MTG touts climate change ‘benefits’ while bizarrely claiming no one can see Jan. 6 video footage

You may not have heard of Right Side Broadcasting Network, and if that’s the case—congratulations! You live a rich, full life unadulterated by brain weevils. Obviously, you’re not part of the network’s target demographic, which appears to consist almost entirely of Scott Baio getting shambolically drunk on Boone’s Farm.

But what the network lacks in gravitas it more than makes up for in goofy-ass displays of meretricious nonsense. Enter the ever-benighted Marjorie Taylor Greene, Georgia’s modest contribution to our slow-rolling apocalypse.

In a recent interview with RSBN’s Brian Glenn, Greene was so gobsmackingly weird, for a moment I thought my Jewish space LASIK surgery was making me hallucinate.

Watch: 

“I thought the Capitol was the most secure building in our country ... There are lots of cameras, but you can’t see the video footage. I don’t know why you can’t.” — Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), who apparently missed the January 6th committee’s first public hearing pic.twitter.com/OSzcEZhcow

— The Recount (@therecount) June 13, 2022

Transcript!

GREENE: “My third day on the job, the Capitol gets breached and then they blame me and President Trump and many other Republican members of Congress for doing it. I was so shocked, and I’ll tell you what was so shocking, I thought the Capitol was the most secure building in our country at least.”

GLENN: “Right, with thousands of cameras.”

GREENE: “Well, there are lots of cameras, but you can’t see the video footage. I don’t know why you can’t ....”

And in case you haven’t been waterboarded recently, here’s the full hour-plus interview

So how does one respond to this? 

For one thing, there is video footage of the attack—including lots of Capitol security footage—and it’s definitely viewable to anyone who cares to look at it. For instance, there’s this NBC News video from Trump’s second impeachment, helpfully titled “Impeachment Managers Show New Graphic Security Footage Of Capitol Riot”:

Meanwhile, Greene is also convinced that humans aren’t actually hurting the planet by burning fossil fuels—we’re enhancing it! Think of it as our new, improved operating system, Earth 2.0—only without all the usual bugs. No, really. There will be no bugs. They can’t possibly survive what’s coming. Earth 2.0 will be a fungus-and-lungfish paradise, which gives MTG a fighting chance, come to think of it.

Marge Greene presents her scientific argument why global warming is a good thing: “This earth warming and carbon is actually healthy for us.” pic.twitter.com/fw5DMMeSJN

— Ron Filipkowski 🇺🇦 (@RonFilipkowski) June 13, 2022

Transcript:

GREENE: “We’ve already warmed 1 degree Celsius, and do you know what’s happened since then? Here, let me tell you. We have had more food grown since then, which feeds people. We are able to, producing fossil fuels, keep people’s houses warm in the winter. That saves people’s lives. People die in the cold. This Earth warming and carbon is actually healthy for us. It helps us to feed people, it helps keep people alive. … The Earth is more green than it was years and years ago, and that’s because of the Earth warming, that’s because of carbon.”

Uh huh. People do die in the cold, and those deaths are strongly correlated with both climate change and Ted Cruz wearing flip-flops in airports. Meanwhile, plenty of people also die in the heat, but never mind those jabronis.

In January 2021—with a big assist from our worst-ever president—Georgia was kind enough to gift us two Democratic U.S. senators. They also gave us this moist, quavering mound of peach tree-dish detritus.

Do better, Georgia. You can start by making wiser choices this November.

Check out Aldous J. Pennyfarthing’s four-volume Trump-trashing compendium, including the finale, Goodbye, Asshat: 101 Farewell Letters to Donald Trump, at this link. Or, if you prefer a test drive, you can download the epilogue to Goodbye, Asshat for the low, low price of FREE.

We talk to gun control advocate and executive director of Guns Down America, Igor Volsky on Daily Kos' The Brief podcast

LIVE: Follow along with the Jan. 6 committee hearings

The Jan. 6 committee launches its public hearings tonight. For the first hearing—a total of six are currently slated—the panel is expected to present its findings to the American public about former President Donald Trump’s role in a scheme to overturn the 2020 election and more specifically, how extremist elements were involved in efforts to stop the peaceful transfer of power. 

Daily Kos will post live updates from tonight’s hearing starting at 8 PM ET.

Watch live here:

For in-depth information about the committee’s investigation so far, check out the related story links below. There’s a BIG Guide to help you stay on top of who’s who plus Daily Kos interviews with one of the committee’s first witnesses as well as members of law enforcement who fought off the mob on Jan. 6. 

The next hearing is scheduled for June 13 at 10 PM ET. Additional hearings are expected on June 15 at 10 PM ET. and June 16 at 1 PM ET. A time for the June 21 hearing has not yet been confirmed.  A final presentation is anticipated on June 23 and that hearing will be in primetime, like tonight, at 8 PM. 

Witnesses on Thursday night are filmmaker Nick Quested, who embedded with the Proud Boys in the lead-up to Jan. 6, and U.S. Capitol Police officer Caroline Edwards, who suffered a traumatic brain injury after being assaulted by members of the mob. 

New video footage from Jan. 6 is expected to be released during tonight’s hearing, putting the extremist elements that were at play that day in sharp relief. Heavy attention will likely be paid to the speech that Trump delivered from the Ellipse as well. It was those remarks that earned him his second impeachment for incitement of insurrection. 

Next week, witnesses reportedly in the mix include Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who once fielded a call from Trump to “find” 11,000 votes so he could beat now-President Joe Biden’s victory in that state. Members of former Vice President Mike Pence’s office, including onetime chief of staff Marc Short and former chief counsel Greg Jacob, have been invited to testify. Other witnesses reportedly invited include officials who worked at the Department of Justice under Trump, including Jeffrey Rosen and Richard Donoghue. More details to come on that in the days ahead.

RELATED: Jan. 6 public hearings begin, Daily Kos interviews witness Nick Quested

RELATED: The BIG Guide: Who’s who in the Jan. 6 committee’s investigation

RELATED: Three Big Lies about Jan. 6: A quick fact check

RELATED: Exclusive: USCP Officer Harry Dunn shares notes, personal artifacts of the insurrection

RELATED: Reflections on the Jan. 6 insurrection from U.S. Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn

RELATED: Capitol Police Sergeant Gonnell talks about Jan. 6 hearings and what really happened that day 

Thursday, Jun 9, 2022 · 11:36:04 PM +00:00 · Brandi Buchman

We are roughly a half-hour away from tonight’s hearing.

I will post updates here and on Twitter tonight. Don’t forget to follow Daily Kos!

Thursday, Jun 9, 2022 · 11:57:40 PM +00:00 · Brandi Buchman

The hearing will get underway tonight at 8:02:30 PM ET, if you take CSPAN’s word for it—and since they are the only cameras in the room tonight, we will. Live updates to post soon.

Thursday, Jun 9, 2022 · 11:59:10 PM +00:00 · Brandi Buchman

USCP Officer Harry Dunn is in the chamber tonight: 

Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn is here and delivering a not so subtle message. pic.twitter.com/EBonZOV4fo

— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) June 9, 2022

Friday, Jun 10, 2022 · 12:01:59 AM +00:00 · Brandi Buchman

The members of the committee have entered the chamber and are taking their seats.

Friday, Jun 10, 2022 · 12:04:18 AM +00:00 · Brandi Buchman

Chairman Bennie Thompson begins tonights hearing by thanking everyone for their attention. 

“I’m Bennie Thompson, chairman of the Jan. 6 Committee, I was born raised and still lived in Bolton, Mississippi,” he says, explaining his background, a part of the country where people justify the actions of slavery, the KKK and lynching. 

“I'm reminded of that dark history as I hear voices today try to justify the actions of the insurrectionists on Jan. 6, 2021,” Thompson says.

Friday, Jun 10, 2022 · 12:08:57 AM +00:00 · Brandi Buchman

In his opening remarks this evening, Chairman Thompson outlines how in 1862, after citizens took up arms against the country, Congress adopted a new oath that no person who supported a rebellion could hold an office of public trust. Members swear an oath to protect the Constitution from all enemies, foreign and domestic. 

He praises the officers who defended the Capitol on Jan. 6. 

They did this to defend “your vote,” Thompson said, to protect the peaceful transfer of power. 

Friday, Jun 10, 2022 · 12:16:35 AM +00:00 · Brandi Buchman

Chairman Thompson says the truth must be confronted with resolve and determination and delivers a barn-burner of a speech. He has made it plain what the committee believes it has uncovered: overwhelming evidence that the 45th president attempted to overthrow the election. We move now to remarks from Rep. Liz Cheney, the vice chair of the committee. She is just one of two Republicans, including Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger.

Friday, Jun 10, 2022 · 12:23:24 AM +00:00 · Brandi Buchman

In her opening remarks, vicechair Liz Cheney says that the public will hear extensive evidence tonight and in the coming weeks about the overarching conspiracy by Trump to overturn the 2020 election 

Cheney: "Jan. 6 was not a spontaneous incident." Intelligence has revealed that this was a well-orchestrated plan. The committee will identify elements of those plans and will show how Proud Boys led a mob into the Capitol on Jan. 6”
She continued: “On the morning of Jan. 6, President Donald Trump's intention was to remain POTUS despite the lawful outcome of the 2020 election and in violation of his constitutional obligation to relinquish power.”
Over multiple months, Donald Trump oversaw and coordinated a sophisticated 7-part plan to overturn the election and prevent a presidential transfer of power.
In the 2nd hearing, evidence will be shown demonstrating how Trump knew he lost the election but he perpetrated fraud, they argue, by promoting the lie that he won.
Friday, Jun 10, 2022 · 12:26:03 AM +00:00 · Brandi Buchman

Recorded deposition from Attorney General Bill Barr: 

WATCH: Attorney General Barr declares that Donald Trump lost the Presidential election in 2020. There is no doubt that the American people voted Trump out of office and the Select Committee has found no evidence of election fraud. pic.twitter.com/qa5qNyMXqS

— January 6th Committee (@January6thCmte) June 10, 2022

Friday, Jun 10, 2022 · 12:30:10 AM +00:00 · Brandi Buchman

In a recorded deposition of Ivanka Trump before the Jan. 6 Cmte where she faced questions about AG’s Barr's conclusion of no widespread fraud, she says Barr's determination "affected her perspective.

"I accepted what he was saying," Ivanka Trump said.

Thursday, Jun 9, 2022 · 10:37:04 PM +00:00 · April Siese

In an excerpt of his opening statement for tonight's @January6thCmte hearings, chair Bennie Thompson says what happened cannot be swept under the rug and that he appears tonight as an American first and one who swore to protect the Constitution. pic.twitter.com/pGX4BxScg1

— Brandi Buchman (@Brandi_Buchman) June 9, 2022

Finally: The January 6 Committee hearings kick off this week. Details inside.

This week the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol will commence its public hearings on Thursday, June 9 at 8 p.m. ET beginning what will be a month-long presentation of evidence that congressional investigators have compiled through extensive interviews with key witnesses to the violent insurrection incited by former President Donald Trump.

Hearings will be televised and streamed online and will feature live witness testimony, new and unseen video footage, and previously-recorded interviews with members of Trump’s innermost circle and reportedly, members of his family including his daughter Ivanka Trump, son-in-law-turned-White House adviser, Jared Kushner, and others.

On the path to this moment, investigators have amassed over 125,000 pages of records and hundreds of hours of deposition. Many records were obtained voluntarily, while others were only secured after hard-fought but critically victorious legal battles against Trump and his entourage of lawyers, campaign and administration staff, so-called “alternate electors,” and other allies like right-wing conspiracy theory peddlers and members of extremist hate groups like the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers.

Committee investigator, constitutional scholar, and Representative Jamie Raskin, a Maryland Democrat, described the probe’s findings to this Daily Kos reporter recently:

“This was a coup that was orchestrated by the president against the vice president and against the Congress,” he said.

“The insurrection is only comprehensible when you understand that it was unleashed as a way to assist this political coup, this inside political coup. Donald Trump and his entourage had been looking for ways to overthrow the 2020 presidential election results for months.”

RELATED STORY: Tick-tock: A timeline of the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol

The hearings begin June 9 at 8 p.m. ET. The next hearings will be held at 10 a.m. on June 13th, 15th, 16th, and 21st. The final anticipated session will unfold on June 23rd at 8 p.m. ET. Daily Kos will offer up-to-the-minute coverage of each hearing on its front page as well as on Twitter.

For the first hearing, the violence that exploded at the U.S. Capitol on January 6 will be put into whip-sharp relief as the committee is expected to introduce the broad strokes of a plot that its members say was orchestrated by the former president to stop the nation’s transfer of power after he lost the popular and Electoral College vote to Joe Biden in 2020.

Other hearings will zero in on how that plot was navigated including through the use of bogus electors in key battleground states. It is expected that the committee will explore the nuances behind the concerted pressure campaign foisted on then-Vice President Mike Pence to stop the counting of votes by Congress on Jan. 6 despite a lack of constitutional authority to do so.

On Jan. 6, many in the crowd hoisted banners and flags identifying membership or support for known extremist groups and movements like the anti-government, white supremacy drenched militia movement known as Three Percenters. 

Trump’s private conduct in the White House on the day of the insurrection, which reportedly included him vocalizing support for those clamoring to “Hang Mike Pence,” will also come under the magnifying glass.

RELATED STORY: Jan. 6 Committee: During Capitol attack, Trump reportedly approved of Hang Mike Pence chants

As a result of the Jan. 6 attack, five people died. Hundreds of police officers were assaulted. More than $1 million in damages were inflicted to the Capitol building alone. The committee, as it has made clear since its inception, does not have the power to prosecute anyone, It only has the power to investigate and legislate.

A final report with legislative recommendations will be issued this September.

What those recommendations will look like exactly is uncertain for now, but the committee has said repeatedly over the last 11 months that its plan is to beef up all available legislative firewalls against would-be usurpers of the nation’s peaceful, democratic process.

Important to note is that a criminal referral of Trump by the committee to the Department of Justice has not been ruled out as of yet.

The department has slogged through its own Jan. 6 investigation for more than a year, arresting over 800 people for a sprawling number of crimes including seditious conspiracy. It has also opened up a number of grand juries—special or otherwise—to weigh indictments for key Trump-tethered figures.

The DOJ recently refused to indict Trump’s former chief of staff Mark Meadows and aide Dan Scavino for contempt of congress following their respective defiance of initial subpoenas. The decision was announced late Friday and left committee chairman Bennie Thompson and vice-chair, Liz Cheney, “puzzled.”

“If the department’s position is that either or both of these men have absolute immunity, from appearing before Congress because of their former positions in the Trump administration, that question is the focus of pending litigation,” Thompson and Cheney said in a June 3 statement.

U.S. prosecutors did, however, indict Steve Bannon, Trump’s short-lived White House strategist as well as Trump’s trade adviser Peter Navarro.

Meadows cooperated in part, giving the committee a plethora of text messages and other correspondence, only some of which has been made public prior to the hearings. Those messages demonstrated how Meadows was at the center of a storm of election fraud conspiracy and legally dubious strategies proposed to keep Trump in office well after his defeat.

Meadows was also the touchstone for an onslaught of panicked presidential allies, who, records have revealed, begged for Trump to quell the violence during a staggering 187-minutes of silence from the Oval Office as the mob raged, lawmakers fled and blood was spilled.

Scavino cooperated with the committee in part, haggling for weeks over executive privilege concerns. Bannon and Navarro, however, flatly refused to cooperate. Bannon’s executive privilege claims started on shaky ground: at the time of the insurrection, he was years removed from Trump’s formal employ though he was still well embedded with the administration.

Navarro was officially-entrenched until the end and though he argues executive privilege should bar his compliance with the select committee, federal prosecutors disagree. Bannon goes to trial in July. Navarro’s next moves will be hashed out in court following his arrest last week.

How his case progresses will warrant close attention since prosecutors have taken the slightly unusual step of asking Navarro to not only produce records first meant for the committee but other specific communications from Trump, in particular. This could signify that Trump is under investigation by the department directly.  

The DOJ has reportedly requested transcripts of the committee’s interviews as well, a resource that could bolster the department’s collection of evidence for any possible ongoing civil or criminal cases.

RELATED STORY: Navarro indicted on two counts of contempt of congress

The witness list for the public hearings is evolving even now, as are the exact details of its presentations.

Members of Pence’s staff including counsel Greg Jacob and aide Marc Short have been invited to testify. So too has Michael Luttig and Luttig is expected to appear.

It was Luttig’s advice, as a former federal judge, that Pence relied on when Pence announced mere minutes before Congress was set to convene on Jan. 6 that he would not and could not “claim the unilateral authority to determine which electoral votes should be counted and which should not.”

Pence Letter Jan 6 2021 by Daily Kos on Scribd

Luttig is considered an expert on the Constitutional process and, crucially, the Electoral Count Act, the very legislation that his former clerk-turned-consigliere for Trump John Eastman sought to unwind when Eastman authored a memo proposing a six-point strategy to overturn the election.

Eastman Memo by Daily Kos

RELATED STORY: New memo offers look into Pence’s preparation for Jan. 6

As for the former vice president, he is not expected to testify.

Short and Jacob’s testimony will be useful to set the scene for the public: Both men were present for a Jan. 4, 2021 meeting when Eastman presented the strategy to have Pence stop the count.

Other possible witnesses include Cassidy Hutchinson, a senior aide to Meadows who sat with the committee privately on multiple occasions. Legal records revealed in April that Hutchinson told investigators Meadows was warned of violence looming over Washington prior to Jan. 6. 

Hutchinson testified too that several lawmakers, including Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio, Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Paul Gosar of Arizona, Mo Brooks, of Alabama and Matt Gaetz of Florida, among others were integral forces n the public and private pushes to advance the unconstitutional alternate elector scheme.

Former DOJ officials Jeffrey Rosen or Richard Donoghue may also testify.

Rosen, once the acting attorney general under Trump, told oversight and judiciary committees in both the House and Senate last summer that he was pressured by Trump’s allies at the DOJ—namely, Rosen’s subordinate, Jeffrey Clark—to issue a public statement saying the FBI found evidence of voter fraud in various states. The draft was proposed during a meeting just after Christmas 2020.

Richard Donoghue, Rosen’s deputy, took contemporaneous notes from that call with Trump.

“Just say that the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the R. congressman,” Donoghue wrote of Trump’s remarks.

Notes were taken by Richard Donoghue during a Dec. 27, 2020 call with Trump. 

When the committee’s held its first-ever public hearing last July, it heard visceral testimony from a handful of police officers who fought off the mob for hours.

Several officers injured have only recently made significant gains in their physical recovery efforts, like U.S. Capitol Police Staff Sergeant Aquilino Gonnell.

Still can’t even them out. Scar tissues prevent me from doing some range of motions. Nevertheless it’s Still progress. Three weeks ago I couldn’t do this. pic.twitter.com/kf9TucCnls

— Staff Sergeant Gonell, Aquilino (@SergeantAqGo) March 25, 2022

Others are still working through the post-traumatic stress.

U.S. Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn, who dealt with a barrage of racial slurs and physical attacks on Jan. 6, has been vocal about the need for officers to receive therapy. A year after the attack, Dunn has kept up that messaging as well as demands for accountability and transparency as he continues to work on the Hill surrounded by the memories of that fateful day.

RELATED STORY: Exclusive: USCP Officer Harry Dunn shares notes, personal artifacts from Jan. 6

January 6 Committee members from left to right Reps. Zoe Lofgren, D-CA, Bennie Thompson, D-MS, and Liz Cheney, R-WY.

As the hearings get underway, there is counterprogramming expected from the committee’s most staunch opponents.

Axios reported an exclusive scoop in advance of the committee hearings that House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy and Republican Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio and Elise Stefanik of New York will lead the counterprogramming efforts publicly. Matt Schlapp, Trump’s onetime political director and now chairman of the powerful Conservative Political Action Committee, is reportedly in charge behind the scenes. 

Jordan, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, is one of Trump’s most loyal lapdogs in Congress. During the former president’s first impeachment inquiry, the congressman used every opportunity during proceedings to throw witness interviews off track or demean their testimony.

When McCarthy nominated Jordan to serve on one of the first iterations of the committee to investigate Jan. 6, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi—per rules of a founding resolution—refused to seat Jordan. The California Democrat also refused to seat another one of McCarthy’s picks, Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana.

Pelosi accepted other Republican nominees put forward by McCarthy but Jordan and Banks had a track record that proved too divisive to be seriously considered. Both legislators had promoted Trump’s claims of election fraud openly and vociferously. Both voted to overturn the results. Both vowed before the committee was even formed, that they would use the opportunity to explore how Democrats were to blame for security lapses on Jan. 6. They also sought to equate the violence of Jan. 6 with racial justice protests that dotted the nation after the police killing of George Floyd. 

Negotiations for the committee stretched for more than a month and included moderate Democrats and Republicans in the process. 

But when Jordan and Banks were skipped over for seats on what would have been a truly bipartisan committee with five Democrats and five Republicans sharing equal subpoena powers, McCarthy abruptly ended all negotiations.

The select committee was formed not long after. This time, its resolution established it would have nine members including seven Democrats and two Republicans. The only two Republicans that would participate on the committee were Cheney and Rep. Adam Kinzinger. Kinzinger is not seeking reelection. 

As for Stefanik, her rapid ascent in the GOP will undoubtedly be underlined this month. Since her effective anointment by GOP Leader McCarthy to replace Liz Cheney as the party’s conference chair, the New York Republican has tirelessly echoed Trump’s cries of “witch hunt” whenever his conduct comes up for review or the events of Jan. 6 are discussed. 

The counterprogramming will largely be a continuation of the meritless arguments and legal theories Trump’s allies have advanced in various court battles where they have sought to evade congressional subpoenas for their records and testimony. McCarthy, Jordan, Brooks, Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona, and Scott Perry of Pennsylvania have all received subpoenas from the select committee. 
Despite many of those same lawmakers admitting publicly to having conversations with Trump at critical times before, during, or after the insurrection, none agreed to come forward, either voluntarily or under force of subpoena. 
McCarthy and the rest will staunchly defend the former president by presenting the easily-debunked argument that the committee was not properly formed and its members, as such, illegally empowered. That is not so, according to the U.S. Supreme Court and lower courts that have ruled, again and again, in favor of the committee’s standing as well as its pursuit of information relevant to its probe.
The select committee has been recognized not only as a valid legislative body but also as a properly formed one thanks to its binding resolution that was afforded the protocols necessary before a final vote in the full House of Representatives was held.
 The House voted last June, 222-190, to establish the select committee. 
Last month, Vox obtained a copy of a strategy memo prepared by the Republican National Committee for its members and operatives to use as the Jan. 6 hearings are underway.
One goal allegedly listed was to push the message that “Democrats are the real election deniers” and that “Trump’s requests” this month to his “surrogates” should shape coverage on friendly media networks. 
Though the endgame for Republicans during the hearings will largely be to deflect and distract, the committee’s sessions will be followed by a long summer with the events of Jan. 6 still in focus: Bannon goes to trial in July to face his contempt charge and members of the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers facing seditious conspiracy charges (and other allegations) are slated to meet jurors in July and September, respectively.  
While Trump and his cohorts are spinning, President Joe Biden is expected to keep somewhat of a distance from the spectacle of the proceedings. 
He waived executive privilege over Trump’s presidential records related to Jan. 6 and on the record has been measured in his response to the select committee’s function and work. Politico reported Sunday that a former official suggested anonymously that Biden’s team would likely reconsider the hands-off approach if the counterprogramming billows out of control. 

At least one Republican,  the former Representative for Virginia, Denver Riggleman, has thrown his support behind the hearings and then some. Riggleman has been an adviser to the committee for several months. 

He told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Sunday that the hearings would be a refreshing and unique change from the typical congressional committee hearing setting where Republicans and Democrats are often locked into partisan bickering and waste valuable time trying to course-correct. 

“There’s not going to be a lot partisan whining and screaming,” Riggleman said. 

Rep. Raskin told Daily Kos in April that he believed the committee hearings would, at the very least, empower voters with “intellectual self-defense against the authoritarian and fascistic policies that have been unleashed in this country.”

Time, which is now running out, will tell. 

Protesters enter the Senate Chamber on Jan. 6 during a joint session to ratify President-elect Joe Biden's 306-232 Electoral College win over President Donald Trump, nearly the same exact margin that Trump had when he won over his opponent in the 2016 election, Hillary Clinton.

Trio of Republican lawmakers called up before Jan. 6 committee

Seeking information about their alleged roles in events that led up to the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, the select committee probing the insurrection has now called on Republican Reps. Andy Biggs of Arizona, Mo Brooks of Alabama, and Ronny Jackson of Texas, to cooperate. 

The committee wants Biggs to face multiple questions, including those involving right-wing conspiracy theorist Ali Alexander and Alexander’s claim that Biggs was just one of a handful of sitting lawmakers whoactively worked to stop the peaceful transfer of power. 

Rep. Mo Brooks, who took the stage before Trump incited the mob and called on people to “fight like hell,” is again under the microscope for his remarks. This time, it was a public admission he made while running for the Senate. Brooks declared in March that Trump demanded he overturn the 2020 election. 

And in arguably the most troubling letter the committee issued Monday, in its request to Rep. Ronny Jackson, investigators asked the Texas Republican to pry back the curtain on his potential ties to the extremist Oath Keepers group and its members currently facing trial for seditious conspiracy. 

The requests come as the committee verges on resuming its public hearings on June 9, but they are not formal subpoenas. Investigators have historically aired on the side of caution when it comes to forcing compliance with their congressional colleagues. They have cited concerns over lengthy legal battles they anticipate they would face as the clock on the probe runs down. 

But they have not ruled this option out altogether. Before Monday, previous requests were sent to Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio and Scott Perry of Pennsylvania. Both have refused to cooperate. 

According to investigators, Biggs is taking front row and center now for several reasons, chief among them his alleged relationship with right-wing conspiracy theorist Ali Alexander. 

Last December, over a series of live streams, Alexander boasted that the ‘Stop the Steal’ movement he founded was receiving help from Biggs, then the chair of the House Freedom Caucus. 

Alexander also named Reps. Paul Gosar of Arizona and Mo Brooks of Alabama as instrumental facilitators. 

“We’re the four guys who came up with a Jan. 6 event,” Alexander said in one since-deleted video. 

In another video, as noted by The New York Times, Alexander said:

“We four schemed up putting maximum pressure on Congress while they were voting so that who we couldn’t lobby, we could change the hearts and the minds of Republicans who were in that body, hearing our loud roar from outside,” he said.

Biggs has denied ever meeting with Alexander or talking to him. Biggs did not immediately return a request for comment to Daily Kos on Monday.

Alexander, however, has cooperated with the Jan. 6 committee—along with more than 800 other people—and turned over several records. 

In April, he agreed to appear before a federal grand jury after receiving a subpoena for testimony relevant to the Justice Department’s investigation of Jan. 6.

The right-wing bombast has been mum about details of his cooperation, and when talking to the press, his attorney has underlined Alexander’s disavowal of the violence that unfolded. 

Investigators also want to question Biggs about his conduct on Dec. 21 at the White House where he and other House Freedom Caucus members attended an in-person and prominently advertised meeting with Trump. 

Trump’s then-chief-of-staff Mark Meadows boosted the signal after the meeting, noting he and other attendees were “preparing to fight back against mounting evidence of voter fraud.”

Several members of Congress just finished a meeting in the Oval Office with President @realDonaldTrump, preparing to fight back against mounting evidence of voter fraud. Stay tuned.

— Mark Meadows (@MarkMeadows) December 21, 2020

That meeting, according to the testimony already obtained by the committee, centered on the role then-Vice President Mike Pence could play if he would abandon his constitutional role during certification.

“As you may be aware, a federal judge… recently concluded that President Trump’s effort to pressure the vice president to refuse to count electoral votes likely violated two provisions of federal criminal law,” the committee wrote Monday, referencing a ruling from a federal judge in California.

In that ruling, the committee successfully obtained access to emails from conservative attorney John Eastman, the author of the six-point memo strategizing how to stop the certification. 

Biggs could also answer questions about his push to see “alternate electors” installed for the count. In a text message to Meadows on Nov. 6—just three days after the election and before results were finalized—the Arizona Republican was already pushing a proposal to get Trump’s electors set up in battleground states. 

Biggs acknowledged the scheme was “highly controversial.”

“It can't be much more controversial than the lunacy that we’re sitting out there now. And It would be pretty difficult because he would take governors and legislators with collective will and backbone to do that. Is anybody on the team researching and considering lobbying for that?" Biggs wrote.

Meadows replied: “I love it.”

In the end, election fraud was not found in Arizona or elsewhere. 

There’s also a push by the committee to learn more about a reported effort by House Republicans angling for presidential pardons after Jan. 6.

The committee disclosed Monday that White House personnel have already testified about the issue.

Just ahead of President Joe Biden’s inauguration, it was widely reported that Trump seriously entertained issuing pardons for those tied up in crimes related to Jan. 6. In February, Politico reported that two people familiar with the discussions, including an adviser to Trump, said Trump was worried about possible criminal charges. 

“Is it everybody that had a Trump sign, or everybody who walked into the Capitol” who could be pardoned? Trump reportedly asked. 

The 45th president believed if he pardoned people, they would “never have to testify or be deposed.”

Trump ended up abandoning the idea when he was informed it could cause him new legal headaches and fresh campaign finance scrutiny. His impeachment-worn attorney Pat Cipollone also allegedly threatened to resign if Trump went through with the plan. 

Rep. Ronny Jackson on Monday slammed the request, dubbing the committee “illegitimate” and consumed by a “malicious and not substantive” agenda. He also described the investigation as a “ruthless crusade against President Trump and his allies.”

Jackson was particularly irked, he claimed, because the committee did not seek him out privately first, according to CBS. 

A committee spokesperson did not immediately return a request to Daily Kos.

Jackson’s cooperation is being sought because of his potential relationship with Oath Keepers accused of orchestrating a complex, weaponized conspiracy to stop the nation’s peaceful transfer of power on Jan. 6.

Related: Oath Keepers text expose talk of security details for Trump world figures, more Proud Boys ties

Prosecutors revealed last month that in the trove of text messages seized off Oath Keeper devices, the extremist group members discussed providing a personal security detail to Jackson during the attack. 

Critically, the @January6thCmte also calls on Rep. Ronny Jackson to answer questions about why the extremist Oath Keepers, including leader Elmer Rhodes, discussed him in their encrypted chat and their efforts to protect him because he had "critical data to protect" pic.twitter.com/xqMuzD4Xj9

— Brandi Buchman (@Brandi_Buchman) May 2, 2022

“Dr. Ronnie Jackson on the move,” one message from an unidentified person said. “Needs protection. If anyone inside cover him. He has critical data to protect.”

Other users in the chat worried about Jackson, once  the White House physician to Trump. 

“Hopefully they can help Dr. Jackson,” a text at 3:03 p.m. read. 

Rhodes responded two minutes later. 

“Help with what?” he wrote.

Within the same minute, Rhodes replied again. 

“Give him my cell,” he said. 

As for Mo Brooks, the Alabama Republican is being called up to discuss his comments in March when he appeared to lapse in total fealty to Trump. 

Trump dropped his endorsement of Brooks’s senate run following weeks of lethargic polling.

The former president first backed Brooks a full year in advance of the primary. But in that time, Brooks—looking to shore up more moderate Republicans in a tough race—began to backpedal, much to Trump’s ire. 

Brooks voted against certification on Jan. 6 and even campaigned with life-size Trump posters at his side, according to the Associated Press.

But during a pro-Trump rally in Alabama in August 2021, Brooks urged the crowd to forget about the failures of the previous year’s election. 

“There are some people who are despondent about the voter fraud and election theft in 2020. Folks, put that behind you, put that behind you,” Brooks said. 

He was booed and as noted by reporters on-site, he “nearly lost the crowd” before waffling again. 

”All right, well, look back at it, but go forward and take advantage of it. We have got to win in 2022. We’ve got to win in 2024,” Brooks said. 

Oh boy. Mo Brooks suggested, in seriousness, that those in attendance should accept the results of the 2020 election and move on to the next one … needless to say it did not go well and he nearly lost the crowd 😮 pic.twitter.com/1htgV3QAgm

— Ryan Phillips (@JournoRyan) August 22, 2021

All lawmakers have been asked to set up a time to meet with investigators beginning next week. 

Though it was nearly a foregone conclusion that Reps. Jackson, Brooks, and Biggs would not comply, ultimately, the panel has made clear that forcing testimony from some individuals would not make or break the entire probe given the voluminous evidence already collected.

Mike Lee has some explaining to do about Jan. 6

In 2020, when a reporter asked Utah Senator Mike Lee about the extent of his involvement in then President Donald Trump’s push to overturn that year’s election results, Lee chalked up his own investment in the president’s scheme to a benign curiosity. 

His recently published text messages to Trump’s former chief of staff Mark Meadows at the time, however, tell a far different story. The texts appear to show Lee pledging himself to find every “legal and constitutional remedy” to assist Trump’s mission. He was quick with a suggestion—like an audit of ballots in swing states—and stumped for Trump to use conspiracy theory peddling lawyer Sidney Powell to take up the cause in court.

And when Lee received a copy of John Eastman’s memo laying out a scheme to pressure Vice President Mike Pence to overturn the election just four days before the insurrection, he publicly derided it as “ridiculous.”

Yet in private, Lee appeared to strongly advocate for that strategy and lamented the hours he otherwise spent searching for ways to “unravel” a pathway to victory for a clearly defeated president. 

RELATED STORY: Texts show they were all for Trump overturning the election—until a lack of key evidence got in the way

Samuel Benson over at Utah’s Deseret News published an article on Wednesday raising questions—and rightly so—over Lee’s track record of conflicting positions. Benson interviewed Lee at length before and after the assault on the Capitol. 

And when CNN published the text messages, Benson followed up, asking for an interview. Where once Lee was willing to speak on the subject at length, he has now clammed up. Instead, he dispatched his spokesman, Lee Lonsberry, to do damage control. 

Lonsberry told Benson: 

“When Senator Lee reviewed evidence and legal arguments related to the 2020 presidential election, his principal concern was for the law, the Constitution, and especially the more than 150 million Americans who voted in that election. From the moment the electoral college cast its votes in mid-December, he made clear that Joe Biden had won, and would within weeks become the 46th president of the United States absent a court order or state legislative action invalidating electoral votes.”

Further, “once it became clear” to Lee that no states would be rescinding their electoral slates, he told Meadows any effort to reverse the election results would “end badly.” 

Lee, Lonsberry said, just wanted to “let the country move on.”

Lee publicly acknowledged that Biden won the Electoral College on Dec. 14, the final deadline for states to send their slate of electors to the National Archives. But he also delicately couched his statement with a nod to Trump’s “fraud” claims.

There were still  “concerns regarding fraud and irregularities in this election remain active in multiple states,” Lee said at the time.

Then-Attorney General Bill Barr had already declared two weeks earlier there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud. Trump too had been on a losing streak in various courts around the U.S.  as his team of attorneys bumbled through lawsuits demanding election results be thrown out or electors decertified. 

Nevertheless, in the two days after Lee proclaimed Biden was the rightful winner, in a text to Meadows, the Utah Republican was still exploring alternatives. 

“Also, if you want senators to object, we need to hear from you on that ideally getting some guidance on what arguments to raise,” Lee wrote on Dec. 16. 

Right up to Jan. 4, the senator was “calling state legislators for hours” and planning to do the same, or so he told Mark Meadows, on Jan. 5. 

“We need something from state legislatures to make this legitimate and to have any hope of winning. Even if they can't convene, it might be enough if a majority of them are willing to sign a statement indicating how they would vote,” Lee fretted to Meadows just a day before.

In the end, but only after Trump incited a mob that stormed the Capitol and hundreds of police officers—including those sworn to protect Lee and others—were violently assaulted and one woman was killed, Lee voted to certify Biden as the winner. 

In his remarks from the House floor on Jan. 6, Lee said his initial speech for proceedings had looked a little different. But, he said, he would keep his message mostly the same. 

“Our job is open and then count. Open, then count. That’s it. That’s all there is to it,” Lee said of electoral college votes.

He noted how he spent “the last few weeks” meeting with lawyers representing “both sides of the issue” and representing the Trump campaign. 

“I didn’t initially declare my position because I didn’t yet have one,” he added. “I wanted to get the facts first and I wanted to understand what was happening.”

However, when Trump was impeached for incitement of insurrection, Lee voted against it. He could not “condone the horrific violence” of Jan. 6, he said. Lee also said he could not condone Trump’s “words, actions or commissions on that day.” 

“But the fact is that the word incitement has a very specific meaning in the law, and Donald Trump’s words and actions on Jan. 6 fell short of that standard,” Lee remarked before also calling the impeachment a “politically suspicious process.”

Less than six months after the insurrection, Lee also opposed to the formation of a bipartisan commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack. He voted against a bill for a bipartisan commission that was equally divided between five Republicans and five Democrats. Both sides, according to the resolution he opposed, would have had equal subpoena power. 

Lee opposed the bill 24 hours after meeting privately with U.S. Capitol Police officers who were attacked as well as Gladys Sicknick, the mother of U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick. Sicknick died one day after the insurrection. A coroner’s office said Sicknick, 42, experienced multiple strokes. 

Trump’s offer to pardon Jan. 6 insurgents is witness tampering, and it’s not just about Jan. 6

There’s a long perception that Donald Trump makes his living as a real estate developer. However, it’s been clear for a long time that Trump’s major occupation is actually going to court. Even before he announced his candidacy in 2015, Trump had been involved in over 3,500 court cases. That doesn’t just include all the times Trump has sued contractors, or all the times contractors have sued Trump. It includes the 106 charges of money laundering lodged against one Trump casino in just 18 months. It does not include the settlement to end legal proceedings over Trump’s fake university scam, or the settlement over Trump’s fake charity scam, and any of the dozens of legal filings Trump has taken in an effort to keep his taxes hidden. It definitely doesn’t include all the lawsuits Trump has filed in an attempt to prevent information from being revealed from his time in the White House, or the hundreds of lawsuits and appeals his team pushed following the election.

The point is, Trump may not be a lawyer, but there are few attorneys in the nation who have anything like Trump’s level of experience in weaseling out of legal issues. That includes how to threaten, pay off, and generally influence witnesses.

That particular skill was evident during Trump’s first impeachment, and during the whole Trump-Russia investigation, where Trump repeatedly made clear that those who kept their lips zipped would find a nice little bonus. Right, Mr. Manafort? While those who cooperated in any way would be left out to dry. Got that, Mr. Cohen

So when Trump gets on a rally stage and tells Jan. 6 defendants that, should he return to power, a pardon is on the menu for them all, he understands that this influences how those charged in connection with the insurgency will testify. And that message goes out to more than just the people who have already been indicted.

As CNN reports, Trump’s offer to issue pardons is absolutely a form of witness tampering. That would be true even if the people involved thought the odds of Trump getting back in the White House were no better than 50-50, but that’s not the crowd he’s addressing. Trump is making this pitch directly to people involved in Jan. 6—the same crowd who thought he’d be restored to power that day, or on Jan. 20, or in April, or in August, or … soon. The people involved in the pro-Trump insurgency are the deepest of his deep swamp believers. They don’t just believe Trump has a chance of being back behind the Resolute Desk, they think it’s inevitable.

So when Trump tells them that he’s got pardons in the works, they understand what this means: Shut up, hunker down, and wait for rescue. No one is exactly unaware of this.

“Robert Jenkins, who is an attorney for several January 6 riot defendants, including Anthony Antonio, said Wednesday his clients are aware of Trump's offers for potential pardons and that the former President's offers could impact the defendants' cooperation. Jenkins also said he is not sure Trump's comments rise to the level of witness tampering but said the former President is putting his ‘fingers on the scales.’”

It’s hard to be more blatant than this. However, much of the media will apparently wait until Trump puts it in writing for them before getting a tiny dab upset.

But it’s not just the people arrested for waving Confederate flags or brandishing handcuffs in the Capitol who are the targets of this message. In addition to the messy, violent insurgency that took place on Jan. 6, there was an even larger threat: the extensive coup attempt conducted by Trump with the cooperation of Republican officials from county level chairmen to members of Congress.

Indictments related to that coup have not yet been filed, but the United States House Select Committee on the Jan. 6 Attack has been making it clearer and clearer that they have all the evidence necessary to explain every step in the six-point plan to overturn democracy. The subpoenas that the select committee has sent to former Trump advisers, as well as members of the slates of false electors assembled to support the attempt, show that the investigation is going well beyond people wearing horned helmets. 

Those people are also getting the message that Trump will save them if they give him a chance. And since some of those same people are in sitting in the House, Senate, or in a position to affect how results are tallied at the state level, it’s a very special form of incentive. What’s good for Trump is good for them. 

And what’s good for both of them is making sure that the next coup attempt is successful.

JUST NOW (WOW): "Absolutely it would impact not only the attorney's perspective but also the client's...Far less likely to cooperate." Robert Jenkins, an attorney for several 1/6 clients says flatly Trump's pardon statements impact the cases.pic.twitter.com/3Y0u9OhI0W

— John Berman (@JohnBerman) February 2, 2022

Newly revealed texts show Sean Hannity knew Trump’s actions after Jan. 6 were impeachable

During and after the Jan. 6 insurrection, before Fox News went all-in on greasing the skids for fascism, some of its most celebrated on-air personalities acted as though Donald Trump had been hit with a protoplasmic growth ray and was rampaging from sea to rising sea popping whole Taco Bell Expresses in his mouth like Fiddle Faddle.

Indeed, everyone with eyes knew that Trump had gone Bonkers McGee in the wake of the election he decisively lost—including Fox News personalities Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, and Brian Kilmeade, who all texted people close to the pr*sident to convince him to give the stand-down order during the Capitol riot. But since those dark days, when our democracy teetered on a knife’s edge, Tucker Carlson has made a career out of convincing people to die of COVID-19 (thereby making Joe Biden look bad, though not quite as bad as those goateed doofuses with intubation tubes down their throats) while assuring them that Jan. 6 had nothing at all to do with salt-of-the-earth Trump supporters. Meanwhile, just Thursday night, Hannity welcomed the disgraced ex-POTUS to his show and Turtle Waxed his barnacled balls to a high shine and finish. 

We’re finally seeing even more evidence that Trump’s media enablers thought Trump had gone too far, and that his actions following the election and the failed Bumblefuck Putsch were way beyond the pale.

A letter from the Jan. 6 Select Committee asking Ivanka Trump to testify includes newly revealed text messages from Hannity to former White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany that outline a strategy for dealing with their glitching ocher overlord:

In the texts, Hannity recaps just a few points of a broader communications plan for responding to the attack, among other pieces of advice.

“1- No more stolen election talk,” Hannity reportedly texted McEnany, who herself sat down with committee investigators last week after being subpoenaed.

Per the letter, he continued, “2- Yes, impeachment and the 25th amendment are real and many people will quit...”

So Hannity knew Trump’s actions were impeachable, huh? That’s not the impression he’s been giving his viewers.

CNN’s Jake Tapper brought former Mike Pence adviser Olivia Troye on his program on Thursday to discuss these new revelations, and boy, was she ever not impressed. (Troye did some great work in the lead-up to the 2020 presidential election that helped expose Trump for the menace he was and is.):

TAPPER: “A very interesting text message exchange between Trump loyalist Sean Hannity and then-White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany. It suggests that Hannity texted Kayleigh McEnany on Jan. 7, the day after the insurrection, laying out a five-point approach for talking to then-outgoing President Trump. He started with ‘1) No more stolen election talk, 2) Yes, impeachment and 25th Amendment are real, and many people will quit ...’ to which Kayleigh McEnany responded, ‘Love that. Thank you. That is the playbook. I will help reinforce.’ Hannity, according to these messages, also told McEnany that White House staff should try to keep Trump away from certain people. He texted her, quote, ‘Key now. No more crazy people,’ to which McEnany responded, ‘Yes. 100%.’ We should note that Sean Hannity’s show was a major place where these election lies were told—in fact, they’re being sued as a result—and Kayleigh McEnany is one of the biggest election liars that we know. So what’s your reaction when you see this conversation—this private conversation.”

TROYE: “Well, it’s stunning. It’s stunning to see this full-on evidence of these types of conversations that were happening in the lead-up to Jan. 6, but even more so, just the fact that they knew the gravity of the situation—they knew the repercussions of the possibility of what would happen in continuing down this narrative, and then even more egregious is that now they’ve doubled down on it. Right? And the problem is, not only does this narrative still exist out there—the Big Lie lives on. It’s being used by people who are seeking public office this year. It’s become sort of, the Republican Party’s platform is really the Big Lie and you have to support it or you’re going to get kicked out. … You know, I think it’s important to get this evidence out there to the American people so that they can see that in the lead-up in that situation with Donald Trump, people knew. People knew that this type of action was worthy of impeachment. It was worthy of the 25th Amendment. That these are actual discussions happening with people like Sean Hannity.”

Needless to say, these hair-on-fire texts from Trump’s biggest defenders are damning evidence that they knew he was, at best, out of control and, at worst, dangerously unfit for office. And by that, I mean any office. Or office building. Or office supply store, for that matter.

Naif that I am, I sincerely believed in the aftermath of Jan. 6 that conservatives would resurrect their long-buried shame and denounce Trump. But they sort of puttered around the grave for a few minutes, figured, “Nah, this is too hard,” and went right back to shivving the country full time.

Hopefully, Republicans will begin to slink away in something resembling shame as the Jan. 6 committee unveils more evidence, but I wouldn’t count on it. After all, the Eye of Sour-Don watches, and they dare not displease their master.

Or they could try to cobble together the last remaining shards of their dignity and try to be good-faith actors—instead of, well, just actors. But that’s just never going to happen, is it?

It made author Stephen King shout “Pulitzer Prize!!!” and prompted comedian Sarah Silverman to say, “THIS IS FUCKING BRILLIANT.” What is it? The viral letter that launched four hilarious Trump-trolling books. Get them all, including the finale, Goodbye, Asshat: 101 Farewell Letters to Donald Trump, at this link. Or, if you prefer a test drive, you can download the epilogue to Goodbye, Asshat for the low, low price of FREE.

McCarthy refuses to testify. ‘I wish that he were a brave and honorable man,’ says Cheney

Reinforcing the degree to which Republicans do not want the truth about events on Jan. 6 to reach the public, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has announced he will not cooperate with a request to voluntarily testify before the select committee investigating the assault on the Capitol. In refusing the request, McCarthy becomes the latest in a string of Republican representatives who have made it clear that talking about their role in events leading up to the insurgency is the last thing they want to do.

On Wednesday, the U.S. House Select Committee to Investigate the Jan. 6 Attack on the United States Capitol sent a letter to McCarthy making clear that his testimony is critical to investigation of events that sent Congress scrambling as the Capitol was invaded. McCarthy didn’t just speak with Donald Trump before and after the attempt to prevent the counting of electoral votes, he had a phone conversations with Trump in the midst of the hours-long violence. That conversation reportedly included McCarthy yelling in anger “Who the fuck do you think you are talking to?” after Trump refused to take action to end the violence. Current accounts of the phone call are secondhand, though they are included on an official statement from Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler.

In the past month, the committee has released text messages from members of Congress as well as those from Fox News propagandists and even Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr. Those texts clearly show that both Republican lawmakers and right-wing media understood that Trump was in control of the violence. However, the released messages were directed at former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. A full account of McCarthy’s conversation, including an accurate transcription of Trump’s replies, could be crucial in demonstrating his knowledge of the violence and his complicity in refusing to end the attack.

In refusing to testify, McCarthy is making clear—again—that his first loyalty is to Trump, with any concerns about the truth or what’s best for the nation somewhere far behind.

The letter from Committee Chair Rep. Bennie Thompson noted that McCarthy not only had conversations with Trump concerning his refusal to stop the violence on Jan. 6, but about “the potential [Trump] would face a censure resolution, impeachment or removal under the 25th Amendment. It also appears that you may have identified other possible options, including President Trump’s immediate resignation from office.”

In the hours immediately following the assault, it appeared that McCarthy was angry enough to momentarily forget that he had cooperated in turning his party over to Trump. However, McCarthy swiftly remedied this situation. McCarthy flew to Mar-a-Lago to pay homage and turned his attacks away from Trump and toward his fellow Republicans who failed to join in the leadership cult. That includes attacking Rep. Liz Cheney, one of two Republicans now on the select committee.

It’s been clear for months that McCarthy is terrified to make a full account of his conversations with Trump. His attempts to dodge any questions have led him into making a claim of pseudoprivilege in which “my conversations with the president are my conversations with the president.” Executive privilege does not extend to conversations held with members of the legislative branch. 

On receiving the letter from the select committee, it took only a few hours for McCarthy announce that he would not be appearing. McCarthy—who earlier tried to sabotage the committee with an attempt to force the committee to include in its membership some of those known to be most involved in perpetuating the Big Lie around the 2020 election—indicated that the committee was “only out to hurt political opponents” and that he would not cooperate with what he called “an abuse of power.”

It took even less time for Cheney to make clear what she thought of McCarthy’s refusal. As reported in The Washington Post, Cheney had this to say about her titular leader in the House.

“I wish that he were a brave and honorable man,” said Cheney. “He’s clearly trying to cover up what happened. He has an obligation to come forward and we’ll get to the truth.”

However, in an interview with MSNBC, Rep. Jamie Raskin noted that McCarthy has some very personal reasons for keeping his lips zipped—reasons that include his involvement in possible criminal charges of conspiracy. In recent weeks, reports indicate that the select committee has been seriously considering how it may make criminal referrals to the Department of Justice for those involved not just in planning and encouraging the violence on Jan. 6, but for the dozens of Republicans who were intimately involved in a scheme to overturn the results of the election by refusing to honor electoral votes.

Related to that scheme were revelations on Tuesday showing that Republicans forged documents in multiple states to falsely declare Trump the winner in states where President Joe Biden actually came out on top. This is just one aspect of a plan that was presented in an extensive PowerPoint slide deck to Republican members of the House so that they could properly execute their part of the conspiracy. 

It’s not clear if McCarthy was present for that presentation, but if he were to appear to testify, he would certainly be asked about this event and other meetings held in preparation for overthrowing the legitimate government of the United States. 

Joint Chiefs of Staff made plans to resign rather than obey Trump’s ‘gospel of the Führer’

Previously released excerpts from a new book by Washington Post reporters indicated tension between members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Trump White House. However, additional material released on Wednesday night by CNN takes this to a new and terrifying level. According to Post reporters Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker, senior military officers were so concerned that Donald Trump might drag the military into a coup, that they developed a plan to resign, one by one, rather than accept an order to take part in such a plot.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Mark Milley appears to have been particularly concerned about the idea he might simply refuse to leave office, and that in his final days in power, Trump would use the military to carry out his schemes. Milley, who took part in Trump’s Bible-waving stroll across Lafayette Square, was disturbed at how Trump inserted sycophants into key roles at the Pentagon following the election and saw this as a sign of an upcoming attempt to maintain power at the point of a gun.

According to the authors, Milley grew so concerned that he discussed the possibility not just with his friends, but with other generals and with members of Congress. "They may try, but they're not going to f**king succeed," Milley told his staff. "You can't do this without the military. You can't do this without the CIA and the FBI. We're the guys with the guns."

The book also indicates that Milley had specific concerns about Jan. 6. Trump’s calls for supporters to come to D.C. for a “wild” event, and intelligence showing that militia members were planning to attend in numbers, left Milley fretting Trump was deliberately “stoking unrest” and that he was trying to create an incident that would justify the use of the Insurrection Act along with military force.

“This is a Reichstag moment.”

Seeing Trump as a “classic authoritarian leader with nothing to lose,” Milley became convinced he’d seen this story before. With Trump calling for a “Million MAGA March” following his loss in November, Milley feared it “could be the modern American equivalent of 'brownshirts in the streets.” In addition to referencing incidents in which Nazis had used violence to bring Adolf Hitler to power, Milley supposedly referenced the incident that Hitler had staged, then leveraged as a means of using violence against his enemies. "This is a Reichstag moment. The gospel of the Führer."

One of MIlley’s colleagues, quoted anonymously, confirmed to him that “this is all real” and warned the general "What they are trying to do here is overturn the government. ... You are one of the few guys who are standing between us and some really bad stuff."

The revelations out of the book show a last minute scramble at the White House, with Trump clutching at every conspiracy theory and working to put in place those who might go along with a scheme to defy the outcome of the election. According to the authors, Milley was instrumental in preventing Trump from replacing FBI Director Christopher Wray and CIA Director Gina Haspel, with Milley regarding both of those positions as pivotal to the success or failure of any coup.

 According to the book, Trump’s spiral into darkness was so severe that even Mike Pompeo came to Milley for a “heart to heart” talk in which he complained “you know the crazies are taking over.”

The incidents described in the book go beyond disturbing. They describe a nation well beyond the brink, with a White House actively working to position assets for an end of democracy and military leadership developing a pushback that was not at all certain of success. The revelations are terrifying enough that “shocking” seems an all-too-insubstantial term.

But there is one thing that isn’t completely clear. Though the article states that the book developed from over a hundred interviews conducted by Leonnig and Rucker, it doesn’t make clear when this information was known to them. If Washington Post reporters were aware in the final days of Trump’s occupation of the White House, that he was plotting to keep control of the nation, shouldn’t the nation have been made aware? And if there were reports that top military officials were convinced that Trump’s actions following the election were intended to generate violence, shouldn’t that information have been provided to case managers in Trump’s second impeachment?

There are a number of upcoming books on the final awful days of Trump, and the revelations will continue. But the first question these books need to answer is why are we just hearing about this now?

In acquitting Trump, Republicans formalize their embrace of American fascism

The full malevolence of this new Republican Party nullification of consequences for political corruption—this time, in the form of a president sending a mob to block the certification of the U.S. election that would remove him from power, a president responding to the resulting violence by singling out to the mob his own specific enemies, then sitting back to watch the violence unfold on his television while taking no action to either contain the mob or protect the Congress, is difficult to even grasp.

The ultimate irony of the Republican sabotage, however, is that impeachment was unquestionably the most appropriate remedy for Trump's actions. It was an absolute necessity, and now the entire nation will suffer the consequences. Yet again.

Whether or not what Trump did was criminal is as yet undetermined, but even Sen. Mitch McConnell himself honed in on the central sin of Trump's actions. It was, at the very least, an unforgivable dereliction of duty. When faced with a clear and present need to defend the country, Trump did not. He betrayed his oath. He proved himself not just unfit for office, but a malevolent figure willing to use even violence against lawmakers as avenue for further political power.

Even if it could be argued that Trump did not intend for violence or threats to transpire, in the minutes after a speech in which he urged the crowd to march to the Capitol and intimidate the assembled Congress, it was unquestionable that Trump sought to use the violence for his advantage as it unfolded. He singled out Mike Pence after learning that Pence was still present in the building, upon which the mob went hunting for Mike Pence. He mocked Rep. Kevin McCarthy, as rioters attempted to break through McCarthy's office door.

Trump knew that violence was occurring, and still used that violence to intimidate his enemies rather than swiftly demand reinforcements to protect Congress.

There is no question of this. It is not in dispute. To say it was dereliction of duty is, to be sure, an understatement.

The only remedy requested through impeachment, however, was one both practical and essential. Trump may have left office the two weeks between coup and inauguration of his successor, but his dereliction was so severe that Congress was asked to offer up its only available constitutional remedy: barring him from future office. That was all. The Senate was not debating whether to jail Trump, or to exile him. The Senate was debating whether or not to bar Donald Trump, proven to be incompetent or malicious, from ever returning to an office he in all probability will never again inhabit. After multiple deaths inside the U.S. Capitol, it was a political wrist slap.

But by refusing to do it, Republican senators offered up a technicality-laced defense of insurrection as political act. By immunizing him from the only credible consequence for his dereliction, Republican lawmakers have granted him an authority to try again. They have asserted to his base, their own Republican base, a white supremacist froth of the conspiracy-riddled far-right, that Trump did no wrong in asking them to block the certification of an American election. Oh, it may have been wrong. But, according to the speeches and declarations of those who have protected Trump's most malevolent acts time and time again, not consequences-worthy wrong.

Trump's rally that day, and his months of hoax-based propaganda before it, were all premised around a demand to nullify a United States presidential election he did not win. It was called Stop the Steal, and Trump and his allies demanded as remedy the overturning of the election, either by individual states that voted for the opposition candidate or through the United States Congress erasing those electoral votes outright.

It was, from the outset, an attempted coup. The very premise was to nullify an election so that he might be reappointed leader despite losing it. It was an insurrection before the crowd on January 6 ever turned violent; it was an insurrection when Trump asked the assembled crowd, in the precise minutes timed to coincide with the counting of electoral votes, to march to the Capitol building to demand the Senate overturn the elections results.

It had help. Multiple Republican senators were themselves eager to support Trump's attempted coup using their own tools of office. Even the supposed institutionalists, if the word even has meaning at this point, kept their silence and refrained from acknowledging the Democratic opponent as the election's winner. It was a tactical silence, meant to measure out whether Trump's team of bumbling lawyers and organized propaganda could produce results before coming down cleanly on the side of democracy or of insurrection. While Trump's most fervent allies embraced his claims and poked away at the election, looking for weaknesses, the party at large remained silent. Trump's actions may have been deplorable, but they were not out of party bounds. There were precious few condemnations, and elections officials in Georgia and elsewhere were left to defend themselves against outrageous lies to whatever extent they were able.

Among those they had to defend themselves to: Republican senators like Lindsey Graham, themselves inquiring as to the possible methods of simply erasing enough votes as to find Donald Trump the “true” winner.

Trump intended to overturn an election. Trump went so far as to finance and schedule a mass rally of supporters to appear at the Capitol with instructions to let those inside know that the election must be overturned. Trump sat back and watched as violence quickly followed, and responded by goading the crowd to go after an enemy, by refusing congressional pleas for intervention, and by sneering at lawmakers fearing for their lives.

By evading the question before them, Trump's Republican allies have established the toppling of democratic government and the nullification of American elections as, along with using elected office as profit center and extorting an at-war foreign nation into falsely smearing an election opponent, political tools allowed to those that would pursue political power. Demanding the nullification of an election may be unseemly, when done by movement leaders. But it is allowed. It will be backed by Republican lawmakers, and those same Republican lawmakers will brush aside whatever consequences the attempter may face if the attempt ends in failure.

This weekend saw what is perhaps the most consequential new recognition of the American fascist movement as quasi-legitimized political entity. Perhaps Trump’s Republican protectors intended such, and perhaps they did not, but the outcome will be the same.

The contrary position here was, by comparison, effortless. Republican senators could have detached Trump from his position as would-be autocratic "leader" with a simple acknowledgement that his actions, during a time of true national crisis, were so horrific as to render him unfit for future office. That is all. Trump could fume, Trump could raise money against enemies, Trump could grift his pissant little life away all he likes, but he, personally, could never take office again. His authoritarian cult would be deprived of the precise and only goal of its insurrection: re-installing him as leader.

The message would have been clear: Violence as political tool is disqualifying. Forever.

Not violence as political tool is unfortunate. Not violence as political tool is unseemly, but due to various technicalities and the current schedule cannot be responded to. Violence as political tool is an unforgivable act, whether such support is tacit or explicit, whether it was planned or it was spontaneous, and we will all stand united to declare that no matter what your political ambitions may be you are not allowed to do that. You are not allowed to incite an already-violent crowd with a new message singling out a specific fleeing enemy. You are not allowed to respond to multiple calls for urgent assistance by telling a lawmaker that perhaps the rioting crowd were right to be angry, rather than sending that help. You are not allowed to spend months propagating fraudulent, malevolent hoaxes intended to delegitimize democracy itself rather than accept an election loss, culminating in a financed and organized effort to threaten the United States Congress with a mob of now-unhinged supporters demanding your reinstallation by force.

If that was a bridge too far, on the part of the same Republican senators who coddled Trump's attempts to nullify an American election and spread democracy-eroding hoaxes in their own speeches, we can all imagine why.