to the American people, and we will not fail, I assure you, in that responsibility.

A.C. THOMPSON: The House of Representatives has impaneled a committee to investigate January 6th and to recommend changes that will prevent something like that from happening again. Representative Bennie Thompson is the committee chair.

REP. BENNIE THOMPSON: January 6th was a difficult day for me personally because I was in the Capitol. I’ve seen a lot of people come to this Capitol. People have the ability, I thought, in Washington, D.C., to express themselves regardless of position. But if I ever imagined that somebody would invade the United States Capitol, never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that would occur. Despite what all had occurred, we were called back in the early morning hours to complete the certification, because if we don’t certify the election, then Donald Trump is still president. And he can do a number of things. Martial law is a potential.

A.C. THOMPSON: It could have been something looking like a coup.

REP. BENNIE THOMPSON: Absolutely. You get people, who I talk to on a daily basis, who will actually tell me that what I saw and experienced on January 6th really didn’t happen.

A.C. THOMPSON: People come to you, and they say January 6th didn’t happen?

REP. BENNIE THOMPSON: Yeah, and say, “Look, it was the Black Lives Matter folk. It was antifa dressed up as Trump people who did that.” Or, in addition to that, you have those millions of folk who are out there who are convinced that those individuals who broke into the United States Capitol, they were some of the greatest patriots.

A.C. THOMPSON: Right, right. They say these are heroes.


A.C. THOMPSON: They say that people like you are the enemy.

REP. BENNIE THOMPSON: Absolutely. And that’s why our mission on this committee is so important.

A.C. THOMPSON: Thompson’s committee has subpoenaed members of Trump’s inner circle and interviewed hundreds of witnesses, including some D.C. and Capitol Police officers.

SGT. HARRY DUNN: The fence came down, and still nothing has changed. If a hitman is hired and he kills somebody, not only does the hitman go to jail, but the person who hired them does. There was an attack carried out on January 6, and a hitman sent them. I want you to get to the bottom of that.

Those windows up there, those were some of the first windows that were smashed. That door, they were able to breach that door.

A.C. THOMPSON: The big one up the steps?

SGT. HARRY DUNN: Yeah, up the steps right there.

A.C. THOMPSON: Capitol Police officer Harry Dunn walks me through what happened that day.

SGT. HARRY DUNN: I was on the other side of the Capitol. Once I cleared like this tree line right here, I was just looking out, and I just couldn’t believe what I saw. There were flashbangs going off. There were smoke grenades going off.

A.C. THOMPSON: From your side or from the other?


A.C. THOMPSON: From both?

SGT. HARRY DUNN: I’ve never seen anything like that before. My number one thought was just to survive that day. Just to survive. At that time, we had no clue what was going on. We were fighting for our lives, fighting for democracy. And how is this going to end? Like, because we were hours and hours and hours — it’s got to end somehow. How is it going to end?

A.C. THOMPSON: And did you think, like, it might end with these guys overrunning this place?

SGT. HARRY DUNN: Yeah, yeah. It crossed my mind.

A.C. THOMPSON: So, I was interviewing recently an elected public official, and he was here. He said, “I think maybe that was an antifa event. It was meant to make Republicans and Trump supporters, MAGA people, look bad.” What do you think when you hear stuff like that? And he was here.

SGT. HARRY DUNN: The rioters that day in the building told us that “Donald Trump sent us.” I don’t know how to make that any more clear to anybody. Now, whether Donald Trump gave what they’ve been saying as the marching orders, whether he did or not, whatever, that’s not — that’s not my job. I just know what I experienced. I know what I went through. And they were there because Donald Trump sent them. According to them, “Donald Trump sent us.”

A.C. THOMPSON: After the attack, we tried to get information from the Justice Department about its investigation and the people who had been arrested. Along with other news organizations, ProPublica sued for access to evidence they had been gathering.

DANIEL RODRIGUEZ: Trump called us. Trump called us to D.C. I thought that there was going to be battles across the country. I thought that there was going to be fighting. I kept thinking that we’re going to go to like a civil war.

A.C. THOMPSON: In late November 2021, the DOJ made public its interrogation of Daniel Rodriguez, who had admitted to assaulting a police officer.

DANIEL RODRIGUEZ: What do you want me to tell you? That I tased him? Yes. I thought we were going to do something. I thought that it was not going to end and happen like that. I thought that Trump was going to stay president.

A.C. THOMPSON: Rodriguez has pleaded not guilty, and his lawyers have argued that he was manipulated by the agents. But his words echo the narratives I’ve heard before.

DANIEL RODRIGUEZ: We felt that they stole the election. We thought — we felt that they stole this country, that it’s gone, it’s wiped out, America is over, it’s destroyed now.

A.C. THOMPSON: The arrests after January 6th may have quieted the movement for a time, but it would turn out to be short-lived.

RALLY SPEAKER: We need to fight back now.

A.C. THOMPSON: In rallies across the country, I see momentum building around overturning the 2020 election. The crowds include fewer of the characters and groups I’ve been tracking. I see more and more mainstream Americans. According to polling data, around two-thirds of Republicans have come to believe that the 2020 elections were stolen. About a third say violence may be necessary to save the country. I go back to talk to Mary McCord.

What do you think has happened to those organized groups now — the Proud Boys, the boogaloo bois, the militias? Like, where are they at in terms of strength at this point?

MARY McCORD: Well, within days, literally days, they started finger-pointing. Some dissolved. Some reconstituted themselves. You know, I think the Three Percenters said, “We are no longer.” And you had all these Three Percenters nationally saying, “OK, we need to find another group.” And they also started, you know, making up other disinformation, like this was all an antifa plot, this was a law enforcement plot. But, you know, Americans have really short memory. And time has passed. Many months have passed now. And we’re starting to see, at least in the social media and online forums, you know, organizing again in very dangerous ways.

A.C. THOMPSON: So the movement lives on.

MARY McCORD: It does live on. And, you know, in a way, it’s harder for law enforcement to deal with when it’s so disparate like that, right? You know, a dozen individuals going to a local school board meeting in a rural county without a big police force, that’s harder to protect against than the Capitol, right? The Capitol will not suffer an insurrection like that again.

A.C. THOMPSON: Where do you see the threats coming from at this point and into the future? What keeps you up at night?

MARY McCORD: I mean, a lot of the threats I still see coming from disinformation getting into our political discourse. And particularly as we come into another election year, what I’m really seeing is, you know, the seeds are just being planted already of fraud rampant throughout our election systems.

A.C. THOMPSON: Polling on this issue is pretty chilling. There are tens of millions of Americans that absolutely believe that the 2020 election, it was a fraud. And a lot of them have said, “I’m willing to use violence to change things.”

MARY McCORD: First of all, it’s astounding to see that data. And I tell myself sometimes that surely there’s something wrong about that data collection and that some of that is hyperbolic, right? All of that said, you know, we know that gun purchases were up dramatically over 2020. We have seen more and more armed individuals coming out to government proceedings, whether it’s the counting of the vote after the elections, whether it’s public health meetings, school board meetings. The willingness to be threatening government officials, and even threatening them with arms, is — you know, is something that really needs to be addressed, because that could just snowball.

A.C. THOMPSON: A year later, the country is still living in the shadow of January 6th. The trail that began for me in Charlottesville has taken another turn. Along the way, I’ve seen up close the peril posed by a resurgent white supremacist movement, armed militias pledging to execute police and elected officials, ultranationalists brawling in the streets, would-be revolutionaries wearing Hawaiian shirts, and now this: millions of people convinced that the 2020 election was a fraud, some of them angry enough to turn to violence. Charlottesville and January 6th had once seemed like bookends to an era. But today it’s clear: The movements I’ve been covering have been changing, evolving, but they are not going away.

AMY GOODMAN: That’s an excerpt from the updated version of the American Insurrection documentary with correspondent A.C. Thompson. It was released this week. You can watch the full report at and on YouTube.

For more, we’re joined by the director and writer of this documentary, Rick Rowley. He’s also the director of their Emmy-winning series Documenting Hate.

Rick, welcome back to Democracy Now! So, you now have this updated version of American Insurrection, where you look at these white supremacist and extremist militias, if you will, and where they are today. What do you think is most important to understand about what we’ve learned in this last year?

RICK ROWLEY: It’s great to be with you, Amy and Juan.

Yeah. I mean, I think, you know, Mary McCord does a good job of summing up where the movement has landed at this particular moment. I mean, there was a real backlash against the perpetrators of January 6th in the immediate weeks afterwards, just as there was a backlash after Charlottesville. And so, some of the big above-ground national groups splintered. But that backlash was really short-lived. And over the course of the next months, they reconstituted themselves. Mostly, the national networks have disarticulated themselves, and they’re being organized locally — so, Proud Boys chapters showing up at school board meetings around the country. And the locus of the organizing has shifted in many ways from a national platform to a local one, which makes it more difficult to track and increases the potential for local or regional violence, which was already a trajectory we were seeing — right? — with the plot to kidnap Gretchen Whitmer, the governor of Michigan, last year. So that is really where the kind of threat is now, I think, for right-wing violence.

But I think it’s important also to remember that, like — or, think of these things as — of this as a far-right social movement. So, you have groups inside it, small, committed, militant groups, like lifelong white supremacist organizations or militias that are committed to catalyzing a civil war now. You have those groups, that are always sort of pushing the envelope. But they’re swimming in a sea of a much larger group of people, millions of people, who, in the words of the national security analysts, are vulnerable to radicalization, you know, a sea of people who are on the edge and could be recruited into violence by these groups. And that pool of people, of radicalizable people, of vulnerable people, is just growing bigger and bigger and bigger. More people today believe that the election was stolen than believed it on the morning of January 6th. More people today believe that violence might be necessary to defend America than believed it on the morning of January 6th. So, that broader kind of milieu that these movements and that this violence has generated inside has only gotten bigger.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Rick, I wanted to ask you — you did get a chance to interview Congressmember Bennie Thompson, who’s chairing the House investigation of the January 6th insurrection, his committee. All the attention has been focused in the media in recent months, really, on will Trump and his circle be able to draw out the demands or the subpoenas for investigation into the next election season. What was your sense of how — of Thompson’s resolve and what his committee has already found and is seeking to prove?

RICK ROWLEY: Well, Representative Thompson said that January is going to be a big month for them. They’re going to start to make — much of the work that the committee has been doing in private, it’s going to become public. And there will be more public hearings, and we’ll begin to see, you know, what’s going on there.

I mean, I think — I mean, the danger that I fear is that, you know, this — so, Trump obviously played a key role, and has over the entire course of this rise in far-right violence, from before Charlottesville through today. A key player in that and a catalyst for these organizations has been Trump, his candidacy first and then his presidency. And then, obviously, on the morning of January 6th, he pointed to the Capitol and said, you know, “You’ve got to fight.” So, you know, his role is absolutely key.

But I think it’s important for us to remember that it doesn’t have to be a smoke-filled room with three people who, like, planned a very sophisticated operation. I mean, what you have is currents, like deeper political sicknesses inside America, that are being — and fault lines and fissures, that are being tapped into, cynically sometimes, by political players that make this, you know, moments like this, kind of happen. So, you know, I mean — and there’s many things that make this a moment that is incredibly ripe for far-right mobilization and populist mobilization. I mean, things that create this [inaudible] are the rampant economic inequality of our moment, the disastrous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I mean, those were both major elements in creating a large chunk of the population that has lost faith or believes that the institutions of this country have failed them in some ways. And lots of those grievances are legitimate. So, in that milieu, you then have old, legacy, far-right, white supremacist groups who are pushing the envelope constantly, and then you have political actors, like Trump and others, who are able to mobilize, crystallize, unite and exploit those energies that existed already and point them in a direction.

So, that, I think, is why you see that this is not — it’s an argument that can be won with facts and evidence, right? I mean, the whole narrative around the 2020 election being stolen, time and again it faces what appear to be — on the surface, to be sort of crippling defeats — right? — the Arizona recount, or audit, you know, every single one of the cases brought by Giuliani and company being thrown out of court. Those don’t actually matter. I mean, the narrative that is feeding the social movement underneath it all survives and continues and reconstitutes itself and will continue, I think, until the underlying problems and sicknesses that feed this kind of movement are addressed in a kind of more systemic way.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And speaking about those lies and those narratives, this narrative that the right-wing media especially push, still claiming that, somehow or other, antifa was involved in the insurrection, could you talk about that and the importance of that to the narrative?

RICK ROWLEY: Yeah, it’s kind of amazing. And one of the things that is characteristic of authoritarian narratives and authoritarian politics, in general, is their ability to have completely contradictory ideas simultaneously held inside the same movement. So, on the one hand, you have people who say it was all fake; it was a false flag operation; antifa and Black Lives Matter dressed up as Trump supporters and organized this whole, like, operation. And then, inside the same movement, shoulder to shoulder with them, you’ll have — and inside the same person sometimes — you’ll also have the belief that the January 6th rioters are patriots and that they’re being crucified in these trials that are just now beginning to happen against them. So, those two contradictory ideas are being held together.

But the creation of this sort of bogeyman on the left of antifa and Black Lives Matter, turning them from what they are, like broad kind of social movements or tactics or whatever, turning them into this communist conspiracy that is going to take over America, undermine it from the inside and destroy it, like, that has been key to the reformulation of far-right groups since Charlottesville. In fact, one of the things we explore early in the film is the way that Charlottesville launches this new kind of political take for these movements.

So, one of the guys we talk to in — we interview in America Insurrection is Brien James, who’s a lifelong, hardcore leader in white supremacist groups — you know, the Klan, the early militia movement where he met Timothy McVeigh, skinhead gangs. And then, after Trump rode down the golden escalator and started his campaign, he said that he realized that the more effective political move was to jettison the most explicitly racist politics and rebrand himself, take off the swastika armband, wrap himself in the American flag and become a Trump supporter. So he joined the Proud Boys. He’s a regional leader of the Proud Boys in Indiana. And he says that using — rather than naming a racial enemy, saying, “We’re against Blacks or Mexican immigrants,” or whatever, naming a political enemy — “We’re against the communists who want to destroy everything that you love about this country” — was the way that they retargeted their political message so that they could reach into the mainstream. And it was incredibly effective. I mean, Brien James says that throughout his career in the far right, he’s always had 20 guys in Minneapolis, you know, maybe 40 statewide. Now he has 200. We saw with our own eyes him in Washington, D.C., with a crew of former skinhead gang members with racist tattoos on their faces, who were dressed in yellow and black of the Proud Boys and were embraced by a throng of mainstream Trump supporters. So, yeah, I mean, you’re right, Juan, the creation of this leftist kind of communist threat to mobilize against, of that kind of enemy to mobilize against, is central to the work that the extreme far right is doing to penetrate the mainstream.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, Rick, we want to thank you for being with us, Rick Rowley, director of the PBS Frontline-ProPublica documentary American Insurrection, now updated and available at their website, in collaboration with correspondent A.C. Thompson.

Next, “Is the 'smoking gun' in Trump’s Jan. 6 attempted coup hiding in plain sight?” We’ll speak with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Will Bunch. Stay with us.


Columnist Will Bunch: Trump Came Much Closer to Pulling Off a January 6 Coup Than People Realize
by Amy Goodman
January 5, 2022 ... coup_trump

Will Bunch: Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and national columnist at The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Will Bunch on Twitter

"Is the 'smoking gun' in Trump’s Jan. 6 attempted coup hiding in plain sight?"
"America gave up on truly educating all its kids. Then Jan. 6 happened. Coincidence?"
"Resent U: How College Broke the American Dream and Divided the Nation, and How to Fix It"

The January 6 insurrection resulted in criminal charges for over 700 rioters, and the FBI has since called it an act of domestic terrorism. Philadelphia Inquirer national columnist Will Bunch says there is growing evidence that links Trump and his inner circle to the Capitol attack. He argues understanding what was happening behind the scenes at the Pentagon, which has operational control over the National Guard in D.C., can help explain Trump’s botched attempt to overturn the 2020 election and the insurrection that followed. “I think they fully believed that they would be able to call out the National Guard,” says Bunch, explaining Trump’s strategy to incite violence between his supporters and counterprotesters in an attempt to make military orders to disrupt the certification. Bunch predicts Trump and allies will delay cooperation with the House probe into the attack until Republicans can gain congressional power in 2022 and dismiss the investigation.


This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!,, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González.

Thursday marks one year since the violent mob of thousands of Trump supporters descended on the U.S. Capitol, disrupting Congress from certifying the results of the 2020 presidential election. Many have referred to the attack as an attempted coup. Five people died, hundreds were injured. At least four police officers who responded to the Capitol on January 6th died of suicide in the days and months after. The FBI has called the insurrection an act of domestic terrorism. Some 700 rioters have been criminally charged.

Meanwhile, the House select committee investigating the January 6th attack has interviewed over 300 witnesses, subpoenaed several key figures in Trump’s inner circle. Last week, it learned of a document that could be crucial evidence in proving Trump’s intentions to tamper with the 2020 election and in inciting the deadly Capitol insurrection. The document is called the ”DRAFT LETTER FROM POTUS TO SEIZE EVIDENCE IN THE INTEREST OF NATIONAL SECURITY FOR THE 2020 ELECTIONS.” It’s included on a list of records that former New York Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik, a close Trump ally, is refusing to turn over.

For more, we’re joined in Philadelphia by Will Bunch, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and columnist at The Philadelphia Inquirer. He writes about this in his column, “Is the 'smoking gun' in Trump’s Jan. 6 attempted coup hiding in plain sight?”

Will, welcome back to Democracy Now! Explain what this is.

WILL BUNCH: Right. Well, as you mentioned, you know, Bernie Kerik, the former New York City police commissioner, a very close associate of Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, who became kind of a Trump insider — in fact, he’d been committed of criminal activity, and Trump had pardoned him. So, he was definitely part of this kind of new inner circle that gathered around Trump between the election loss to Joe Biden and January 6th, who was giving him advice.

And I think the most interesting and, I guess, maybe the most alarming thing that’s been coming out of some of these news reports and leaks out of the House January 6th committee in the last few weeks is the focus of this working group on the idea that Trump might somehow declare a national emergency — which, as you know, in many countries around the world, that’s basically a code name for a coup, right? — and that as part of this national emergency, he might even seize paper election ballots or seize voting machines, which would just be a mess.

And so, we’ve had a couple things. We had an email from Mark Meadows, Trump’s chief of staff, about the role of the National Guard, how they expected the National Guard would be there January 6th to, quote, “support” pro-Trump demonstrators, which is an interesting take on things. We had this PowerPoint presentation that circulated on Capitol Hill from Trump’s advisers that talked about this national emergency idea. And now Bernie Kerik’s lawyer has logged the documents that are in his possession, including some that he claims are privileged and that the committee shouldn’t be allowed to see. And one of the ones he’s claiming privilege on is the one that you just mentioned and the one that I think could be a smoking gun, and which is a draft letter from Trump that would basically declare this emergency and allow for the seizing of this evidence.

And I think it’s a very complicated thing, but, very quickly, I think the Trump team expected that on January 6th there would be something that in fact did not happen, which was they expected there to be left-wing counterprotesters, like that December 12th episode that was in the documentary that you just played. They expected a repeat of that. And I think they fully believed that they would be able to call out the National Guard. And remember, Trump installed a lot of close allies in the Pentagon just in the weeks right before January 6th, and the Pentagon has operational control over the National Guard. So, you know, I think there was this theory that if there had been more violence that had involved antifa, which was the enemy of the Trump people, as you just discussed in the last segment, that antifa could have been a pretext for them to call out the National Guard on their side to close down the Capitol. And if the Capitol had been closed down and seized by troops, you wouldn’t have been able to have the certification of Biden’s election. It would have bought them more time for these other schemes that they were working on. You know, it’s interesting that members of Congress, and even Mike Pence himself, were very adamant about not leaving the Capitol. And I think they were afraid if they left the capital on January 6th, that they would never get back.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, Will, you wrote in a column a few weeks ago, quote, “the central role of the leftist clashes that never happened, and the thwarted mission for the National Guard and Trump-friendly law enforcement — the final, Hail Mary pass in Team Trump’s slow-motion coup to undo Biden’s election victory — reveals how close a rogue president came to ending … democracy earlier this year.” Could you talk about, one, how — you also say that you believe the left didn’t go for the bait of coming out there —


JUAN GONZÁLEZ: — in Washington, and how that then ended up gumming up the plans of the Trump people, from what you can tell.

WILL BUNCH: Yeah, I mean, that’s one of the most amazing little-known stories about January 6th, is in the maybe two-week run-up before January 6th, when a lot of people — although apparently not the FBI for some reason, but a lot of normal people — knew that this was going to be a potentially violent day and that, you know, we knew that busloads of these people were descending on the Capitol, and the word got out on the left that they’re trying — they want to provoke violence. You know, they want to provoke clashes between left-wing counterprotesters, whether they were, quote, “antifa,” unquote, or just normal resistant folks — they wanted to set up these clashes.

And so, on social media, you actually saw this hashtag, like you said; #DontTakeTheBait became a popular hashtag at the end of December and early January. And you had public officials join in. You know, Muriel Bowser, the mayor of D.C., and other officials went public telling people who were not Trump supporters, “You don’t want to be anywhere near the Capitol on January 6th. Please stay away.” And I think the city even kept some of its workers home. And there was a real effort to just let the Trump people do their thing in the city, and not confront them, not provoke them. And, you know, that was kind of like — in the famous Sherlock Holmes line, that was like the dog that did not bark on January 6th, because you didn’t have those clashes.

And it explains a lot. People are baffled by the inaction of the National Guard. And we now know — and Ryan Goodman and Justin Hendrix from Just Security have done some great reporting on this. You know, we now know that Mark Milley, the chairman of the joint Chiefs, and other top people in the Defense Department were horrified at the idea that the Trump allies within the Pentagon could use the National Guard in service of a coup, basically, in service of Trump. And as a result, I mean, that really was the reluctance to call out the National Guard. You know, D.C. officials were baffled, because they wanted to use the Guard to fight against the Trumpists, the insurrectionists. But in the Pentagon, the worry was that if the Guard got involved and took over the Capitol, that that would end up looking more like a coup. And so, that explains why the National Guard didn’t get involved for three or four hours, until the incident was basically over at that point.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Yeah, I want to go back for second to this draft national security letter, with Bernard Kerik’s lawyer claiming attorney-client privilege. Of course, Bernard Kerik, as you mentioned, was not only convicted on tax evasion charges but has the dubious distinction of being one of the only people, perhaps in American history, who spent time in the very jail that was named after him, the Bernard Kerik Correctional Facility. And, of course, he’s not a lawyer. So, could you talk about this claim and how it could stand up if it went to court? But, obviously, it might take months for a court decision on it.

WILL BUNCH: Yeah. Well, Juan, you, like me, remember Watergate, and you remember the famous term from Watergate, “stonewalling.” Well, you know, Trump and his team, they’re the masters of stonewalling 2.0. I mean, the basic philosophy, which Trump honed during his years as a sleazy real estate developer in New York, is just when there’s a problem, throw everything up against the wall, you know, lawsuits, just delay.

I mean, what we’re seeing here is unprecedented in terms of people who clearly have no reason to not testify or to defy a subpoena claiming they have the right to defy these subpoenas. And you’ve seen charges now against Steve Bannon. You may see charges against Mark Meadows. But I think for the next 12 months you’re going to see this web of obstruction, of these privilege claims that are going to have to be fought out in court, whether it’s executive privilege or something just more mundane like attorney privilege, which is what Bernie Kerik is claiming.

And I think that the ultimate reason behind this is because Republicans are very confident that they’re going to retake the House in the midterms this November, just based on history and the other trends. And when they do that, they know they’ll be able to end this probe. So, you’ve got the Democrats with this one year to get to the truth, basically. You know, I think the January 6th committee has been doing a fantastic job, and we’ve been seeing the fruits of that in the last couple weeks. And [inaudible] is going to be very dramatic. But you do have that hanging over their head. You know, they’ve got a one-year race against this massive wall of obstruction from Team Trump.

AMY GOODMAN: It will be very interesting when they hold public hearings, and then that comparison to the Watergate public hearings that so many watched at the time. But I wanted to ask you, Will Bunch, about what former Trump trade adviser Peter Navarro said on MSNBC yesterday when he was interviewed by Ari Melber. He outlined his support last year for what he called the Green Bay sweep, a plan to overturn the election results in six states.

PETER NAVARRO: The plan was simply this: We had over a hundred congressmen and senators on Capitol Hill ready to implement the sweep. The sweep was simply that. We were going to challenge the results of the election in the six battleground states. They were Michigan, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Wisconsin, Nevada.

ARI MELBER: Do you realize you are describing a coup?

PETER NAVARRO: No. I totally reject many of your premises there.

AMY GOODMAN: So, there you have it, Will. I’m wondering if you could respond to this. Jamie Raskin, one of the key members of the select committee, has responded, the congressman from Maryland, and said that you have this very unusual situation where maybe the Trump supporters outside, in their violence, with this insurrection, subverted what they wanted to accomplish, their allies wanted to accomplish, Trump wanted to accomplish inside, what Peter Navarro just laid out.

WILL BUNCH: Well, yeah, I mean, when you look back at it, there are so many different ways that things could have broken on January 6th as opposed to what happened. But I think the bottom line — I mean, I think Ari Melber nailed it. I mean, there’s no other word for what they’re talking about here other than a coup. You know, the idea was that if you could block the certification in enough states — and I guess those six states would have done it — then you would have taken Biden under 270 electoral votes. Then the claim would be that, well, you’re throwing the election into the House under the constitutional procedure. And the way the House vote goes, which is not by individual member but by state delegations, the Republicans actually still control the majority of the delegations, and so Republicans could have imposed — used that mechanism to impose a Trump presidency.

So, the thing is, I don’t think that plan could have worked without the cooperation of Mike Pence. And so, you know, I mean, there were three or four incredible hinge points about January 6th, and the failure to convince Pence, who had been such a compliant vice president for four years, to go along is one of the hinge points. I think Mark Milley and the Pentagon realizing the threats — and don’t forget the January 3rd letter from every former — every living former defense secretary, from Dick Cheney to the Democratic ones, warning about the military getting involved on January 6th, because they knew that something was afoot, and they were terrified of the possibilities.

But I think this talk about the Green Bay sweep just shows the high level of planning that was going on here. And let’s not forget, it’s a felony to disrupt the operations of Congress. And I think that’s something that the January 6th committee is really honing in on. Was there a criminal conspiracy to disrupt Congress from doing its job on January 6th? And if so, who was involved in that? You know, obviously, Trump advisers were involved. Was the president himself involved? You know, to again, for the umpteenth time, get back to Watergate, what did the president know, and when did he know it? I mean, I think there’s going to be some real drama behind these hearings when they go public. They may be in primetime, I’m hearing now, which would be quite a political event in 2022.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, we want to thank you so much for being with us, Will Bunch, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, national columnist at The Philadelphia Inquirer_. We’ll link to his pieceswill/ at
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Re: Trump lashes out at Gov. Doug Ducey following certificat

Postby admin » Thu Jan 06, 2022 2:13 am

Is the ‘smoking gun’ in Trump’s Jan. 6 attempted coup hiding in plain sight?
by Will Bunch
The Philadelphia Inquirer
January 3, 2022

While America was preoccupied last week with getting home from the holidays or lining up around the block for COVID-19 testing, there was a bombshell development in the investigation to learn just how far Donald Trump was prepared to go in turning the Capitol Hill chaos of the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection into a coup to end U.S. democracy.

Thanks to a somewhat surprising source — the disgraced former New York police commissioner Bernard Kerik, a Team Trump insider — we now know the name of a document with the potential to become a “smoking gun.” Just its title suggests Trump was planning an unprecedented abuse of presidential power — to use the Big Lie of nonexistent 2020 election fraud to undo the results of a free and fair vote.

On the eve of the one-year anniversary of the insurrection that disrupted Congress and left five people dead or dying, the question that looms large over 2022 is whether the American people will ever get to see this proof, or the other evidence of the 45th president’s involvement in election tampering, in inciting those who violently rioted on Capitol Hill — and whether the endgame was an autocoup to seize power and deny Joe Biden the White House.

According to a letter from Kerik’s attorney, the document is called “DRAFT LETTER FROM POTUS TO SEIZE EVIDENCE IN THE INTEREST OF NATIONAL SECURITY FOR THE 2020 ELECTIONS” — and it’s believed to have been written on Dec. 17, 2020. That was a critical time for the Trump insiders who were accelerating their schemes to deny the presidency to Biden, even after the Democrat won 7 million more popular votes and the Electoral College by a 306-232 margin.

Here’s the catch: While Kerik, a longtime close associate of Trump’s personal attorney Rudolph Giuliani, last week turned over some election-related materials to the House Select Committee tasked with getting to the bottom of Jan. 6, the draft letter from Trump is on a list of records that Kerik is refusing to turn over — claiming that the document is shielded as “attorney work product.” While some legal experts are already throwing cold water on that claim, the reality is that Team Trump has been remarkably successful for months in stonewalling — in keeping both key records and important witnesses out of investigators’ reach. In an echo of Richard Nixon’s Watergate scandal, the future of democracy may hinge on Trump’s ability to thwart the probe.

Understanding why the 12/17/20 document could be a “smoking gun” means understanding where the concept of a national emergency and “seizing evidence,” which could include paper ballots or voting machines from the 2020 election, fits into the growing body of data showing both that an attempted Trump coup was afoot — and why it failed.

First of all, the evidence that Trump had drafted a proposed “National Emergency” letter is completely in sync with last month’s bombshell revelation of a 38-page PowerPoint presentation that circulated among Trump’s inner circle and their allies in Congress just before Jan. 6. The PowerPoint laid out a scenario in which Trump would declare “a National Security Emergency” as a pretense to invalidate electronic voting and possibly prompt lawmakers to award electoral votes to the incumbent president in states that he’d in reality lost.

Of course, Trump didn’t ultimately declare such an emergency. But a series of new revelations has now deepened our understanding of what happened — and, just as important, what didn’t happen — on Jan. 6, and thus shed a lot of light on just how close America came to a full-blown coup attempt.

Ryan Goodman
I was on @allinwithchris
Topic: Our @just_security research on reasons for delay on National Guard on Jan. 6 / Pentagon concern Trump would invoke Insurrection Act, re-mission Guard.
Sharp points by @chrislhayes here on how exactly Trump could've used to shut down certification.
Chris Hayes: The highest levels of leadership at the Department of Defense are concerned that if the National Guard is brought in to back up the Capitol Police and MPD who are there being set upon by the mob, the President is ultimately their Commander and can say, "The new mission is, you must clear the Capitol of everyone; we're not doing the electoral stuff today; everyone go home." And then you have something that we've never encountered before.

Ryan Goodman: That's right. It's a Constitutional coup. And that's exactly what he could do. He could say, "We're locking everything down; we have to lock it down until we figure out what's going on here." Right? That was the goal. We know that's the goal. He wanted to delay the certification at a minimum so that he could have tried to effectuate it that very way.

Chris Hayes: And in fact, all different players in this are understanding that. Ruben Gallego is on the record saying that he told his fellow members of Congress, "Look, don't get on the buses and leave, because that's how a coup happens." We know that Mike Pence essentially refused to leave the building. And I think all those different folks: DOD, Mike Pence, Ruben Gallego, all of those people understand the President of the United States wants to stop the transfer of power, and if he can get everyone out of the building, then maybe he can do it.

Ryan Goodman: That's right. And that's why you even have on the phone Mitch McConnell with the Secretary of Defense later in the day saying, "We need this cleared; we are getting back to work so that everybody can continue to perform their duties and transfer power to the next President."

[Chris Hayes] Ryan Goodman who did some great work and you can check it out over at JustSecurity. Thank you very much.

9:10 AM. Dec 23, 2021

Nearly one year ago, there were a lot of loose threads about the events of Jan. 6 — and the violence that disrupted but didn’t prevent the official certification of Biden’s election victory — that didn’t seem to add up. Why was the Capitol so lightly defended, and why didn’t National Guard troops respond for hours as the building was overrun? Why didn’t the most militant groups, like the Oath Keepers, fight harder once the Capitol had been breached, and what was Trump himself doing as he watched the events unfold?

Now we know that learning what was happening behind the scenes at the Pentagon, which has operational control over the National Guard in Washington, D.C., may be the critical link to understanding how Trump’s inner circle thought it could stop the certification of Biden, and why it ultimately could not. A tell came exactly one year ago on Jan. 3, 2021, with a stunning op-ed from all 10 living ex-Pentagon chiefs warning against a role for the military in the election.

The former Pentagon chiefs issued their warning Sunday evening in an opinion piece that they co-wrote and published in The Washington Post. Its authors include Trump’s two former defense secretaries, Jim Mattis and Mark T. Esper, as well as each surviving, Senate-confirmed Pentagon chief dating back to Donald H. Rumsfeld in the 1970s....

The article brings together a group of Republicans and Democrats who disagree on many national security issues. Its genesis is a conversation between Eric Edelman, a former U.S. ambassador and defense official, and former vice president and defense secretary Richard B. Cheney about how the military might be used in coming days, Edelman said in an interview....

Edelman, who was among a group of Republicans who endorsed President-elect Joe Biden over Trump, said that after Cheney expressed interest in co-authoring an opinion piece, Edelman solicited participation from other former defense secretaries, and wrote a draft of the article along with Eliot Cohen, a former Republican national security official who is dean of the Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies....

-- The time to question election results has passed, all living former defense secretaries say, by Dan Lamothe, Jan 3, 2021, Washington Post

This came after Trump spent the weeks after Election Day replacing many Pentagon higher-ups with hard-core loyalists. But we now know the Joint Chiefs chair, Gen. Mark Milley, and the permanent military brass worked hard to make sure the National Guard didn’t get involved on Jan. 6 — thus blocking any chance troops would support a coup, yet also raising understandable questions why they didn’t quickly respond to violent pro-Trump insurrectionists.

Trump wouldn’t invoke the Insurrection Act against his own people — but his team fully expected bloody clashes with left-wing counterprotesters whom POTUS 45 had been pumping up as a threat for weeks. We now know, from the House investigation, that Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows stated in an email on Jan. 5 that the Guard was expected to act to “protect” pro-Trump demonstrators. Likewise, hard-core armed members of the militarized Oath Keepers were making plans to wait in a staging area in an Arlington motel.

Scott MacFarlane
One year ago at this moment: Accused OathKeeper conspirator allegedly sent message recommending a Ballston Virginia hotel. Feds say that hotel was where some defendants stashed guns for a "quick reaction force," if Trump invoked the Insurrection Act on Jan 6.
"Here is the direct number for Comfort Inn Ballston/Arlington 1-[DELETE]. I strongly recommend you guys get one or two rooms for a night or two. Arrive 5th, depart 7th will work. She says there are five of you including a husband and wife new recruits. This time of year especially you will need to be indoors to set up, etc. Really, press this home, just get somebody to put it on a credit card. Even if you tell the hotel its double occupancy, you can STILL put a couple of people on the floor with bedrolls and the hotel won't know shit. Paul said he might be able to take one or two in his room as well. I spoke to the hotel last night (actually 2 a.m. this morning) and they still had rooms. This is a good location and would allow us to ...

11:10 AM Jan 1, 2022

What were Meadows, the Guard, Trump’s embedded allies in the Pentagon, and the Oath Keepers all waiting for? Presumably what they’d seen throughout 2020, peaking with mayhem in D.C. streets during a kind of trial run on Dec. 12, 2020 — violent clashes between Trumpists and left-wing counterprotesters. But leftists smartly stayed home on Jan. 6, egged on by a social media hashtag #DontTakeTheBait. Lacking the expected trigger for invoking the Insurrection Act and perhaps declaring a “national emergency,” both Trump and the Pentagon-led National Guard both were AWOL for hours.

Until now, little has been made public that would tie these schemes to invoke the Insurrection Act directly to Trump — instead connecting allies like Meadows and ad hoc advisers like the ex-Army colonel and psyops specialist Phil Waldron, likely author of the PowerPoint. That’s why the draft letter described last week by Kerik should be seen as a potential “smoking gun,” because it would prove that Trump was personally involved in the planning for a scenario that could have shut down the Capitol on Jan. 6.

And evidence that Trump himself was an active participant in a plot that saw the disruption of Congress, and its Electoral College certification, on Jan. 6 as its ultimate goal would also, legal experts argue, place the ex-president in the middle of a felony conspiracy scheme. Indeed, a key figure on the House Select Committee — the rogue Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming — recently pointed specifically to Trump’s known or potential actions on Jan. 6 in the context of the federal law against impeding Congress.

This shows why 2022 looks to be such a critical year in the history of the United States. Trump and his associates are planning to spend the next 12 months hoping to obstruct Congress — much as Trump became skillful in blocking probes of his shady real estate or financial practices, with a web of lawsuits and outrageous claims. Although sitting presidents have the justified right to shield some of their sensitive White House communications, the current claims by Trump hangers-on — like Kerik, for example — of broad legal or executive privileges for who weren’t even part of the administration are absurd.

In the landmark, unanimous 1974 ruling in the United States v. Richard Nixon that started the chain of events that led to the 37th president’s resignation, the Supreme Court weakened the power of executive privilege claims in matters like a criminal trial when the desired secrecy doesn’t serve the wider public interest. That ruling is credited with steering America through a perilous moment. In 2022, the high court will likely be called on again, but decades of politicization feeding into Trump’s naming of three of the nine justices makes confidence more shaky.

I don’t want to be overly melodramatic, and God knows there are other ongoing crises in America — COVID-19, climate change, gun violence — but whether the Supreme Court ultimately allows the public to see what the former president knew about Jan. 6, and when he knew it, could decide whether we’ll keep the republic for much longer.

In 1974, the Supreme Court’s bipartisan resolve allowed the public to finally hear Watergate’s “smoking gun” — a White House tape confirming what had been long suspected, that Nixon abused his power as president over the CIA and FBI to rein in probes of that affair. In 2022, whether the public can read “DRAFT LETTER FROM POTUS TO SEIZE EVIDENCE IN THE INTEREST OF NATIONAL SECURITY FOR THE 2020 ELECTIONS” will again decide whether the president is completely above the law, and whether planning for what amounts to a 2024 version of the coup can proceed. For the sake of our democracy, secrecy is not an option.

Will Bunch
I'm the national columnist — with some strong opinions about what's happening in America around social injustice, income inequality and the government.
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