The Trump Effect: Attempted Coup Edition

I have long talked about “The Trump Effect,” by which Trump, in pushing existing policies an order of magnitude further, makes those toxic policies visible to people who otherwise have not seen them.

Yesterday’s coup attempt was not the implementation of any existing policy. What happened yesterday was unprecedented in the history of this nation.

That said, it did make certain things visible.

The DOD refusal to honor a request from Mayor Muriel Bowser, made before the coup attempt started, to deploy the National Guard to DC to help makes it clear (as did Trump and Bill Barr’s deployment of DOD troops over the summer) that DC cannot be left anymore without its own defense. As many people have noted, this provides a clear reason, independent of the number of Senators or the existence of a largely-Black city without full franchise, that DC should become a state.

Similarly, the refusal of DC cops, including Capitol Police, to treat these terrorists as terrorists demonstrates why people have called to “defund” the police. It’s not denial that we need police. It’s a recognition that, right now, police forces are often filled with extremists who sympathize with people like the terrorists who stormed the Capitol. There needs to be a priority on cleansing police forces of such extremists, or they will become an armed force working against democracy again.

Finally (in what appears to be a surprise to a guy who wrote a book on the topic and who has been dismissing the threat of a coup for months), what we saw yesterday was what happens when a man who puts self-interest over the good of the country happens to wield the power of the unitary executive. While some people appointed by Donald Trump took the appropriate approach in responding to the coup attempt — citing their oath to the Constitution — others dawdled until Mike Pence took action. It will take some time until we understand their excuse for protecting a man rather than the Constitution. But decades of claims that all authority emanates from the President certainly made it more likely. Last night made it clear that such unchecked authority is incompatible with the Constitution.

We are not yet out of the woods. Trump, even while stating he will leave office, nevertheless has promised to sustain his insurgency. On top of everything else President-Elect Biden has to deal with, he now has to think of ways to coup-proof the US government.

Update: Mayor Bowser has called for Congress to push statehood through in the first 100 days of the Biden Administration.


185 replies
  1. jo6pac says:

    the trumpster followers are Eric Hoffer’s true believers even if trump dies they will still be trouble:-(

  2. Rugger9 says:

    The Inauguration is the next big event, and since Biden was already scaling back due to COVID-19, it should be somewhat easier to secure. After all, LBJ took the oath of office in a plane after Kennedy was shot. Biden will need the WH barricades for a while until the MAGA cultists are stopped.

    Matt Gaetz blaming ANTIFA for this is very typical, and Ingraham referred to alleged left wing violence on Faux yesterday as well, so that will be a theme. While I send my condolences to the family of the woman who died, I think she would be surprised to be labeled as ANTIFA. It would seem kind of hard to square the LW violence idea with the doofus hauling the CSA battle flag through the US Capitol. I would wonder how many arrests actually get made. Let’s remember that Kyle Rittenhouse is being martyred as well after being allowed to go home afte Kenosha.

    The rest of the world has noticed, bigly, about the comparative standards of justice depending upon skin color and political affiliation. The chatter and incitement of the mob was all over the internet for weeks, which the police unions (when they feel like it) would prepare for. Will we find a smoking gun stand down order for the police from the WH? I hope so. However, the repeated and demonstrated willingness of the police unions to look the other way, not doing their job in an objective way is precisely why they’re getting heat now.

    Lastly, I am pretty sure this is something that will continue (I hope I’m wrong) because DJT will continue to provoke his base. Vladimir Putin just loved this, between the chaos and the demonstrated weakness of DJT shown by Pence (of all people) doggedly continuing with the process after cleanup even though things went to almost 4 AM EST. DJT will find out he has no friends any more, not even Vlad.

    So, let’s start a pool for where DJT and his spawn end up in exile: my vote is for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (but only if he can bring along enough money).

    • Diogenes says:

      ‘the inauguration is the next big event’


      The next big event is whatever the bad guys can engineer between now and January 20th.

      • Fraud Guy says:

        The next big event is whenever they can engineer a next big event, then the next one, and the next one….

      • Rugger9 says:

        Well, I should have included “scheduled” as part of the description. Anyhow, the point you make is correct in that the deplorables will do something to be relevant. I was wondering why Hegseth said that this was performance art of some kind, in typical Faux News apologetic tone.

        I see rumors flying about the internet that the base is fracturing because they felt DJT abandoned them, but I also see the potential for pardons of the terrorists to keep them in. Such pardons would be a slap in the police union faces (one of the Capitol Police also died) so DJT has to decide who will be hosed.

  3. chum'sfriend says:

    Three and a half years working for a malignant narcissist in a residential education program left me disabled with Complex PTSD. Nothing that has happened in the last four years surprises me.

  4. ThomasH says:

    I expected that I would wake up this morning to find trump removed from office. He hasn’t been. It still needs to happen. He sent an armed violent mob to attack and endanger the lives of the entire congress as well as VP Pence. The mob almost succeeded in penetrating the chambers of congress while the elected officials were present. As Rugger9 wonders, so do I: did trump order the capital police to stand down before the rally?

    • scribe says:

      Capitol Police belong to and are answerable to Congress, not the Executive. They cooperate with other police forces, but do not obey the Executive. They have jurisdiction for several blocks in all directions from the Capitol, proper.
      They can ignore calls from 1600 Pennsylvania.

        • scribe says:

          Depends on (a) the nature of the call and (b) whether responding to the call will please or displease their Congressional masters.

          Recall the time the FBI showed up with a search warrant for La. Representative Jefferson’s office, wherefrom he was conducting a mass of corruption. The Capitol Police resisted the FBI until told by their congressional masters to back down, after there was time for the people who talk (on both sides) to talk it out.

          The Capitol Police are very protective of their Congresscritters and moreso of their jurisdiction and independence from the Executive branch. Heard many stories re same from a friend who retired from a senior position with the USCP a few years back

        • Eureka says:

          I mean to add this video to the collection on the other page, but check out this battle at the fence for contrast (the cops lost this one, obvi):

          Philip Crowther: “The moment it all began. [video]”

          10:54 PM · Jan 6, 2021

          [there’s a fallen ? woman that resembles a photo that was going around of the woman who was later shot and killed (before ID was confirmed); could be unrelated]

          • Molly Pitcher says:

            I am not blaming all of them Eureka, but in a siege, it only takes a small chink in the perimeter to lose containment. That is what happened yesterday.

            • Eureka says:

              Yes, I know you aren’t. That video I added just now wasn’t going around so much earlier yesterday evening when we were discussing the bad-look ones; I found it of interest and thought you might, too.

          • arbusto says:

            Noticed the cops weren’t in riot gear nor sporting/brandishing/using batons. Wonder how this differed from BLM equipment

  5. RMD says:

    I watched many of the speeches. Many were good, thoughtful. I hope transcripts are available.
    While many were notable, I liked how Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Nebraska framed this. He said:

    “Lies have consequences. This violence was the inevitable and ugly outcome of the President’s addiction to constantly stoking division.”

    Billy Bush, in an interview w Bill Maher two nights ago said Trump spoke to him during an off-camera moment during that infamous “grab ’em by the pussy” tape.

    “Billy Bush on Trump’s lies about ‘Apprentice’ ratings: ‘You just tell them and they believe’

    He (Trump) added that “Later, when the cameras were off, he said, ‘Billy, look, you just tell them and they believe it. That’s it: you just tell them and they believe. They just do.”

    Maher sighed, “And that’s where we are. He can do that to America now. It’s what he does all the time: he just says it and they believe it.”

    • Rugger9 says:

      Before we canonize the GOP senators like Sasse, let’s also remember that all of them voted in lockstep with DJT’s policies throughout the term which is how we got where we are now.

        • blueedredcounty says:

          We must NEVER stop repeating this and blaming/shaming them for their enablement of this fascist wannabe, failure to do their duty and uphold their oaths, and constant lying and hypocrisy.

      • Montana Voter says:

        Don’t fall for the easy scapegoating. The genesis of this debacle lies directly at the feet and wallets of the Koch Brothers and their funding of both campaigns and groups like ALEC that sucked in so many folks in the states to enact the type campaign funding and legal actions that resulted in Citizens United. This has been a long term, coldly calculated plan to destabilize and destroy our government. Now they even have a villain in Trump to divert the attention from them, allow the illusion of addressing the problem to go forward and go about their continuing plans for a true oligarchy.

      • John Langston says:

        Sass was a total dick. His clumsy attempts at humor were awful, inappropriate and unbecoming. No, he wasn’t one of the dozen but his remarks were terrible.

    • Greg Hunter says:

      Ben Sasse is just a better looking and speaking Mike DeWine, a guy who seems reasonable but is a right wing religious individual that will march us toward their dream of a theocracy. I have been trained to hear the dog whistle of those that would trash the Constitution to elevate the Bible. Make no mistake that is Ben. No thanks.

      Here is the punchline sentence.

      “No, it doesn’t. God gives us rights by nature, and government is just our shared project to secure those rights.”

      • Epicurus says:

        Declaration of Independence: “…All men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights…Governments are instituted among men to secure those rights..”

        • Greg Hunter says:

          Well my Creator, Mother Earth, had no part in writing the Bible, so if you are implying that, then you really do not understand the Founders….PS the Preamble means nothing, but the “originalists” use that clause to justify their abortion stance…..

          No Creator of the Universe could require a blood sacrifice or write Leviticus…..

          • Epicurus says:

            I wasn’t implying anything. I was making the point that Sasse was just restating parts of the Declaration of Independence. I happen to believe it’s the source of the American dream. I don’t know what you think about it. It’s not a preamble to anything, although Madison tried to incorporate it as part of the Preamble to the Constitution. It was denied, I am thinking because many of the founders wouldn’t put equality of slaves into a legal document.

            • Greg Hunter says:

              I just always considered it the Preamble and never knew the history so thanks for that…..I just get triggered when someone uses the Declaration to justify going after abortion…I also found your handle funny as The Swerve by Greenblatt introduced me to the thinking and writings of Epicurus and just added to my repulsion that I had to be subject to the teachings of the Bible in the SBC tradition for so long. Christianity should have never flourished and I despise the Abrahamic religions, so when Ben is looked on as some moderate: I doth protest.

              • Epicurus says:

                Epicurus believed we are all comprised of atoms. When we die they just dissipate. The idea of an after life didn’t compute in his world. (He didn’t quite figure out where they came from as in how they got into the body to begin with.) More importantly because of the atom construction thing, personal happiness is the most important thingee, as in the unalienable right to its pursuit. Jefferson, as you know from The Swerve Jefferson told William Short “I am an Epicuran” which is compatible with the deism of the time. Be happy!

    • boba says:

      I was thinking the same thing. There are many recognizable right wing figures in the numerous pictures and videos. While IANAL, I must assume that participation in such an event warrants at least a couple years in Club Fed if not a decade or more. And it’s slam dunk evidence so a pardon is the only real out. Which is why DJT should be removed immediately so he cannot abuse the pardon power, again.

    • LeeNLP says:

      I would bet that he doesn’t. He’s purely transactional. No need to help people he already completely owns- they’re expendable.

  6. YinzerInExile says:

    I’m an analog person in a digital age, but it sure seems to me that at least some of the means by which to force accountability upon Trump’s enablers in the House and Senate are known, even if I can’t myself personally organize and sustain a movement around them. Specifically:

    1. The list of members of the House who voted for each objection is known, as is the much shorter list of members of the Senate (and, in fact, the lists of those who said they would support objections — somewhat larger than those who actually voted to object, because a few didn’t have the courage of even their own misguided convictions — are also both known; I’d include these penumbral enablers in the initiative below).

    2. For each of those officeholders, public databases provide disclosure of their campaign contributors (the contributors to their own campaigns; I recognize that the dark money that plays on the sidelines is a lot harder to trace).

    3. Many of those contributors will be private citizens contributing small dollars, but quite a few will be larger donors, making it easier to figure out who is really funding each officeholder’s campaigns.

    4. A number of the larger contributors to each campaign are likely to be correlated; businesses that wish to have influence with officeholders often “encourage” senior executives to make campaign contributions, and the contributing executives’ employers are publicly disclosed in campaign finance filings (making it easier for the businesses to point out to the candidates just how much influence they ought to have, by showing how much they’ve paid to play).

    5. Therefore, most if not all of the information necessary to inflict economic discomfort upon the businesses who are supporting such enemies of democracy as Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, Louie Gohmert and all the rest is knowable.

    What we need is the organizing genius of a Stacey Abrams, deployed in a persistent long-term effort to use our economic power as consumers to redirect the economic influence of businesses away from supporting these enablers of autocracy, and toward free and fair elections across the board, through publicity and boycotts. Businesses hate bad press; shaming works.

    Some of this is going on in the press now (Andrew Ross Sorkin has an email out this morning, talking about executives who have organized fundraisers for Trump), but the real action is at the Senate and — especially — House level; those campaigns are smaller, and the influence of outsized donors there correspondingly larger. A bright light with no off switch can do a hell of a lot to change behavior.

    • Rugger9 says:

      How many of these Congresscritters are GOP up for re-election in 2022? DJT’s power with his base is in the primary where they would be the majority.

      • arbusto says:

        How much more successful will the DNC and DCCC be in 2022 than 2020 with the leadership currently at the helm. Titanic meet iceberg.

        • Montana Voter says:

          Well, the Dems now control both houses of Congress and the Whitehouse. Defeating an incredibly well funded and organized opposition. In addition, they brought impeachment charges and tried their best to force Trump to rationally deal with a pandemic. Plus they had to battle all the voter suppression generated by the loss of the Voting Rights Act.
          What would YOU have done differently to get a better overall result?

          • Rayne says:

            Not to mention the massive unresolved delays implemented by Postmaster Louis DeJoy and the U.S. Postal Office Board of Governors.

            • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

              That was prosecuted by state AGs, and with each passing day I realize that lawsuit was momentous.

          • arbusto says:

            What would YOU have done differently to get a better overall result?
            1) Maybe come up with a national agenda
            2) Stop being the party of not Trump
            3) Stop undermining progressive candidates in favor of DNC/DCCC Blue Dogs
            4) Fund local, vocal groups since all politics are local.
            5) Shit can current fossilized leadership
            6) Learn how to communicate issues (GOP are infinitely better than hapless Dems)

            • Rayne says:

              That item 6 has everything to do with corporate money buying PR to promote agendas. Dems suck at this because they are far less likely to allow corporations to put words in their mouths, far less likely to hire PR firms.

              Somebody in the DNC needs to wrap their head around this and figure out how to train the entire Democratic ecosystem how to message. It cost us seats because Dems in conservative districts are absolute shit at this.

              • blueedredcounty says:

                They do have younger House members that I think are brilliant at this, like AOC and the Squad, and Katie Porter. They need to start relying on that talent while the 65+ group retires. You can’t tell me that they can’t afford to retire and need to keep working to 70 1/2.

              • arbusto says:

                Problem has been in existence for so long I can’t recall when Dem’s, for all their intelligence and political savvy, suck at PR. There has to be a payoff ’cause it’s either a bug or a feature. I think it’s the latter

  7. Alan Charbonneau says:

    I don’t think Trump will be removed from office. I hope he is, not because I expect more violence, but because he won’t be able to issue any more pardons. Unless they are somehow “under seal” (I don’t know if that’s possible), Giuliani & lots more people would be in real trouble.

    • diggo says:

      Pardons and other escape plans. Expect “trump finally pivots to presidential” post-riot polishing from the likes of Maggie Haberman.

  8. BobCon says:

    “On top of everything else President-Elect Biden has to deal with, he now has to think of ways to coup-proof the US government.”

    I think it’s a telling commentary on the shrivelled state of Congress that it is probably up to Biden.

    I was pleased that at least Tim Ryan, who chairs the House Appropriations subcommittee funding the Capitol Police is already pushing for answers on the police breakdown, but the reality is that Congress has surrendered the institutional ability to be a leader on policy. The staffing and funding isn’t there, and one of the failures of both of Pelosi’s turns as Speaker is her unwillingness to rebuild what Gingrich disassembled.Whoever replaces her this term has to make Congressional institution building a priority so that it can be an equal partner in policy.

    • YinzerInExile says:

      Precisely right. For a hopeful take on this, see the work of the House Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress, which was recently reauthorized and which has been steadily producing bipartisan recommendations to improve Congress’s functioning capacity. Reversing the centralization of authority in the leadership (and the corresponding weakening of the committees), as well as rebuilding staff capacity at the committee and member level, are critical needs.

      • BobCon says:

        There is so much value in strong committees for strong speakers. They require a lot more negotiation and horsetrading than the current speaker-dominated centralized model, but it’s a false dilemma. By diluting the influence of subcommittee and committee chairs, power just shifts to K Street, which is able to establish a much stronger monopoly on expertise.

        A strong speaker is better off with inside experts as advocates for legislation rather than ceding authority to interest groups and lobbyists. The fool’s gold is that the speaker’s office can duplicate the knowledge of the committees,but it never turns out to work that way.

        • bmaz says:

          This is very true. Congress has been neutering itself in said regard for a long time, but Pelosi and Schumer are just horrible on it. Harry Reid was far from perfect, but better.

        • Eureka says:

          When I read your comments on this subject, I think you should be in charge of whipping these fixes (seriously; problems solved).

  9. harpie says:

    One of the things Biden [to say nothing of HARRIS] has to deal with, that I’m worried about:

    Joe Biden to have new Secret Service team amid concern about Trump

    […] In what was described as an“unprecedented” move, the Secret Service had permitted former detail leader Anthony Ornato to temporarily leave his role and serve as White House deputy chief of staff.

    Ornato was among the coordinators of the June photo op for which Trump marched through Washington DC’s Lafayette Square to stand with a Bible – after peaceful protesters were forced from the area by troops on federal order, sparking uproar in political circles as well as among the public.

    Ornato also assisted in the planning of many Trump campaign rallies even as Covid-19 tore through the US and gatherings were being discouraged or banned outright. In addition to members of the public, many Secret Service members contracted coronavirus or were exposed. […]

    I’m pretty sure the article originally stated that Ornato was being reassigned to a high position at at the Secret Service training facility, educating a whole new generation of Secret Service officers [!!!], BUT that information is no longer there.

    • Epicurus says:

      Recently finished an obscure book called “Praetorian” by Guy De La Bedoyere. It is a history of the Praetorian Guard. Biden shouldn’t allow any of the Secret Service agents assigned to protect Trump or Pence as part of his or Harris’s contingent. He should also replace whoever is in charge of the Secret Service with a different person, replace Gina Haspel, and Christopher Wray.

      • bmaz says:

        Overall, the Secret Service is probably okay, but it is almost certain that Trump collected loyal people on his and Pence’s details. So, yes, change that out. They can be reassigned.

        Wray seems harder. Hate to see the DFBI become overtly political. I’d probably give Wray a chance and see how he does.

  10. joel fisher says:

    Years ago there was a multiple murder in NYC; women and little kids over a drug deal. The District Attorney had to decide whether to seek the death penalty. After agonizing for an extended period, the decision was to not seek the ultimate punishment. The NYDN–might have been the Post– had the following headline, “WHAT’S A GUY GOTTA DO?”. People should be asking the same question about Trump and then stop talking and start impeaching/convicting.

  11. Vinnie Gambone says:

    Quick glance at 3 MSM print stories this morning,- 2 did not mention confederate flags being waved and sefied by the criminals.

    • bmaz says:

      No. You send cops, and other enforcement, where it is truly needed. It was not in Portland, but it was in DC yesterday.

  12. dude says:

    ” There needs to be a priority on cleansing police forces of such extremists….”
    I find this proposition a tricky one. The need is there, no doubt. But where has this ever been done successfully? And it isn’t just the Capitol Police, it is police ranks in many other places.

    I am fully aware that there are also a large numbers of police who behave in proper, measured ways. The usual refrain I hear when it comes to abuse of police powers is “more training”, but I cannot see it has made any difference since the 1970’s when I first heard it.

    This one issue all by itself is thorny.

  13. dude says:

    Also a question: when Rudy Giuliani dialed the wrong Senator yesterday, why was he trying to get the Republicans to the delay in the electoral counting process “until tomorrow”? What exactly was supposed to happen then?

    • harpie says:

      What RUDY told him:
      10:23 PM · Jan 6, 2021

      [RUDY:] “We need you, our Republican friends, to try to just slow it down so we can get these legislatures to get more information to you.”

      “If you could object to every state and, along with a congressman, get a hearing for every state, I know we would delay you a lot, but it would give us the opportunity to get the legislators who are very, very close to pulling their vote.”

      • Alan Charbonneau says:

        I don’t know if the is a statute under which Rudy could be charged with a felony for that message. But there certainly should be.

        • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

          Pardon my ignorance, but why isn’t this RICO?
          It’s organized, it’s a network, and it’s illegal.

            • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

              Those of us who are not attorneys honestly don’t have a clear, simple sense of what RICO is, or isn’t.
              If you have a reputable source, I’d love it.

              For those of us who don’t work in law, this stuff can be confusing, particularly when we hear ‘stuff’ about RICO on newscasts while distracted with other tasks. It’s kind of a confusing blur. I was asking honestly.

    • vvv says:

      I am looking out for the book, mebbe it will just be a book-length list, of all of Rudy’s mistakes.

      Is his problem alcohol? Another/other substance? Dementia? Hubris? Existential ennui?

  14. Sambucus says:

    A few thoughts:

    1. I wonder if the newfound “sanity in politics” movement by the Republicans is caused by the fact that they crapped their drawers because they felt physically threatened for a change.

    2. This event gives all of those weasels who were wrapped up in MAGA a safe exit lane from the political trap they were in. Indeed, as the old saying goes, even a rat knows when to desert a sinking ship. Unless the rat’s name is Mike Lindell.

  15. Rugger9 says:

    While looking at the lessons learned, let’s also commend the aides who had the foresight to safeguard the EC ballots from the mob. Imagine the BS (even if the states have their copies) we’d be facing now if those were captured or destroyed. If captured, I have no doubt there was a plan to swap votes.

  16. sand says:

    I believe Trump should be stripped of his powers immediately. Leaving him in place for even one more day is too risky. If the cabinet won’t do it, then Congress should at least try.

    • Vinniegambone says:

      In a matter of days FBI tracked down 7 young people who broke windows w bricks and spray painted federal courthouse in Philadelphia new years eve and charged them. I still cant get over that in DC they just let perpetrator’s just walk away. They should have been arrested as they exited . That’s the fail of not having National Guard there day before. Cops in

      could only do so much, – it’s a capacity issue. They were outnumbered. Stone is behind all of it.

      • person1597 says:

        Stone’s trademark bum rush could have been scored by the Circle Jerks…

        “Coup d’état
        Give me a bomb
        A molotov
        It’s a coup d’état!”

        Even so, the band’s security team would have done better than the CP.

  17. Alan K says:

    Amateurs. The whole thing was an amateur shitshow, from the President, the Congress, the rioters and the responsible authorities. Looked like a rock concert. No one is going to be taking these people seriously. They don’t even take themselves seriously.

    Except for the staff, as you say. Excellent speechwriting, good forthright action in grabbing the ballots.

  18. Terry Salad says:

    I was shocked and horrified by what I saw yesterday. I am an ordinary citizen in a Blue State. But I want to stand on the sidewalk outside of my home and shout that Trump MUST resign or be legally removed from office. This must not stand.

    • FactsMatter says:

      I feel the same way. There are still a few Trump 2020 signs around on peoples fence and I drive by and fantasize about coming back in the black of night in all black clothes with a can of spray paint to spray, “Traitor” across the sign. Not that I would but I feel better thinking about it as I pass them by.

  19. punaise says:

    How impolite it was for Hillary to refer to them as a basket of deplorables. These people are irredeemable. We’ve always known Trump was capable of stirring up something like this.

    Is this the last spasm (hairball) or the next chapter of a low grade civil war?

    • PeterS says:

      Yes, but she referred to half of Trump’s supporters that way; yesterday’s mob was, obviously, a way smaller fraction.

      • Molly Pitcher says:

        And you think that the majority of Trump voters are, what?

        At BEST they are deluded, shallow thinking deniers of reality. Hillary just made the mistake of stating the truth out loud.

        • PeterS says:

          I think it’s as useful to dismiss Trump supporters as deplorables as it is to dismiss Biden supporters as anti-American radical socialists. History suggests to me that literally any Republican candidate for the presidency would get 60+ million votes.

      • it's complicated says:

        I seem to have accidentally killed my comment from a few minutes ago, I posted a partial URL (up to and including the moderation-hash) on IRC, maybe somebody clicking on that caused it?
        I had also included an URL at newsweek which I won’t repeat because maybe that was the cause?
        The title was “45 Percent of Republican Voters Support Storming of Capitol Building: Poll”

        I watched all this unfold last night local time (Germany) and didn’t sleep. Nervous times, can’t wait for some semblance of normality to return.

  20. pjb says:

    NewYorker Magazine reports:

    After an hours-long delay, 150 D.C. National Guard troops were sent to the U.S. Capitol to help law-enforcement efforts to remove Trump supporters who had violently seized the building in an act of insurrection. Such an order would usually be given by the president and commander-in-chief, but according to Pentagon officials who spoke with the New York Times, it was approved by Vice-President Mike Pence.

    Does anyone understand Pence’s legal authority to order deployment the National Guard? “Someone’s gotta do it” seems insufficient.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      As Vice President, Mike Pence has no inherent authority to do anything beyond the occasional duty as president of the Senate. If Pence acted, a) he acted under authority delegated to him by the president; or b) he made shit up – that is, he usurped presidential authority – and Cabinet-level officials went along with it.

      There is no evidence Trump delegated authority to him – an unlikely event, given how he despises authority (except his own), and incites and luxuriates in chaos. Nor is there evidence that Pence legitimately invoked the third option, asserting authority under the 25th Amendment.

      Imagine how dangerous a power vacuum Trump is creating when the vacuous Mike Pence feels compelled to fill it. Good to know that Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi are taking things so seriously that they’ve sent their respective chambers on holiday until just before and after Joe Biden’s planned inauguration.

      • pjb says:

        Your response hints at what I am getting at. Has there already been a tacit application of the 25th A, at least in certain respects? Will the military take orders from Pence and not Trump going forward?

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Who knows? If it has been invoked, it’s been kept secret and only partially invoked, neither of which is meant to happen. To say that that’s par for the Trump course is no excuse, nor would it legitimize or make legal extra-constitutional governance.

          By not convening, both the Democratically-led House and Senate seem determined to keep their heads in the sand until High Noon on January 20th. (I’ve never much liked the Gary Cooper/Grace Kelly film, but now I understand its theme better.)

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Wags on the Internet hypothesize that Pelosi has adjourned the House until after the inauguration because any House member can go onto the floor and propose impeachment.

        She seems determined to avoid what she must consider a political minefield. It would only encourage the young Turks to run free, when what she wants is to keep them in the corral, and avoid antagonizing her establishment wing and donor base.

        Accountability be damned if it means work and fewer donations from the Davos crowd. But, as Harold Macmillan was forced to acknowledge, the winds of change are coming.

      • scribe says:

        I think Pence, to the extent he was involved in ordering hte Guard out, was acting in fulfillment of his Constitutionally-assigned duty to preside over counting the Electoral Votes.

        As I explained, putting on my former-soldier hat, my best guesstimate (made as it happened) was that it would take between 4 and 6 hours for the Guard to show up after they got the word to “go”, viz.:

        “My best estimate is, if they weren’t sitting in the armories waiting for orders, it’d be a minimum of 4 hours from the time the commanders got the “go” order until they could get to the Capitol.

        And that’s assuming there’s no traffic.

        Their people have day jobs and have to be contacted. Some might not have cell phones, the phone trees might not have been updated, they might have to get someone to care for their kids, you name the timewasting excuses. Then they’d have to get into their uniforms (a trip home, probably – most likely don’t carry their uniforms in their cars, assuming they have cars and don’t use mass transit) and make their way to the armory – mass transit, if it’s working (might have been shut down for the riots), or cars (through traffic, then find a parking space). The Armory is next door to RFK Stadium – D.C. Armory – Wikipedia – only 2 Metro stops from the Capitol stop (Blue line).

        When I was in the Army, height of the Cold War – we had regular alerts to turn us out. We were pretty practiced at it and once you figured out that it wasn’t all confusion but was instead a choreographed procedure, it went pretty smoothly. But we had only a couple hours from the time the call came down to do all that stuff above (even if you were asleep at home when the phone range) and load out all our gear and be sitting in our vehicles on the track line, engines idling, waiting for the word to leave the kaserne.

        You can count on 2 things – (1) the DC guard doesn’t do alerts regularly, so it’s not a practiced skill and will be a clusterfuck and (2) they are going to have to figure out their mission, what they need to take and all the rest before they can roll out.

        So 4 hours is a generous number. Might be as much as 6.”

        As it turned out, the order was given some time around 2:30 pm, and the Guard started showing up around 7 or 8 pm, i.e., 4.5 to 5.5 hours later.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Something tells me that if yesterday’s riot had been at the White House, over demands that Trump resign, that delayed response time would have been shorter.

          I’m pretty sure that Pence, acting as VP and president of the Senate, is outside the chain of command for calling in troops or national guard. He would have had to assert some interim authority that gave him powers those two positions lack.

          • scribe says:

            Counting Electoral Votes, he’s the Fourth Branch. No one is going to say “no”. Just ask all the law enforcement MFICs fired today.

  21. punaise says:

    Schumer says Trump must be removed, either by 25th Amendment or impeachment

    With Schumer set to be majority leader in a few weeks, the threat of an impeachment has real teeth now that he’s in a position to make it happen. Because Trump can still be impeached and convicted after he’s left office on Jan. 20. Not only can he be impeached, he should be. He wants to run again in 2024, he wants to continue to lead an insurrectionist mob into a second civil war. He must be barred by conviction from having any future in public life.

      • Eureka says:

        Yes! I read a different article this am which explained the clock-running procedure to get around what would be Trump’s inevitable failure to object and thought that was a clever option.

        Though cabinet members real (Chao) and Acting (“Acting Chad” Wolf) are dropping like flies (or threatening to) (note: flies lack spines), shrinking the pool of players.

        • Valley girl says:

          Eureka, it occurred to me earlier that maybe Chao resigned to avoid the possibility of having to weigh in on the 25th A. Is that what you’re getting at?

          • Rayne says:

            Chao’s finished as of the 11th. There’s enough wiggle room for her to sign on if Pence stops covering his own ass with the base and does the right thing.

          • Eureka says:

            Yes, VG, that’s what I was getting at — and now at this hour (well, 9p-ish) Betsy DeVos has resigned, too.

            One one hand that reinforces the ‘clean hands’ view as to what’s going on, with the two most-oligarch members leaving the cabinet. On the other hand, each woman is closely connected to the most powerful men wrt Trump’s exit options (linking DeVos here with Pence), so who knows if some more complex signalling is afoot (it could even be to help appease a paranoid Trump, but I bet it also relates to how Pence and McConnell are playing hot potato wrt who has to expend their social capital to extricate him before he does the next nation-destroying thing).

            Obviously these cowards would prefer to do nothing: ‘stasis’ quo!

            More “optimistically”, they really will act but are waiting for all of the National Guard units to arrive and set up in DC (more were activated today from PA, NJ, DE — think all the MidAtlantic states have sent NG by now).

          • Eureka says:

            Her parting cri de coeur was something along the lines of, “And please continue to destroy the public schools in my stead.”

    • alfredlordbleep says:

      Impeachment after leaving office came up for Reagan and lesson-taking in the matter of “Iran-Contra”.

      (very much out of sight, that is)

    • jplm says:

      In claiming to now accept the peaceful transition Trump is trying to ward off Impeachment or removal by the 25th Amendment. Think his reason why is to avoid the disgrace of being removed rather than him having a plan B during the remaining days. Still trying to control the agenda. I hear Iran are offering a solution…

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Schumer’s demand would be more persuasive, if it came from the Speaker of the House, who could actually start an impeachment proceeding. He is singing a refrain as old as political discourse: something should be done, just not by him.

      As for the rule that once impeached, a politician cannot serve in the USG, it’s one more norm that Trump would happily ignore until forced to obey it. (It certainly would not stop him claiming to run, so long as it was lucrative.) Trump is confident that the opposing party would refuse to make him do anything: it would distract from its agenda.

        • SteveR says:

          Perhaps the more profound impact of invoking the 25th Amendment would be to revoke Trump’s authority to grant the many pardons he has in process.

          And I’m not sure Chao’s resignation necessarily changes the dynamics. Her resignation isn’t effective until the 11th. Although the cabinet needs to ratify it’s invocation of the 25th Amendment (which would presumably occur after Chao’s resignation was effective), Pence would be the one vested with the authority to fill her position. Admittedly, there is ambiguity regarding whether Chao’s potential replacement, in an “acting” capacity, would be eligible to participate.

          • scribe says:

            If you read the explainer I linked to upthread, you’ll see that there is uncertainty as to whether “acting” secretaries count for 25A purposes, so the “better practice” would be to get a majority of confirmed secretaries on-board. But, since it’s never been activated, those are all hypothetical cloud castles at this point.

            Good question: who would have standing to challenge the vote? Especially when there is a procedure explicitly set out in the Constitution for the deposed President to challenge the Acting President. Fun and games for law professors to play with.

            • Rayne says:

              See Prof. Crespo’s opinion on “principal officers”:

              (click on link to open image if not visible)

            • Montana Voter says:

              Well, we’ve been “unable to prosecute” a sitting President based on a DOJ opinion written specifically to avoid having Spiro Agnew be named President. If there is a will, it could be wordsmithed to address the immediate issue and wait to see if someone challenges it later.
              One upside to this is that after yesterday’s debacle, he is unlikely to be inclined to pardon Trump. The real danger is the “deal” Pence (or Mother) would need to save Trump’s ass with a pardon.

  22. JamesJoyce says:

    Senator Byrd has been proven correct…

    Preemption has consequences….

    This was a preemptive attack on democracy by an American executive calling on his loyalist in for assistance.

    Some claim “John Brown” was a good man albeit he was executed for murder..

    Trump is not good at all.

    This is American Fascism.

    This was an attempted burning of Congress yesterday as Reichstag was razed in 1933.

    Democracy survives best when it is attacked so overtly..

    The Newtonian reaction will not be kind to a traitor or his enablers asserting fraud, no different than a fraud in 1933, or Fraud of 1857 when Dred Scott was deemed inferior citing skin
    Color and original intent???

    Trump and his supporters are abusive, period.

    If this was a marriage, Trump would be in jail for domestic abuse and given a stay away order for a year by any trier of fact…

    No need to censor my comment. It is not a fraudulent statement or intended to incite a riot.

    It is based in historical fact and self evident discrimination…

  23. Charles says:

    I am not able to understand this:

    “The 32-year-old Arizona man, known as the “QAnon Shaman,” stood front and center at Wednesday’s assault on democracy as rioters seized control of the building for hours. Angeli, shirtless and sporting a horned fur hat, was photographed standing behind Vice President Pence’s desk after legislators were forced to flee the presidential election hearing by the horde of rioters egged on by President Trump.

    Angeli, speaking to a reporter Thursday morning, said he had yet to be contacted by law enforcement and was heading back home. Angeli said he would have left the Capitol if word came from Trump for the rioters to leave.” [1]

    “Had yet to be contacted by law enforcement” ? There is way too much of indication of law enforcement condoning or even helping this attack on the Congress.


    • Molly Pitcher says:

      I’m sure it has nothing to do with the photos circulating all over the internet of this guy taking a picture with Rudy.

    • Eureka says:

      So many of these guys have made overt efforts to be publicly identifiable (by real names) — during the insurrection and in interviews and posts after — that it’s hard to recall all the instances (surely their Internet fans/ friends are keeping track, however). [Of course the guy with the zip ties, looking for some real federal crime & time, was balaclava-ed.]

    • timbo says:

      The Capitol Police have the authority in the Capitol building legally, not the President. Angeli must be prosecuted for failing to obey the law, not for obeying or not obeying any theoretical order Twitler might or might not give.

  24. laMissy says:

    Well, some are totally chill with Trump’s ongoing influence:

    “Trump briefly called in to the Republican National Committee’s winter meeting Thursday morning — and received a loud and overwhelmingly enthusiastic reception when RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel put him on speakerphone, according to people in the room.
    “ ‘We love you!’ some in the room yelled.”

  25. Ken Muldrew says:

    Well, at least we now know why Trump kept posing with that ridiculous door-knocker salute; raising his closed hand as if to knock on a door that wasn’t there. It wasn’t some kind of bungled new nazi salute, it was code to his people: “Just knock and they will let you in. The popo are with us all the way. Just knock”.

  26. I Never Lie and am Always Right says:

    Pursuing impeachment on a very expedited basis, even though the impeachment process is very unlikely to result in removal of Trump before January 20, is now politically important, if for no other reason is that, if some really crazy shit happens in the next 2 weeks due to Trump, which it will – we just don’t know what it will be, the politicians who are perceived to have slowed things down might be held accountable. No guarantee that they will be held accountable, but creating the opportunity for them to be held accountable is important, given that Trump is capable of almost anything.

      • I Never Lie and am Always Right says:

        I don’t disagree. But the vote in the Senate is not likely to happen until after noon on January 20. Doing a fast track impeachment in the House is all about dumping the hot potato on Mitch’s lap as quickly as possible, so that there might be some accountability for Mitch and his Republican colleagues as Trump continues with his temper tantrums, assuming Mitch doesn’t move quickly in the Senate.

  27. punaise says:

    This, at TPM:

    If I see one more story asking “how could the capital police have failed so badly” I will scream. The answer is simple, indisputable, and disgusting. The Capitol was breached because these where white people with a WHITE CAUSE. Period. Can anyone who is not a complete denier/loaded with some other agenda assert that any large crowd of people of color, or BLM, or “AntiFa” would have made it within 100 yards of THE FIRST barricade??

    In the same way that a white man can load an RV full of explosives and detonate it in the heart of the tourist/commercial center of the 24th largest city in the country and yet not be referred to as terrorist, or the event a suspected terrorist attack, the answer is race. And until that is tackled head on, there will be no “unifying” the country, and yesterday, I am afraid, is just the start of what these domestic terrorists with their Trump flag will do. Because they know the consequences are simply not that severe. Because they know they carry a privilege that reinforces to them this is their land, and so the slight of not having their chosen leader must be acted upon.

  28. DJCPA says:

    The last few days in office will result blanket pardons for all those involved in yesterday’s sedition.

  29. punaise says:

    probably too soon for levity, but still – some of these are good.

    “Well, that escalated steadily for four years”
    “This is a really strange way to find out that cops know how not to use deadly force”
    “I’m just glad Trump supporters didn’t do something overly violent like kneeling at a football game”

  30. harpie says:


    12:35 PM · Jan 7, 2021

    Rudy left a message (he incorrectly thought, on Sen Tuberville‘s phone) AFTER the storming of the Capitol —
    A] he references the “reconvening” at 8PM. Which ties him pretty closely to the insurrection itself.

    The other thing about this call is
    B] it suggests that the riot was part of a delay strategy. […]

    4:13 PM · Jan 6, 2021

    C] A source close to the White House who is in touch with some of the rioters at the Capitol
    D] said it’s the goal of those involved to stay inside the Capitol through the night.

    1] Rudy, 2] Tuberville, 3] a source close to the 4] White House [Trump], 5] rioters

  31. Raven Eye says:

    ‘President Donald Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts will be locked through at least Inauguration Day, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Thursday.

    ‘“We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great,” Zuckerberg wrote in a statement posted to his personal page. “Therefore, we are extending the block we have placed on his Facebook and Instagram accounts indefinitely and for at least the next two weeks until the peaceful transition of power is complete.”’

  32. Molly Pitcher says:

    Pelosi just said that if the 25th Amendment is not invoked, then they must impeach Trump. More to follow on MSNBC after Biden presser

    • BobCon says:

      The quote I saw was more conditional on impeachment, but this is still movement. I want to see a timeline for a decision, which she hedged on, but at least it’s stepping away from just running out the clock.

      She also called for the resignation of the US Capitol Police chief, saying he hadn’t even called her. Considering the House can write into law a provision that he has to eat 25 pounds of hot dogs a day if they feel the need, that lack of outreach is pretty amazing

      • Molly Pitcher says:

        I think Elaine Chow resigned to keep the numbers of cabinet members available to invoke the 25th Amendment too low to be viable.

        from an article in Newsweek this morning:

        ” In a 1985 opinion from the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel, the acting assistant attorney general at the time, Ralph Tarr, wrote that it would be best when contemplating deployment of the 25th Amendment for a majority of support to exist among the secretaries heading federal departments, as well as within the cabinet as a whole.

        “As a practical matter, and in order to avoid any doubt regarding the sufficiency of any given declaration, it would be desirable to obtain the assent of a sufficient number of officials to satisfy any definition of the term ‘principal officers of the executive departments'” referred to within the 25th Amendment, Tarr’s opinion said. He did not specify what a ‘sufficient number’ would entail, but with 23 cabinet members, at least 11 would need to support the measure. Pence would become the 12th member and establish a majority.”

  33. Jenny says:

    Trump is abusive. He came down an escalator years ago to run for President with a speech filled with fear and hate. For years he has been escalating violence, looking for a fight and pitting people against one another. Now the GOP who have been enabling and abetting his behavior making excuses for him year after year are waking up. Or are they? Timing is everything.

  34. KAJ says:

    Calling yesterday’s events an insurrection is an affront to the dignity of the English language. Even calling this farce a clown coup gives it too much respect. The oafs who milled around and posed for selfies apparently had no other project than that. A fitting anticlimax to the entire feckless Trump debacle, an ineptly produced “reality” show from first to last.

  35. Molly Pitcher says:

    The House sargent-at-arms has resigned, Schumer will ask for the resignation of the Chief of the Capitol Police and will fire the Senate sargent-at-arms.

    • timbo says:

      Link? The headlines don’t seem to match the meat of the articles I’ve seen. Pelosi has said the Sargent is resigning but that’s not the same as an actual resignation.

  36. scribe says:

    Truth be told, the USCP could easily be said to not like most of the Members at all. Not necessarily a race thing, but more of a “far, far better than you” thing.

    A friend retired after nearly 30 years with the USCP. Mentioned that in all that time only one Member ever came down to their squad room. That was Tom Delay, on his way out (before his criminal conviction was overturned). He asked to address the roll call and thanked the cops for their work.

    One. In nearly 30 years.

    Far more frequent are Members swinging their status for whatever reason, and treating the cops like servants or worse. Cynthia McKinney was one of the worst – not wearing her Member’s badge (they’re there to help the cops recognize who is, and is not, a Member) and going all “don’t you know who I am”. Crashing the security lines, etc. Made herself decidedly unpopular with the cops by making their jobs a lot harder and miserable, too. There are many others in the same vein, though not as egregious.

    Postwar, my dad was stationed in Germany where they had civilian German KPs working in the mess halls. One of the other soldiers had had a rough time in the war and was prone to take it out of the KPs, abusing them time and again. The KPs needed those jobs and put up with it, but complained to my dad, who grew up speaking German. He took the abusive soldier aside, told him to knock it off and reminded him “if you kick a dog often enough, he will bite you”.

    If you treat the people who work for you badly enough, long enough, in times of crisis there’s a good chance they will let you hanging in the breeze.

  37. e.a.f. says:

    Glen Greenwald has it right.
    The threat has always been from within. Outside terrorist groups are going to do something big and splashy such as send jets into office towers (911), but the home grown types are much more dangerous and the U.S.A. knows it. Government agencies have written reports about it. So why was this allowed to happen?

    When a man showed up at the Canadian Parliament, while it was sitting, with an AK whatever, after having murdered a solider at the cenotaph, the Sargent at Arms, security detail leader, simply stepped out into the corridor with his usual side arm and shot him to death. The Canadian Parliamentary detail isn’t big and they don’t have big guns like the Americans do, but one man stopped it all. The Americans have the most sophisticated equipment in the world. One of the best intellegnce services in the world and this happened? No fight back. I’ve watched how disabled protestors were treated at the Capitol and it wasn’t nice. Yet here all these white people just strolled in and attacked and destroyed property in the most important building in the land. How the hell did this happen? This morning the news announced terrorist/protestors had broken into the Governor’s mansion in Washington State.

    Now granted I have the sound off on my t.v., but I have yet to hear some one in authority stand up and say this is wrong, we will get tapes, we will identify you, arrest you, and try you. In Vancouver when we had a nasty hockey riot a few years ago, that is what happened. Provincial and city politicians and police chief when on T.V. and announced what they would do and did it. It took awhile to identify the rioters via face book, yes, people put their pictures up there and make it easy for the police.

    At some level none of this surprised me, and on another level I just want to sit down and cry because of what happened in the American capitol and I don’t live in the U.S.A. nor am I a citizen., I’m a Canadian.

    there are American politicians who didn’t stop Trump and they are the enablers. They let this man do what he wanted from calling Mexicans murderers and rapists, banning Muslims, putting latinix children in cages–concentration camps, lie, lie, lie, did nothing to stop the spread of COVID and there are over 330K dead in the U.S.A.

    People wonder how Nazi Germany came about, well now you know. while we were in elementary school our mother used to say it could all happen again. When Trump opened his mouth after he declared his candidacy I knew she had been right. Just never thought it would happen in the U.S.A. So far things have not progressed and those who have stood up to trump and these terrorists, are doing what is right and proper. Seth Myer’s speech last night is worth the watch.

    • skua says:

      “… sit down and cry because of what happened in the American capitol …”
      That is a good idea for just about all of us.

      There is also George Floyd, and the many many others killed by racist police systems, and and the 100s of thousands of deaths from COVID to grieve.

  38. skua says:

    “Several of the sources said the U.S. Capitol Police—with a strength of more than 2,000 law enforcement officers—might not act, or might be intentionally stood down, because many Congressional Republican leaders wanted the mob to amplify their shrinking voices that the election was illegitimate. There has been no confirmation of this claim. But it’s notable that it took less than 15 minutes for the mob to gain entrance to the Capitol Building–and then virtually nothing was done to eject them.”
    Newsweek has “Several” sources telling them this but want even more confirmation?
    Videos show a line of police defending a wide perimeter using low violence methods, and once outflanked/broken-through the police go into “just standing here moderating” mode.
    Videos show entrances to the building not defended by police.
    Lethal responses apparently limited to the shot that killed a rioter.
    This occured when a swat team came up stairs to a crowded corridor. The ordinary police who had been there against a wall, and in front of a broken window in a corridor divider, then behaved as if they had been relieved of their post and left (down the stairs). A “man in a suit” then spoke with the lead member of the swat team. In the time that this discussion occured the rioter went to the broken window-frame and climbed up into it, apparently to go through into the next section of corridor. She was shot while semi-crouched in the window-frame.
    Have seen two accounts of who shot her – one has a cop, the other has a man in a suit pulling out a pistol. Both of these were said to be in the un-invaded section of corridor. I suspect she was going through the window frame into an area where Congress-people were sheltering..

  39. punaise says:

    One of my slightly tinfoily acquaintances shared this, not sure if the source is legit:

    jacobian (@jacobian) Tweeted:

    So much this. A physical breach is a nightmare scenario for infosec.

    On the off-chance that any of my followers are involved in this — I do have some experience in scenarios like this and would be happy to help. If I can be of assistance hit me up.

    what we’re talking about:- we must assume that foreign agents were among the rioters- snooping devices can be implanted into anything with a power cord- so every device in the capitol is now a potential foreign asset.

    So, just for starters:- all computers need to be inventoried, inspected inside and out, and the OS paved/rebuilt

  40. Bay State Librul says:

    General Powell on CNN made me sick!
    He is definitely out of touch with reality.
    Impeach the Con.
    My Rep and Senators are on board.
    Chris Hayes should be given a Medal of Honor.

  41. Ada says:

    This is the first time I write a post on EW and I am a little bit anxious about it, so if I make mistakes, please excuse them. I will try to improve myself in the future.
    Yesterday I was browsing various posts on Twitter related to the events from January 6, 2021 and I noticed a video where the rioters were using a ladder to climb the Capitol building. I did not save the link for this video but I will keep looking for it. I was wondering how they got the ladder in that place and at that time.

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