Alex Mooney’s Hilarious Self-Own

Jim here.

Yesterday, I watched with fascination as Matt Gaetz whipped his stormtroopers into a frenzy and stormed the ramparts of the SCIF facility where Laura Cooper was scheduled to be deposed. This tweet by Scott Thuman especially caught my eye, with the video he provided:

What really stood out to me was that one of Gaetz’s stormtroopers had his cellphone out and appeared to have his camera active as he approached the door. Based on Thuman’s “entered the secure hearing room” and the way Thuman pointed his camera down as he panned to the door, I initially had the impression that this doorway the Congressmen were going through was the entry to the SCIF itself, and so I tweeted this:

I had no idea that this would become my most viral tweet ever. At the time of this writing, the tweet has just under 95,000 impressions.

I did not yet know who this was with the phone. It has since become clear that it was Representative Alex Mooney of West Virginia. He even put up a tweet with an audio recording from inside the SCIF that he claimed came from a “secure phone”.

Needless to say, I had lots of pushback and I got to see the amazing array of bots and MAGAts that swarm whenever their world view is threatened. One theme that kept coming up, though, was that this was not the SCIF itself. It turns out that is somewhat true. After 6 pm, Mooney put up this tweet, which clearly has the video he was recording as Thuman captured him going through the door:

Okay, this confirmed what I was beginning to suspect, that the doorway in Thuman’s video is not the entrance to the actual SCIF. When a person at the entrance to the SCIF announces that cameras are not allowed, his first response is “What camera?”. But upon being informed again, Mooney shrugs and turns off the phone, presumably to surrender it .Note that multiple media reports make it clear though, that not all of Gaetz’s stormtroopers surrendered their devices, causing quite a serious security breach.

But Thuman’s reluctance to capture video from inside the door (we see only a red carpet and a few feet) and his failure to follow Gaetz’s stormtroopers made me wonder if the doorway was still in some way restricted. In fact, given the extreme security measures taken for a SCIF, it seemed reasonable to wonder if there was signage restricting electronics even beyond this point, so that detailed information of the building layout leading to the SCIF entrance would not be disseminated.

So I began searching Google images for pictures of Gaetz’s stormtroopers going through the door. I hit paydirt in what turns out to be an entire New York Times article on the event. This is the banner on the front of a video the Times did:

This is clearly a photo taken as stormtrooper Mooney goes through the door with cell phone blazing. Ah, but look at the sign on the other half of the double door: “Restricted Area No public or media access. Cameras and recording devices prohibited without proper authorization.”

Oh my, so when stormtrooper Mooney barged through the first door, he failed to read the sign informing him that he was not to be filming his own heroic action.

As if the Times photo alone is not enough to disgrace Mooney, he had to pile on. Here is a tweet an exhausted stormtrooper Mooney put up just after 7:30, after his siege of the SCIF had ended (never mind that the deposition itself actually took place anyhow, but with a five hour delay):

Mooney actually came back out the door and had a staffer film him while explaining that “this is not the SCIF” and, once they entered, “nobody was using a cell phone”. The problem is that he’s using as a backdrop for this explanation the sign showing that electronics were not to be used even going through this outer door, and his entry through that door, with his cell phone going, has been documented by Scott Thuman, Alex Mooney, the New York Times and hopefully, law enforcement:

44 replies
  1. P J Evans says:

    Demonstrating, again, that there are some very dim GOP congresscritters. (Including those in this wingding who are members of the committees holding the hearings, and who therefore know that what Gaetz is claiming is a lie.)

  2. Mister Sterling says:

    Would this crime fall into the DC US Attorney’s area, or the Northern Virginia US Attourney (William J. Powell)? Yes, I said crime. These aren’t pranks. This isn’t fun and games. This is interference with a House investigation.

    • P J Evans says:

      He tried to get them to sign on to a letter saying that they wouldn’t vote to convict, and that didn’t work.
      I don’t know when he lost his mind, but if he still has a license to practice law, I’d be wondering if it’s time to pull it.

  3. Ed Walker says:

    One of the stormtroopers was Louis Gohmert, Repub from TX-1, widely regarded as the dumbest Representative. Ron Johnson of WI, usually cited as the dumbest Senator, looks just below average by comparison. Even that bonehead knew not to use his cell phone.

    Recently bmaz claimed on the Twitter that his state had a contender in the dumbest Representative contest. I don’t remember which on it was, but I note that all 4 AZ Congresscritters are on Marcy’s list.

    • Pete T says:

      But we here in FL have Matt Gaetz R-1 though I must point out he is way up North and a tad West so it kinda isn’t Florida. Though to be sure the FL crazy pockets are all over the State. Hmmm…maybe we have the dumbest Congressional Reps – and Senators – on a weighted average basis.

      And don’t get Jim started on Ted Yoho.

      • Jim White says:

        Yes. I was indeed surprised that Yoho (I live in his district) didn’t show up. While it’s possible he was just holed up somewhere with the same nasty headcold progressing to upper respiratory infection I battled over the weekend, there’s another possibility.

        Yoho is a large animal veterinarian and had an extensive practice before going to Congress. In fact, he even made a barn call one weekend at our house when he was the vet on call covering for our vet.
        In many of the long messages I leave for him about impeachment at his office and in some of my haranguing on twitter, I try to make the point that I know that he isn’t the idiot he plays on TV. I suspect I may not be the only one approaching him in this way, and maybe, just maybe, our warnings that history will not treat him well are starting to get through.

        I’m still waiting to see if he addresses the event, but it may soon be time to change the message to him to say that merely not participating is not enough. A some point, he will have to stand up and call them out if he wants to emerge from this with a shred of dignity.

        I’m not saying he will. But I’m saying there just might be a chance.

    • P J Evans says:

      My father had a gold tie with a pattern – it might have looked something like that in some lights – but it was definitely gold, not yellow. (It was also a straight tie – a “gambler’s tie”, in westerns. Easier to put on, always looked good.)

  4. George's Brother says:

    that’s my brother, George

    I am so poorly quoting The Grapes of Wrath, because I know it by way of Warner Brothers cartoons, that you probably have no idea what this means.

    Don’t worry, you’re in good company.

  5. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Mooney’s claim that his phone was “secure” – I presume he means USG issued or approved – is nonsense. Like the rest of his arguments.

    All devices are to be given up before entry. One reason is to avoid active transmissions into or out of the SCIF: GPS, voice, data, etc. Another reason is to avoid unauthorized copying of information.

    Still another is to avoid revealing specific information about the SCIF: its layout and design, access, people present or absent at a specific time, the presence of computers and other equipment, stacks of hard copy documents or their absence, and so on.

    Mooney, like Gaetz, should not give up his day job.

    • Jim White says:

      I’m pretty sure Mooney gave up the phone he was using in the Thuman video as he went through the doorway with the big red sign. The audio message he sent out from inside may well have been from a properly secure government phone, perhaps even one that’s a part of the secure room.

      But yes, even filming that hallway leading up the secure room is prohibited, as the sign says.

      But not all the stormtroopers surrendered their phones, and some of the media reports sound as if some of them even resisted giving them up. I’m sure the surveillance camera in the secure room captured that.

  6. arbusto says:

    In this day and regime, will the DC US Attorney take action on an issue involving Congress critters. And don’t hold your breath that Pelosi or McCarthy will do anything substantive. Comity is a joke.

  7. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Psych major and former Air Force JAG officer Lindsey Graham knows he’s full of shite when he laments House Democrats’ supposed lack of openness, transparency, and due process in their impeachment inquiry.

    Graham knows that investigations are always private and for good reason. As bmaz could recount at length, they can be convoluted and sometimes come up with zilch: no or insufficient evidence of crime to justify prosecution. There was little openness or due process inside Ken Starr’s multi-year investigation, until the Senate had the articles of impeachment.

    Due process is largely a function of the trial phase. When final articles of impeachment reach the Senate, Lindsey and his colleagues will have abundant opportunity to examine and cross examine witnesses and evaluate evidence.

    Lindsey is not crying foul owing to a lack of due process. He is selling Trump that he can’t do without him. Both are lying to their base in hopes that emotion will overcome thought, in which case, both men might be re-elected.

    • Jim White says:

      On further reflection, it’s possible that the photo the New York Times put as the banner on their video is someone other than Mooney. The photo shows someone with a phone in their left hand, and in both Thuman’s and Mooney’s videos, any time we can see which hand Mooney is using, it is the right. However, Mooney does seem to jostle the phone a bit in the area around the door, so he might have switched hands briefly to get around someone.

      If it isn’t Mooney, I wonder if it’s Gaetz. I poked around a bit, and can’t find any info on whether Gaetz is left-handed or right-handed.

      Note also that since Mooney did finally relinquish his phone at the inner door, any revisionist announcement from him that his phone was authorized to record past the red sign will be bogus.

    • OldTulsaDude says:

      I am thinking the reason for the “flawed process” argument is to create a (false) justification for Senate votes of not guilty.

  8. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Trump claims not to have or need an impeachment war room. Let’s remember, though, that this president outsources everything and pays for nothing.

    If there is a private sector war room with which the White shares extensive information, it would be an immense violation of the PRA. That act needs a lot more teeth.

  9. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The Syrian government contracted away all its rights to oil and gas production to Russia.

    Trump sending American troops [mercenaries?] to protect Syrian oil and gas fields – but leaving Kurds to their Turkish fate – is giving direct American support to Russia. Trump is not protecting Syria, the Kurds, Turkey, or peace and goodwill toward men. He’s protecting Vlad’s cash flow.

    I haven’t seen any headlines about that.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      The Pentagon may send tanks to Syria to “protect” Russia’s oil and gas fields. That’s new. It’s a big deal.

      Tanks are like aircraft, in the sense that they are large, complex machines that require extensive support to perform their intended task, which they do for a short period of time: transport and ground support, fuel, munitions, supplies, spares, technology, storage buildings, and…people.

      This is an escalation. For Vlad.

      • 200Toros says:

        This is epic. Sending American soldiers to protect Russia’s oil. It’s just unbelievable that this is where we’re at….

  10. Jenny says:

    Thank you Jim. Good post about desperate stormtroopers.
    After this frat boy stunt, I called Representative Adam Schiff’s office to thank him for moving forward.

  11. Skilly says:

    One wonders if Frump asks the Republican house members to vacate the building for any vote or length of time, would they do it? And then claim any votes taken are unlawful?

    • Rugger9 says:

      On an earlier thread, I had noted the 2/3 requirement for expulsion and the possibility that Pelosi might change the rules to say that the 2/3 refers to those present so long as a quorum exists. It is apparently the same for a conviction after impeachment, but at the very least it would be fitting payback for the NC GOP on 9/11.

  12. earlofhuntingdon says:

    More evidence for the calendar relating to Trump’s threats to Ukraine.

    In August, the US Trade Representative withdrew his recommendation to restore Ukraine’s trade privileges, after then NSA John Bolton told him Trump “would oppose any action that helped Ukraine.”

    Trump hadn’t received his deliverables, you see, so he was withholding his check.

  13. Leading Edge Boomer says:

    I worked for a DOE defense laboratory for nine years. There were several SCIFs in the already-secure part of the lab for the most classified discussions. Everyone who worked there had SCIF regulations drilled into their brains. If I had done what these Republicans did, I would have been disciplined in major ways, probably lost my clearance, and possibly fired. Maybe no one could find the Republicans’ brains.

    • Molly Pitcher says:

      As I have mentioned before, this current time in Washington will make more sense if you watch the all too short-lived series “Brain Dead”. I am sure it was canceled because it was too close to the truth for comfort.

      If nothing it will give you a good dose of gallows humor.

    • Midwest says:

      National Review is fairly dismissive of the seriousness. More like no gold star today but potential for escalating consequences. But I worked in a regional Census office in 2010 and once accidentally left my dumb phone in my pocket and it rang and I was very close to being fired for that. Phones could not be anywhere outside of the break room.

  14. Michael says:

    “Russian style” hearings, my a**! Russians security don’t eff around, asking pretty-please or repeating themselves.

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