Josh Hawley Shocked and Alarmed to Discover the FBI Would Follow the Money behind Right Wing Terrorists

There wasn’t much useful oversight in the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing with FBI Director Christopher Wray today. Democrats got him to repeat, over and over, that there is no evidence that Antifa or people only pretending to be pro-Trump were behind the January 6 insurrection. But there was almost no mention of Trump as the unifying force behind the disparate groups there. Instead of talking about how the Former President’s lies riled up the insurrection, Ben Sasse focused on people in their mother’s basement and grandmother’s attic.

There was a lot of focus on how a January 5 FBI report predicting that Congress might be targeted got disseminated, but none on why the FBI didn’t know what the rest of us did much earlier than that: that these unhinged terrorists were coming to DC in large numbers. No one raised QAnon until Wray dodged Richard Blumenthal’s questions about whether members of Congress pushing QAnon conspiracies exacerbate the problem.

Lindsey Graham and John Kennedy tried to score points because someone didn’t activate the National Guard in time, all the while pretending not to understand that the single person in DC who had unquestioned authority to order the Guard to the Capitol, but did not, was the Commander in Chief at the time.

Things got really weird when Republicans expressed concern about surveillance.

Mike Lee — who actually is a champion of civil liberties — suggested the only reason why right wingers might have been interviewed by the FBI would be by geolocating those who attended the rallies, even if they didn’t enter the Capitol. Then he bizarrely asked if the legal process behind such surveillance was FISA, which targets foreign threats, or National Security Letters.

Crazier still was Josh Hawley’s follow-up to Mike Lee’s questions.

Hawley, who’s not a champion of civil liberties and normally likes to beat up social media companies, asked a series of questions that seemed utterly ignorant — shocked really — how over the course of arresting almost 300 people, the FBI would show probable cause to obtain geolocation data, metadata, financial data, and social media data.

Hawley: Can I just go back to a series of questions that Senator Lee asked you? He asked you about the geolocation and metadata aspect gathering related to, gathering of metadata, that is, related to your investigation of the January 6 riot. You said you weren’t familiar with the specifics. Can I just clarify your responses to him. So when you say you’re not familiar, are you saying you don’t know whether the Bureau has scooped up geolocation data, metadata, records from cell phone towers. Do you not know. Or are you saying that the Bureau maybe has or hasn’t done it. Just tell me what you know about this?

Wray: So when it comes to geolocation data specifically — again, not in a specific instance, but even the use of geolocation data — I would not be surprised to learn but I do not know for a fact that we were using geolocation data under any situation in connection with the investigation of January 6. But again, we do use geolocation data under specific authorities in specific instances. Because this is such a sprawling, that would not surprise me. When it comes to metadata, which is a little bit different, obviously than geolocation data, I feel confident that we are using various legal authorities to look at metadata under a variety of situations. But, again, the specifics of when, under what circumstances, with whom, that kind of thing, I’m not in a position to testify about with the sprawl and size of the investigation. And certainly not uh in a, you know, Congressional hearing.

Hawley: What authorities do you have in mind? You say that you’re using the relevant authorities, what authorities are they?

Wray: Well, we have various forms of legal process we can serve on companies that will allow us to get acc–

Hawley: And that’s been done?

Wray: We’re using a lot of legal process in connection with the investigation, so, yes.

Hawley: But, specifically, serving, serving process on companies, using, invoking your various legal powers to get that data from companies, that’s been, that’s been done, of gathering this data?

Wray: In gathering metadata? I, I,

Hawley: Yeah.

Wray: Again, I don’t know the specifics, but I feel confident that that has happened because metadata is often something that we look at. And we have a variety of legal tools that allow us to do that under certain circumstances.

Hawley: What about the cell tower data that, uh, was reportedly scooped up by the Bureau on the day, during, in fact, while the riot was underway. What’s happened to, what’s happened to that data? Do you still have it. Has it been retained? Uh, do you have plans to retain it?

Wray: Again: whatever we’re doing with cell phone data, I’m confident we’re doing it in conjunction with our appropriate legal tools–

Hawley: Well, how — here’s what I’m trying to get at, I think it’s what Senator Lee was trying to get at. How are we going to know what you are doing with it, and how are we going to evaluate the Bureau’s conduct if we don’t know what authorities you’re invoking, what precisely you’re doing, what you’re retaining. I mean, this is, you said to him repeatedly you weren’t familiar with the specifics, you’ve now said it to me. I don’t know, I’m not sure how this committee is supposed to evaluate anything that the Bureau is doing — you’re basically saying just “trust us.” I mean, how are we gonna know? Do we have to wait until the end of your investigation to find out what you’ve done?

Wray: Well, certainly I have to be careful about discussing an ongoing investigation, which I’m sure you can appreciate. Uh, but, uh, all the tools that we have done in conjunction with prosecutors and lawyers from the Justice Department. Now, if there’s information we can provide you, before an investigation’s completed that goes through what some of the authorities we have, the tools we have, etcetera we could probably provide some information like that that might be useful to you to help answer the question.

Hawley: That would be helpful. Thank you. I’ll hold you to that. Let me ask you about some other things that have been reported, um in the press, particularly there have been a series of reports that the Bureau has worked with banks in the course of the investigation into the January 6 riot, both before and after, and that some banks, particularly Bank of America, may have handed over data for 200 plus clients who may have used their credit or debit cards to make purchases in the DC area. What do you know about this? Has Bank of America voluntarily turned over information to the Bureau about its customers?

Wray: I don’t know of any of the specifics so I’d have to look into that.

Hawley: And so has the FBI requested similar information from any other companies to your knowledge?

Wray: Again, sitting here right now, I do not know the answer to that question. I do know that we work with private sector partners, including financial institutions in a variety of ways, all the time, in a variety of investigations. But exactly the specifics of what may or may not have happened here? That I don’t know sitting here as we’re talking today.

Hawley: As I’m sure you can appreciate, my concern here is that 12 USC 3403 prohibits financial institutions from turning over confidential client records, unless of course they’ve got reasonable suspicion that there’s a crime being committed. Now the news reports on this have reported that financial institutions were doing this in cooperation with the Bureau without any such indication of a crime, they’re just turning over reams of consumer data. That obviously would be a major legal problem. A major legal concern. Can you try and get me some answers to these questions? I appreciate you say you don’t know today, you’re not aware of what’s going on, but can you look into this and follow-up with me on this?

[Wray acknowledges that the FBI has many authorities]

Hawley: What about the, some of the technology companies, Facebook, Google, Twitter, Apple, Amazon. Has the the FBI had contact with those tech platforms following the events of the Sixth?

Wray: We’ve certainly had contact with a number of the social media companies in connection with the Sixth. So that much I know.

Hawley: Has the Bureau sought to compel any of those companies to turn over user data related to the Sixth?

Wray: Well, again, I can’t tell you the specifics here, but what I will tell you is that we, I feel certain that we have served legal process on those companies which we do with some frequency and we have received information from some of those companies. And whether that’s true from every single one of the companies you listed I can’t say for sure but I suspect it is, because we work with the Social Media companies quite a lot.

Hawley: Are you aware of any of the companies voluntarily turning over data to the Bureau in relationship to the events of the Sixth?

Wray: Sitting here right now, I can’t say for sure.

I knew when I read The Intercept piece making thinly sourced allegations that this would happen, that right wingers trying to protect right wing terrorists and possibly even themselves would profess shock that the FBI used very basic investigative techniques to investigate an attack on the Capitol (Hawley seems to be relying, as well, on Fox News reports, including Tucker Carlson).

But I find it shocking that the former Attorney General of Missouri, with an office full of staffers, can’t review the arrest documents for the 270 people publicly arrested so far to answer these questions. Had he done so, he would have seen that affidavit after affidavit talks about obtaining warrants, including (for non-public data) from Facebook. And the single reference to Bank of America I can think of — describing Kelly Meggs paying for rooms in VA and DC in conjunction with the attack — makes it clear that the FBI used some kind of legal process.

Records obtained from the Comfort Inn in Arlington, Virginia, show that a credit card belonging to Kelly Meggs was used to pay for a room at the hotel on the nights of January 5 and 6, 2021.21 The room, with two queen beds, was booked in the name of a different person suspected of being affiliated with the Oath Keepers.

21 Pursuant to legal process, the government obtained records from Bank of America, which show two charges to the Comfort Inn on January 5, 2021, each for $224. The records also show that on January 7, 2021, Kelly Meggs paid a charge of $302 to the Hilton Garden Inn, located at 1225 First Street NE, Washington, D.C.

A grand jury has already found that these credit card charges — the coordinated spending of people who forced their way into the Capitol wearing tactical gear after providing “security” for right wing figureheads — was evidence of a conspiracy, “to stop, delay, and hinder Congress’s certification of the Electoral College vote.”

And the Senator from Missouri who shared that goal seems awfully concerned that the FBI is using very routine legal process to investigate the larger conspiracy.

95 replies
  1. Sls642 says:

    Hawley is a tool. This is about people who were trying to destroy our country. And Hawley is worrying about their bank records? Unbelievable.

    • rickw2187 says:

      I think Hawley is worried about being implicated from the data that has/is being gathered.

    • Randy King says:

      Hawley’s questions struck me that he is hoping to find out what cell phone information the FBI has that may implicate him and other traitors in the House snd Senate. He is scared! Good

    • Leoghann says:

      Hawley is primarily worried that he might not get enough time in the spotlight on any given day; he could care less about their bank records. Although rickw noted that he might be concerned that some of that money used in support of the insurrection might have spent time in one of his accounts. It seems to me that Hawley is trying to begin to reframe the argument, to make it seem as if some of these appropriate investigative methods are suddenly outrageous and unacceptable. If we know anything about the man, it is that he has completely thrown in with the insurrection. He is totally their Senator, and will do whatever he can for them, in hopes their loyalty will translate into national ballot box support.

      • graham firchlis says:

        Spot on.

        Religious nutter told he was headed for the presidency since uni, setting up for a run.

        Smart, scary, sociopathic, amoral genuine religious entitled fervor, Trump’s showboating ethos fully realized, evil incarnate without the social scandals.

        The future of the Republican Party. Perhaps the nation.

        • Wajim says:

          Elmer Gantry’s third cousin twice removed is coming to his own reckoning sooner than he thinks. He’s not asking these questions because he’s concerned about FISA or due process. His lawyers will handle that for him

      • Vinnie Gambone says:

        Yes. Calls insurrection a riot Just like calling Russia’s sabotage of our elections “meddling”,-
        a mere trifle.

    • posaune says:

      I’m guessing that Hawley has never prosecuted a criminal case.
      I could be wrong, but it just doesn’t seem like it.

  2. Rugger9 says:

    As I noted on the prior thread, it would not surprise me if blockchain transactions were also used, and some of these accused seditionists are savvy enough to use it along with their Russian handlers. Hawley was trying to feign ignorance in order to assess his own exposure to investigation, something Rove would also do when challenged. Don’t forget that saving one’s own arse is standard GOP practice.

    Let’s also remember that the Intercept also had Glenn Greenwald in good standing for a very long period of time in media terms, so it was good that EW confirmed it elsewhere.

    OT, but apparently the fat is in the fire over at Faux News because Kayleigh McEnany was hired as a “contributor” after several actual journos were let go in a recent purge. About that, let’s remember that Faux is more worried about losing their base to OANN and Newsmax and had to glom onto Kayleigh to keep her away from the others. The base likes being lied to, apparently.

    • person1597 says:

      “I love the picture in my head
      But I know that it’s not real
      I leave a picture in my head
      ‘Cause I like how it makes me feel
      Tell me all your sweet, sweet little lies
      All about the dark places you hide
      Tell me all your problems, make them mine
      Tell me all your sweet, sweet little lies”

      • Tracy Lynn says:

        I like the song and saw the concert live when Fleetwood Mac came through the Bay Area, but their performance was somewhat low energy. Still, it fits when one talks about Kayleigh. Thanks for posting.

      • subtropolis says:

        I’ll never forget this clip of a journalist at one of Trump’s rallies asking a woman what the attraction was. She replied, “He tells us what we want to hear!” And, of course, this cohort is famously irony-challenged.

      • Fran of the North says:

        The alpha – omega:

        Freshman year at CU and Rumors blew up like the Gadget at Trinity, and we were a concert stop. We were on the turf at the 20 yd line.

        Couple years back, another U, same Buckingham & McVie. Absolutely incredible.

        And Lindsey does a better job here than the faux duet in the earlier rendition. But the real Mick is one and only. That said Jimmy Paxon is a worthy replacement.

    • PhoneInducedPinkEye says:

      You really don’t need to be a savvy russian asset to use crypto currency. KYC regulations have been tightened at major exchanges the US has influence over, and unless you do some things it is straightforward for the law to follow transactions back to a name and face.

  3. dc says:

    These hearings have all been disappointing. Dems are missing an opportunity to have a developed and unified message. They are all focused on their pet peeves and duplicating questions. GOP propaganda is far more effective, such that Dems are always on defense. Why did they need to do the Antifa thing over and over? Don’t they pre-plan. One to go after Antifa lie and right wing media planners, one to go after funding sources, one to go after trump orbit planners, one to go after congressional planners; and in between focused questioning addressing the bullshit being tossed by the GOP reps. They never ever react real time to the bullshit being tossed into the record. Is this because they don’t understand all the facts or because they cannot organize and think strategically? It is seriously like colonial gentlemanly musket play. Line up and go through the motions until the allotted time is up.

    • PhoneInducedPinkEye says:

      Their committee staff are pitifully underfunded and the hearing rules aren’t geared towards anything other than trying to produce viral moments.

      These are things they could change if leadership saw a problem with the current setup.

      • Yancy says:

        Since the advent of television, they’ve always used these for self-promotion via sound bites. Probably did same in old print days: best/most interesting quotes almost always make it into final print.

    • P J Evans says:

      I suspect more than a few senior members still think it’s a gentlemanly job, not having to deal with things like insurrectionists and sedition and foreign influence.

    • peggy thomas says:

      Don’t these guys have to go to lawyer school to get their jobs? I could get more incriminating evidence out of my cheating husband even without the frypan.

    • Melinda Hellyer says:

      Agreed. Klobuchar’s closing largely felt placating, as though she was afraid they had offended the panel. To not discuss Trump’s role in incitement was astounding. Blumenthal was a bright moment, but even he faded into what seems like fear they are not acting with propriety.

  4. Spencer Dawkins says:

    All I could think of reading this was how equally shocked the Trump 2016 transition team was to discover that of course NSA wasn’t setting out to listen to THEM, but they were talking to Russian diplomats who NSA WAS listening to. But that’s the way conversations work.

    I wish Wray had asked, “so, Senator, is there anyone you’re especially concerned about the FBI poking into? I could report back to this committee after I have a chance to check …”

  5. mospeck says:

    Marcy Ten Thousand Miles an Hour :)
    love your obs, and your intensity reminds me of Beth Harmon’s. There must be some kind of way out of this place, leaving jokers like Hawley fast receding in the rear view. Fingers crossed, it all starts by SN10 sticking the landing tomorrow

  6. Vinnie Gambone says:

    Somebody tell Gosh to just read Emptywheel and he can can get all his questions answered, And then some.

  7. subtropolis says:

    “Had he done so, he would have seen that affidavit after affidavit talks about obtaining warrants …”

    Before I’d reached this paragraph, I was already wondering why Wray hadn’t responded, “I refer you to the many affidavits that have been filed in conjunction with this investigation. (You fucking idiot.)”

  8. Peterr says:

    Hawley has been going after tech companies and social media companies for years — long before Jan 6th. The notion that he was asking these questions to try to find out what the FBI knows about his own potential involvement is laughable. While briefly serving as AG in Missouri, Hawley latched on to attacking tech companies as a faux populist “I’m looking out for the little guy” issue, going after Google and Facebook/Cambridge Analytical.

    The fact that he’s not serious about this is reflected in the richly deserved mockery that Marcy pours out here. Calling his knowledge of the authorities used by law enforcement and intelligence agencies to access information held by private companies “utterly ignorant” is being very, very generous.

  9. Saratoga says:

    Another possibility is that he’s getting ready to be “appalled that the FBI is spying on patriotic Americans”

  10. PeterS says:

    I agree that Hawley’s pretend concern over routine investigative techniques reflects a certain sympathy for the insurrectionists. That he was using the hearing to find out what information the FBI might have found out about his own position is I think a bit far-fetched (I see that Peterr has just said something similar). A horrible human being but not a stupid, horrible human being.

  11. watching says:

    When Hawley asks the asks the question about banks voluntarily providing evidence, he looks like a defense attorney formulating an affirmative defense to get evidence quashed.

      • e.a.f. says:

        I’d agree with that.
        The guy doesn’t read like he’d make any type of lawyer.
        His questions are plain weird. what he keeps asking about, well you can get that sort of information from any criminal t.v. show. they explain it in great detail sometimes especially back in the Law and Order series.

        What I think is very funny is that these terrorists paid via bank cards, credit cards, etc. Who the hell does that when they’re up to no good. of course they might have thought they were going to succeed, which is even dumber.

        First rule, if you don’t want people to know where you were or are going don’t use a credit card, pay cash or use some one else’s credit card. Every woman I knew who had a “nasty” husband they wanted to avoid knew that and frequently traded credit cards with other women to throw them off track and that was 40 years ago.

        There is an old line about keeping your mouth shut so you don’t confirm people’s suspicions that you’re stupid. some body might want to give Hawley a heads up on that one

        • Yancy says:

          They expected to be treated as heroes and patriots. Barring that, they thought Trump had their backs and would pardon them or have the DOJ monkey around with their cases.

  12. di says:

    Why is he bothered? Nothing is going to happen to the funders or the acting criminals, because they are white and not poor. None will go to prison or be tortured. They’ll get favored due process.

  13. Neil says:

    Absolutely anything at all to distract, tie up, and impede the investigators (the ones doing the actual work).
    What better way to get wrenches in the works than make it that the investigators’ bosses have to start asking the investigators for more information, more reports, more time spent justifying what they’re doing and how they’re doing it, instead of allowing that focus and effort to produce results.
    This is totally typical of any management-level discussion of any crisis/investigation, in almost any industry. There are people working hard to get things fixed/done, and then there are groups of managers talking to one another, re-hashing the same thing through ignorance of the details, complaining about the workers not doing their job well (repeating rumours of such spread upwards by bad-mouthing jealous useless workers), taking up time with absolutely no tangible result, to justify their existence.
    Dealing with this was my day-in, day-out for too many years, in a job I labelled “complaints manager”.
    I’ve seen so many “Josh” types doing this it’s pathetic. One despairs of the human race being able to achieve anything – or on the flip side, one marvels at how anything is achieved in spite of this.

    • PeterS says:

      I assume the Dems called Wray, and I doubt his presence took much away from the actual investigations that are on going. I’m not defending certain GOP members, but I feel you are dismissing the importance of oversight too lightly.

      • Peterr says:

        The FBI Director makes one big trip to the Capitol for an annual oversight hearing each year, and this was it. This annual oversight hearing isn’t always held at the same time, and may have a specific focus (like this one on Jan 6), but it is a regular feature.

  14. skua says:

    If I was Hawley and looking to be the Great American Leader, I’d be doing this to turn my base’s opinion away from disapproval of the insurrectionist, towards fear and loathing of the government’s tyrannical abuse of power in its persecution of some overly energetic but patriotic defenders of freedom. Cause I’d know that I’m going to need many murderous insurrectionists in the future.

  15. Bay State Librul says:

    Will we get a second bite of the apple?

    Senator Whitehouse outshines everyone on the Judiciary Committee.
    He would be a great Supreme Court Jurist, when they expand it to 15?

      • Timmer says:

        I have many times, over the past couple years, commented to friends that this guy means business. His digging into the Federalist dark money, double secret BS was masterful. I am curious as to any follow up.

    • Robot17 says:

      I’d prefer him in the Whitehouse frankly. (pun intended) I don’t really know his track record but every time I hear him I come away impressed.

      • gmoke says:

        Had friends who lived next door to the Whitehouses when he was RI Attorney General. Met his wife once when I visited my friends and met the Senator once after an energy talk at MIT.

        Whitehouse is a career prosecutor and very, very smart. His explanation of the “dark money” process during a hearing on the Supreme Court was brilliant:

        He gave a weekly climate talk, “Time to Wake Up,” 279 times on the floor of the Senate and stopped only after Biden released his climate plan.

        His questioning of Director Wray focused on the lack of FBI response to at least three years’ worth of “questions for the record.” The man is persistent and does not forget.

        • Ginevra diBenci says:

          Plus this: Whitehouse may be the only senator who’s mastered Zoom aesthetics–he’s turning himself into James Bond on screen. My pulse starts racing every time he checks in on cable news, and I am definitely not that type usually.

    • harpie says:

      From the thread:

      “The Proud Boys are threatening to shut down the water system in the downtown area…”

    • harpie says:

      MARCY is following the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee HEARING today, and just wrote:

      […] Note: There remains a gaping hole in the story of Jan 6 about why the Park Police weren’t more prepared (and whether Park Service informed everyone of the growing size of the expected crowd).

      THIS PERMIT that was published today by WaPo shows that DHS was NOT AWARE that the crowd size estimate had gone UP to 30,000 on January 4, 2021
      ALSO the official SIGNATURE is REDACTED: (b) (7) (A)

      [see the above link at Pro-Tip post for more]

        • Ginevra diBenci says:

          Does anyone have a time-stamp for the (original) photo of Josh Hawley saluting the “January the Sixth” mob with his fist?

          I am still trying to weave Hawley into the timeline. His pseudo-questioning of Wray seemed mainly like a predicate for him to whitewash his own involvement (note the emphasis on “no crime”) and secondarily to attach himself to Mike Lee’s vigilance re: surveillance. Hawley will have deniability on that one as soon as the various crimes in the indictments are iterated–just so long as he himself gets to weasel out as planned.

        • harpie says:

          That photo was taken at 12:35 PM per the photographer.

          There is also a photo of HAWLEY’s AUDIENCE, which was taken at the same time. Both are at this article:

          12:35 PM
          1] Josh HAWLEY, on the east side of the Capitol, gives a FIST PUMP, and
          2] the CROWD he is acknowledging. [PHOTOS]

          [Does the man on the lower right, yellow parka, have an earpiece?]

          • Savage Librarian says:

            He definitely has something in his ear. He is also wearing Proud Boys colors, black and yellow. Coincidence or something else?

          • Ginevra diBenci says:

            Thank you, harpie, for not only answering my question but also giving context I confess I was unaware of: At the same time the official rally was ending, all these “protesters” were already gathered at the Capitol. Did they have a separate permit? Was this gathering organized by different groups than the mob? Nothing about that confederation of middle-aged White people looks spontaneous. And the fact that they quieted down after the exchange with Hawley suggests they might have been awaiting further orders/reinforcements.

  16. PeterS says:

    Yesterday Wray talked about the difference between social media messages which encourage violence, but are “just” talk, and such messages which gain traction and lead to actually violence. He called the former messages “aspirational”, which seems a touch euphemistic but is perhaps clearer than what I contemplated, e.g. “ugly BS”.

    The question I’d like to have heard Wray (not) answer is: how can you distinguish between an angry gun-owning MAGA guy, who’s been told the true election result was stolen from him so fighting back is necessary, and an angry dangerous lone actor?

    • skua says:

      ““just” talk, and such messages which gain traction and lead to actually violence”
      Seems like trying to distinguish between truckdrivers who close their eyes and then 60 seconds later swerve suddenly to the left on the basis of whether they killed anyone or not.

  17. Savage Librarian says:

    By Gosh, By Golly

    Oh, by gosh, by golly,
    Time for missed cell toady, Hawley,
    Nasty turn of events, QAnon presence,
    Scoundrels cover it with snow.

    Oh, by gosh, he’ll mingle
    With those too feral to be lingual,
    Over heating, tribal greeting,
    Terrorists he seems to know.

    Then comes that big night,
    Giving democracy the trim,
    Voices from the alt-right,
    Like trolls straight from Grimm.

    Oh, by gosh, by golly,
    Time for missed cell toady, Hawley,
    Thick rope ties and great big lies,
    Thugs raising a fist or two,
    Bellowing, “Scary Sickness” to you.

  18. Jenny says:

    Facts are often complicated.
    Josh Hawley

    If you abuse the public trust, we’re going to find you, and and we’re going to prosecute you.
    Josh Hawley

    Government serves Christ’s kingdom rule; this is its purpose. And Christians’ purpose in politics should be to advance the kingdom of God – to make it more real, more tangible, more present.
    Josh Hawley

    • AndTheSlithyToves says:

      “Anyone who tells you who or what your Higher Power is, is a leader and a liar.”
      –Anonymous Al-Anon Member

    • P J Evans says:

      God isn’t into power for power’s sake, and he should have learned that in Sunday school (where it’s properly taught). The Constitution doesn’t authorize God in government – and he should have learned *that* in grade school, and had it reinforced in law school.

  19. harpie says:


    Walker corrects–he had said earlier that Mike Flynn was on the call, it was Charles — as WaPo reported
    It’s just really batshit insane that one of the guys on the call was the brother of the guy who incited a lot of the insurrectionists.

    From the Just Security Time Line:

    12/16 The national council of “The Three Percenters — Original” group, one of the oldest and largest Three Percenter anti-government militia groups, issues a statement on the 2020 election alleging that

    […] there was widespread election fraud perpetrated against the American people.
    We stand ready and are standing by to answer the call from our President should the need arise that We The People are needed to take back our country from the pure evil that is conspiring to steal our country away from the American people.

    We are ready to enter into battle with General Flynn leading the charge.

    We will not act unless we are told to. And we will not act on our own as TTPO, but rather as a united body of American patriots.

    • PeterS says:

      It’s certainly weird that Charles Flynn was on the call, but does it mean anything at all? I don’t like the idea of all members of a family being tarred with the same brush.

      (Charles Flynn’s nomination for promotion to general was apparently confirmed by voice vote of the full Senate, in December 2020; I don’t know if that means without objection.)

      • Savage Librarian says:

        Well, as realtors say, “It’s all about location, location, location.” And, in this case, it’s all about context, context, context.

        • PeterS says:

          Not that it matters, but I don’t get what you mean. Brothers being estranged is not unheard of, for all I know Charles thinks Mike is a jerk. How many calls was Charles Flynn on that didn’t tangentially touch on his brother? Given enough time there was bound to be a call that did.

          Perhaps Charles Flynn’s involvement is suspicious, I simply don’t know.

      • harpie says:

        I agree with Marcy that it’s “batshit insane” that “one of the guys on the call was the brother of the guy who incited a lot of the insurrectionists”, but my comment concentrates on M. Flynn and the insurrectionists. He doesn’t get enough credit.

        That said, there was some confusion in the Army’s responses to questions about the reporting on C. Flynn and that phone call.

      • Savage Librarian says:

        Yes, PeterS, answers to more questions would be good. Here are some excerpts from a thoughtful article:

        “TIME FOR A CONGRESSIONAL HEARING WITH LT. GENERAL CHARLES A. FLYNN: Not My Brother’s Keeper?” – Allan Dodds Frank, 1/25/21

        “With little public notice, just six days after Donald Trump pardoned his disgraced, but loyal, former national security advisor, Michael Flynn, he approved promoting Flynn’s younger brother, Lt. Gen. Charles A. Flynn, to be a four-star general in the US Army.”
        “However, the Army’s conduct since the January 6 riot, including lying to the Washington Post for more than a week about what Lt. General Charles A. Flynn was doing that day, is troubling. The Army’s slow response to requests from Capitol and District of Columbia police is already being investigated by Congress, but the inquiry needs to be much deeper and broader.”
        “…What postelection exchanges took place between the White House and the Pentagon? Did Donald Trump or Michael Flynn communicate in any way with Lt. Gen. Charles Flynn about using Army troops? What requests were made to Michael Flynn’s former deputy Ezra Cohen-Watnik, who was installed by Trump little more than a week after the November 3 election as the acting undersecretary of defense for intelligence? “
        “There also is no public record of how and when Michael Flynn and his brother communicate. At least before the elder Flynn got into trouble in 2016, there were plenty of stories about how close the two brothers were and how they shared military experiences, including at Fort Bragg, NC. “

        • PeterS says:

          Thank you for the reply. The only “fact” I have is that Charles Flynn’s promotion to general was confirmed by voice vote in the Senate, which I think suggests it wasn’t controversial at the time (pre-hindsight).

          • Savage Librarian says:

            No, you have many more facts that you do not acknowledge. Maybe you are more of an audiovisual learner. Try these facts:

            “Why Did The Pentagon Lie About Flynn’s Brother’s Role In The Jan 6 Response?”| Rachel Maddow | MSNBC


            • PeterS says:

              I can read, thank you. We have a different view on troubling questions about someone v. relevant facts about someone.

  20. The Old Redneck says:

    Oh for God’s sake. Gathering social media data is routinely done in civil and criminal cases these days. That’s like asking “how do we evaluate” whether it was appropriate to take someone’s deposition.
    This was apparently an attempt to get a sound byte to be used in a TV ad for the reelection campaign. But all it did was make him look like an idiot.

  21. Manwen says:

    This is off the Hawley topic, but I noticed at Tuesday’s hearing that several Republicans tried to use their time to imply that the summer social justice protests were worse than the Capitol insurrection, citing 14,000 arrests, more injuries than January 6, and 25 deaths. No Democrat responded, leaving the Republican enthymeme hanging in the air that the “leftist violence was worse.” A Guardian article discusses a report by the Armed Conflict Location and Entry Data Project (ACLED) which uses the same data. Many of these deaths were the result of counter-protesters, some by police, and other acts of violence unconnected to the protests.
    From the article (

    “ACLED found that the overwhelming majority of the more than 9.000 Black Lives Matter demonstrations that took place across the US after the killing of George Floyd have been peaceful. News reports at the height of demonstrations over Floyd’s killing cited dozens of deaths in connection with protests, but many of those turned out to be examples of deadly crimes carried out in the vicinity of protests, rather than directly related to the demonstrations themselves, the researchers concluded. ACLED’s dataset only focuses on political violence.”

    Democrats did not respond to this line of argument, but it should be noted a more recent ACLED report found that of the more than 10,000 protests, 94% were peaceful. But left unanswered, the Republicans continue to obfuscate January 6 by making the summer seem worse. Tuesday’s hearing gave them a forum to generate false equivalence. There are many other reasons why the difference between protesting for racial/social justice is unlike an insurrection, but it is a disservice to the good conscience of social justice protesters to continue to equate them with violent insurrectionists.

    The most recent ACLED report can be found here:

  22. harpie says:
    11:02 AM · Mar 3, 2021 [VIDEO]
    DC National Guard Commander William WALKER:

    After conducting mission analysis to support the District’s request, I sent a letter to the Secretary of the Army, Ryan McCarthy, on January 1, requesting his approval. I received that approval in a letter dated January 5th, granting support to the Metropolitan Police Department with 320 Guardsmen personnel, to include a 40 personnel quick reaction force.

    The District of Columbia National Guard provides support to the Metropolitan Police Department, the United States Park Police, United States Secret Service, and other Federal and District law enforcement agencies in response to planned rallies, marches, protests and other large scale First Amendment activity on a routine basis.

    A standard component of such report is the stand up of an offsite quick reaction force, an element of Guardsmen held in reserve with civil disturbance response equipment: helmets, shields, batons, etc. They are postured to quickly respond to an urgent and immediate need for assistance by civil authorities.

    The Secretary of the Army’s January 5th letter to me, withheld that authority for me to employ the quick reaction force. Additionally, the Secretary of the Army’s memorandum to me required that a concept of operation be submitted to him before the employment of a quick reaction force. I found that requirement to be unusual, as was the requirement to seek approval to move Guardsmen supporting the Metropolitan Police Department to move from one traffic control point to another.

    • harpie says:

      In light of Walker’s timeline here, I’d like to reiterate my comment up thread a bit about the RALLY [“NOT A MARCH”] PERMIT process and timeline.

      12/31/20 Permit #21-0278 issued by NPS for Women for America First
      1/1/21 DC National Guard Commander William Walker, after conducting mission analysis to support the District’s request for NG support, sends a letter to the Secretary of the Army, Ryan McCarthy, requesting his approval. [Approval with limitations was received on 1/5]
      1/1/21 Permit #21-0278 AMENDED by NPS for

      Women for America First “March for Trump/Save America”
      at the Ellipse, Southeast and Southwest Quadrants for a “First Amendment Rally” with 5,000 participants.

      Activity Overview: Women for America First will conduct a first amendment rally “March for Trump” to demand transparency and protect election integrity. […] Women for America First will not conduct an organized march from the Ellipse at the conclusion of the rally. Some participants may leave to attend rallies at the United States Capitol to hear the results of Congressional certification of the Electoral College count.

      1/1/21 TRUMP tweets:

      The BIG Protest Rally in Washington, D.C., will take place at 11.00 A.M. on January 6th. Locational details to follow. StopTheSteal!

      1/4 Permit #21-0278 AMENDED AGAIN by NPS for

      Women for America First at the Ellipse, Southeast and Southwest Quadrants for a “First Amendment Rally” with 30, 000 participants.

      1/5 DC NG Commander WALKER, receives a letter from Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy, granting limited approval of his request to send NG support to the District.
      1/6 9:00 AM DHS issues Demonstration Report for January 6 2021 which does NOT indicate that the rally size was AMENDED on January 4, to INCREASE the SIZE of the CROWD from 5,000 to 30,000.
      ALSO the official SIGNATURE is REDACTED: (b) (7) (A)

      Women for America First (b)(6); (b)(7)(C) 01/06/2021
      Time: 0900 to 1900 hours
      Location: The Ellipse
      Purpose: First Amendment Rally
      Participants: (5,000) listed on permit application
      Source: National Park Service

      More, with other links, here:

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