Chain of Command: The AWOL Descriptions of the Commander in Chief’s Role in the National Guard Non-Response on January 6

The only formal explanation Trump has offered to describe his role in deploying the National Guard in response to the attack on the Capitol on January 6 came in his impeachment defense. As part of that defense, Bruce Castor pointed to things he claimed happened before Trump’s speech ended. In Castor’s inaccurate portrayal of the timeline, he suggested that the first action Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller took was when, at 1:05 (which Castor said was 11:05), Miller “received open source reports of demonstrator movements to the U.S. Capitol.” He continued to claim that,

At 1:09 PM, US Capitol Police Chief’s Steven Sund called the House and Senate Sergeants at Arms, telling them he wanted an emergency declared and he wanted the National Guard called. The point: given the timeline of events, the criminals at the Capitol were not there to even hear the President’s words. They were more than a mile away engaged in a preplanned assault on this very building.

Admittedly, this was probably no more than an incompetent parroting of the existing timeline released by DOD. It’s possible that Trump’s lawyers didn’t ask him what happened inside the White House that day, because if they did, it would not help their case.

Still: Trump’s own defense claimed that the first that Acting Secretary Miller did in the matter was at 1[1]:05 on January 6.

That’s mighty interesting because there have been two claims that Trump proactively offered up National Guard troops for January 6 in the days beforehand. The first came in a Vanity Fair piece written by a journalist that Trump’s DOD flunkies permitted to embed with them (he requested to do so before the insurrection, but didn’t start his embed until January 12, meaning the claims reported in this article were retrospective). That piece claimed that, the night before the attack, Trump told DOD they would need 10,000 people.

The president, Miller recalled, asked how many troops the Pentagon planned to turn out the following day. “We’re like, ‘We’re going to provide any National Guard support that the District requests,’” Miller responded. “And [Trump] goes, ‘You’re going to need 10,000 people.’ No, I’m not talking bullshit. He said that. And we’re like, ‘Maybe. But you know, someone’s going to have to ask for it.’” At that point Miller remembered the president telling him, “‘You do what you need to do. You do what you need to do.’ He said, ‘You’re going to need 10,000.’ That’s what he said. Swear to God.”


“We had talked to [the president] in person the day before, on the phone the day before, and two days before that. We were given clear instructions. We had all our authorizations. We didn’t need to talk to the president. I was talking to [Trump’s chief of staff, Mark] Meadows, nonstop that day.”


What did Miller think of the criticism that the Pentagon had dragged its feet in sending in the cavalry? He bristled. “Oh, that is complete horseshit. I gotta tell you, I cannot wait to go to the Hill and have those conversations with senators and representatives.”


Miller and Patel both insisted, in separate conversations, that they neither tried nor needed to contact the president on January 6; they had already gotten approval to deploy forces. However, another senior defense official remembered things quite differently, “They couldn’t get through. They tried to call him”—meaning the president.

So according to Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller, Trump had given him “clear instructions” to “do what you need to do,” and had warned him to have thousands of Guardsmen available. Miller said he was speaking non-stop to Mark Meadows, though an anonymous source stated that they tried but failed to get the President on the line.

Long after impeachment and even after his CPAC speech, Trump went to Fox to make the same claim that appeared in Vanity Fair.

Former President Trump told Fox News late Sunday that he expressed concern over the crowd size near the Capitol days before last month’s deadly riots and personally requested 10,000 National Guard troops be deployed in response.

Trump told “The Next Revolution With Steve Hilton” that his team alerted the Department of Defense days before the rally that crowds might be larger than anticipated and 10,000 national guardsmen should be ready to deploy. He said that — from what he understands — the warning was passed along to leaders at the Capitol, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — and he heard that the request was rejected because these leaders did not like the optics of 10,000 troops at the Capitol.

“So, you know, that was a big mistake,” he said.

Fox and other Trump mouthpieces have suggested that Nancy Pelosi rejected the Guard. That’s false. According to then Capitol Police Chief Steve Sund, House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving did.

On Monday, January 4, I approached the two Sergeants at Arms to request the assistance of the National Guard, as I had no authority to do so without an Emergency Declaration by the Capitol Police Board (CPB). My regular interactions with the CPB, outside of our monthly meetings regarding law enforcement matters, were conducted with the House and Senate Sergeant at Arms, the two members of the CPB who have law enforcement experience. I first spoke with the House Sergeant at Arms to request the National Guard. Mr. Irving stated that he was concerned about the “optics” of having National Guard present and didn’t feel that the intelligence supported it. He referred me to the Senate Sergeant at Arms (who is currently the Chair of the CPB) to get his thoughts on the request. I then spoke to Mr. Stenger and again requested the National Guard. Instead of approving the use of the National Guard, however, Mr. Stenger suggested I ask them how quickly we could get support if needed and to “lean forward” in case we had to request assistance on January 6.

Notably, Sund’s request and Irving’s response occurred before the conversation between Miller and Trump purportedly took place the night before the attack (which was far too late to deploy 10,000 people in any case). Moreover, Pelosi, Zoe Lofgren, and Mark Warner, among others, raised concerns about staffing for the day, so it’s not like Democrats weren’t raising the alarm.

Still, over a month after making no such claim as part of his Impeachment defense, Trump and his flunkies want to claim that Trump was proactive about deploying 10,000 people to defend the Capitol against his most ardent supporters.

That’s interesting background to the testimony offered by Robert Salesses, the “Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Assistant Secretary for Homeland Defense and Global Security,” in a joint Rules/Homeland Committee hearing on January 6 yesterday. As several people noted during the hearing, for some reason DOD sent Salesses, who wasn’t involved in the key events on January 6, rather than people like General Walter Piatt or General [Mike’s brother] Charles Flynn — who were on a call with MPD Chief Robert Contee and Sund on January 6 and who have made disputed claims about what occurred, including that Piatt recommended against sending the Guard because of optics. Effectively, Salesses was repeating what others told him, offering no better (indeed, more dated) information than Vanity Fair was able to offer. Salesses apparently called General Piatt the day before and dutifully repeated Piatt’s claim that he did not use the word, “optics,” which DC National Guard Commander General William Walker had just testified did occur.

General Piatt told me yesterday, Senator, that he did not use the word, “optics.”

Salesses then gave more excuses, explaining,

Senator, in fairness to the committee, General Piatt is not a decision-maker. The only decision-makers on the Sixth of January were the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy. It was a chain of command from the Secretary of Defense to Secretary McCarthy to General Walker. That was the chain of command.

General Walker, the Commander of the DC National Guard, responded by reiterating the response he had gotten from Piatt (and the brother of the guy who had incited many of the insurrectionists) implicitly correcting Salesses about chain of command. The Commander in Chief, of course, is in that chain of command.

Yes, Senator. So the chain of command is the President, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of the Army, [points to self] William Walker Commanding General District of Columbia National Guard.

After General Walker described more of the restrictions placed on him ahead of time, including the preapproval before moving a traffic control point from one block to another (which restriction, Walker said, he had never experienced in 19 years) and the issuance of riot gear, Salesses made more excuses (repeating his silence about the role of the President’s role in the chain of command). Remarkably, he described how Ryan McCarthy dithered from 3:04 until 4:10 because shots had been fired at the Capitol.

Salesses: Sir, Secretary Miller wanted to make the decisions on how the National Guard was going to be employed on that day. As you recall, Senator, the spring events, there was a number of things that happened during those events, that Secretary Miller as the Acting Secretary –

Rob Portman: Clearly he wanted to. The question is why? And how unusual. Don’t you think that’s unusual based on your experience at DOD?

Salesses: Senator, there was a lot of things that happened in the spring that the Department was criticized for — Sir, if I could. Civil Disturbance Operations? That authority rests with the Secretary of Defense. So if somebody’s gonna make a decision about employing military members against US citizens in a Civil Disturbance Operation —

Salesses: At 3:04, Secretary Miller made the decision to mobilize the entire National Guard. That meant that he was calling in all the National Guard members that were assigned to the DC National Guard. At 3:40–at 3:04 that decision was made. Between that period of time — between 3:04 and 4:10, basically, Secretary McCarthy had asked for — he wanted to understand, because of the dynamics on the Capitol lawn, with the explosives, obviously shots had been fired, he wanted to understand the employment of how the National Guard was going to be sent to the Capitol: what their missions were going to be, were they going to be clearing buildings, be doing perimeter security, how would they be equipped, he wanted to understand how they were going to be armed because, obviously, shots had been fired. He was asking a lot of questions to understand exactly how they were going to be employed here at the Capitol, and how many National Guard members needed to be deployed to the Capitol.

When asked whether restrictions placed on Walker hampered his defense, yes or no, Salesses again invoked the chain of command, again leaving out the Command-in-Chief.

Senator, General Walker, in fairness to him, can’t respond to a civil defense — a Civil Disturbance Operation without the authority of the Secretary of Defense.

Finally, Salesses explained a further 36-minute delay, from 4:32 until 5:08, when Walker was given approval to move, this way:

Salesses: In fairness to General Walker too, that’s when the Secretary of Defense made the decision, at 4:32. As General Walker has pointed out, cause I’ve seen all the timelines, he was not told that til 5:08.

Roy Blunt: How is that possible, Mr. Salazar [sic], do you think that the decision, in the moment we were in, was made at 4:32 and the person that had to be told wasn’t told for more than a half an hour after the decision.

Salesses: Senator, I think that’s an issue.

It’s not just that the people who were actually involved didn’t show up to explain all this to Congress. It’s not just that there were big gaps in the timeline, or gaps explained by dithering even after DOD learned about explosives and shots fired.

It’s that the guy sent to provide improbable answers seems to have removed the Commander-in-Chief, who was watching all this unfold on TV and now wants credit for proactively telling DOD they would need at least 10,000 people, from the chain of command he used to justify the delay.

That’s all the more striking given that — as Dana Milbank noted — the delay until Miller’s authorization (to say nothing of the 36-minute delay in informing Walker) also meant that DOD did not respond until after Trump had instructed his insurrection to go home.

Curiously, the Pentagon claims Miller’s authorization came at 4:32 — 15 minutes after Trump told his “very special” insurrectionists to “go home in peace.” Was Miller waiting for Trump’s blessing before defending the Capitol?

DOD’s selected witness yesterday said that General Walker couldn’t send the Guard to help protect the Capitol because of the chain of command. But the Commander-in-Chief seems to be AWOL from that chain of command.

Update: On Twitter AP observed that there is a discrepancy between Miller’s 10,000 person claim and Trump’s: Trump says it happened days before January 6, which would place it before Miller’s letter imposing new restrictions on the Guard.

94 replies
  1. dude says:

    I take your point. The military did not respond to a situation in the field because they did not want to risk antagonizing or getting out ahead of the temperament or the actions of the President. They surely knew he was watching exactly the same thing they were in real time. You’d think they’d be making frantic calls to the White House to confer, chain of command being so vital and all that.

    • Geoff says:

      Somehow I don’t think this was the point. The point to me is that we have quite a bit of evasion going on about the COO, and the people that could speak reliably about it, and that should be put on the record about it, aren’t even in attendance here. The military did not respond until after it was clear that Trump had called off the insurrection, when it was clear that it had failed. He loved the insurrectionists still at that point. They were his people. He spoke to them. But he surely spoke to others ahead of time about those people he loved. And they listened. We just dont know what was said to whom, when. And we need to find out.

      Here is the COO : “So the chain of command is the President, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of the Army, [points to self] William Walker Commanding General District of Columbia National Guard.”

      See if you can spot the links in the chain that are suspicious at this point. We’ve heard from Walker.

    • subtropolis says:

      Not that I wish to defend them, but the Adam Ciralsky version of events, as told in Vanity Fair, claims that they couldn’t get through to Trump.

      Which leads me to wonder whether investigators will ever depose anyone working the switchboard, and secure the call logs for that day.

  2. John Paul Jones says:

    From the DoD flunky:

    “Secretary McCarthy … wanted to understand, because of the dynamics on the Capitol lawn, with the explosives, obviously shots had been fired, he wanted to understand the employment of how the National Guard was going to be sent to the Capitol: what their missions were going to be, were they going to be clearing buildings, be doing perimeter security, how would they be equipped, … how they were going to be armed because, obviously, shots had been fired. He was asking a lot of questions to understand exactly how they were going to be employed here at the Capitol.”

    All of that pertains to tactical matters, and normally would be the responsibility of the troops and their commanders on the ground. It’s not normally a matter for the Secretary of Defense, and any officer in the room should have been able to tell the Secretary that. So this is, as Dr Marcy indicates, utter nonsense; and kudos to her for calling this out pretty much the instant the Vanity Fair article appeared.

    I’m a little mystified too, why they didn’t subpoena Miller, he who is so eager to get up on the Hill and testify.

    • Geoff says:

      I see McCarthy as the BDTS of this plot to hold off on a response to the insurrection. Haven’t yet decided what to call Miller, aside from a seditious POS.

      • FL Resister says:

        I think you may also call the former acting secretary of defense under the bus.

        It’s still confounding that the Pentagon initially denied that Michael Flynn’s younger brother was on a critical phone call with Major General Walker as they requested deployment of National Guard troops when the Capitol police were overwhelmed and the building was stormed by pro-trump rioters threatening to kill VP Mike Pence but they didn’t receive authorization until 3 1/2 hours later.

        Also confounding to this general citizen is why the Pentagon sent an attorney over to the Senate to testify although he is not anyone with direct knowledge of the matter.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      I’m a little mystified about the addictive desire to appease Trump – two weeks away from becoming an unemployed hack – versus the need to consider the reaction from incoming President and C-in-C Biden. Or are a few elephants missing from the room, such as the interests of the patrons behind these non-decision makers?

      • Geoff says:

        Think of it as analogous to the mob – Trump as capo, and Miller and McCarthy as total wannabe somebodies, who finally get their chance. All they have to do is prove their loyalty, and they will be taken care of forever. Of course, they are also too stupid to understand that the payoff to that loyalty would never come through. Probably were told this would work, so they would go from acting to actual. If it doesnt work, we will just make it seem like a bureaucratic snafu. Happens all the time. Ya know, optics.

        I just want to know why this memo was ever written, and at whose request. I mean, I know, but we as a country need to know. And unfortunately, unless there are tapes, we will never hear the conversation where Trump tells Miller to write this. But we MAY learn from some others who were involved in the writing. Because Miller, based on his signature, is too dumb to be this explicit.

        A peaceful protest at the White House was put down as if it were an armed insurrection. And yet, an insurrection at the Capitol (with arms waiting in the wings) was allowed to continue on even after gunshots had been fired and Federal property had been destroyed. Makes no sense, and we need to compare and contrast the behaviors in the chain of command for both events, including the actions of the very same players who were involved in both.

        • subtropolis says:

          But it does make sense. Smarting from the public condemnation of the earlier over-the-top response from the Pentagon, the leaders had become gun-shy when it was most needed. It makes perfect sense. It’s a drama as old as civilization.

          If that were the only incongruity that day, it might even serve to save their asses. But there is so much more.

          • Geoff says:

            Sure, it’s a perfectly reasonable explanation in a different world, but in the world we live in, it reeks of cover story. For now, it barely comports with the known facts, and a LOT of what we know has to be discarded, discounted, etc, and the players have to be given far more credibility than they deserve. The history of these people is they lie cheat and steal whenever possible, and they always do so with a plan to have a cover for it. Part of the cover for it is obstruction – revising the oral history, and eliminating the evidence whenever possible. Also, having ambiguity as your best friend, which works even better when the other side after four years still can’t grasp that their opponent does not act in good faith. They use the Democrats inability to believe how bad they are as one of their superpowers. It clearly shows from the hearings that Democrats have largely learned nothing in terms of how you have to deal with these people. It’s an embarrassment on the surface, and one can only hope that somehow behind the scenes they are doing a better job to determine just how much trouble democracy is in.

          • Hank the Lion says:

            The photo op at St. John’s Church did not make sense to me when it happened. Why risk the backlash for deploying the National Guard with so much force and violence at an otherwise mostly peaceful protest?

            But let’s look at it from the other side. Say, you’re planning a coup in a few months’ time, and you realize the National Guard could throw a wrench in your plans. So, you need to do something, anything, where you can deploy the National Guard with so much force that people will think twice before deploying them again at a protest.

            A simple photo op at a nearby church will do.

            The National Guard was not there because of the photo op, the photo op was held to deploy the National Guard.
            At least, that’s the way I think about it now.

            • Geoff says:

              This is exactly what I’m getting at. That situation had a purpose, and its purpose was to set up the optics argument. If you know your end game is a coup you do all you can in your power to set it up with cover in case it doesnt work. There are always lawyers hanging around there that are thinking about plausible deniability in the endgame.

            • rip says:

              A Conspiracy Theory I can believe in.

              There was a lot of planning for the probability of trump losing the election. And trying to hold onto the reins. Of the horse that had left the stable. Genius!

            • Zinsky says:

              An interesting theory, Hank. It’s possible the St. Johns Cathedral walk thing was a dress rehearsal for calling out the National Guard, but I remember reading that Ivanka thought it would bolster Trump’s standing with evangelicals. I suppose it could be both.
              One factoid I haven’t seen anyone mention is that Trump’s speech on January 6th at the Ellipse was made behind a wall of bullet-proof glass. Look at the replays – it is a barrier about eight feet high completely blocking the front of the stage. Most of his rallies had no such barriers. I think the reason was Trump knew his followers were going to be armed and he knew some of his minions were so deranged and low-life, they might get itchy trigger fingers waiting to get to Nancy Pelosi and use their firearms on him instead! He knew…

              • harpie says:

                Maybe…but another possibility is that he wanted to make it seem as if his life might be in danger…

                Roger STONE does this a lot…making a big show/FUSS that he perceives his very life to be endangered by some nebulous, shady group.
                Here’s a VIDEO from 1/1/21 of him soliciting money for security:
                1:50 AM · Jan 1, 2021

                He did the same around his trial and also at 2016 around Wikileaks/Assange being in danger.

        • Rugger9 says:

          The “tell” here is how there is an orchestrated attempt to revise the history to pretend DJT actually did try to protect the Capitol. Perhaps DJT’s finally understood he’s got real liability here, both criminal and civil and is floating the defense of (essentially) incompetence and confusion. Poor performance in compliance to policies can be defended, but stepping outside of the policy boundaries risks legal exposure.

          There is no doubt the fix is in, and both House and Senate should subpoena all the characters named by EW so far to ask them. Hearsay doesn’t cut it.

          Maybe that’s also why Tom Cotton is holding up Garland’s confirmation (ostensibly on lack of complete answers, after giving DJTs flunkies a free pass for outright lies): he knows AG Garland will enforce the subpoenas that AG Barr blew off.

      • John Lehman says:

        Simple, they were still holding in their hearts that the “emperor” could still pull this off. They were still trying to help the “emperor”.

        An ocean of obfuscation…..sad.

        • John Lehman says:

          …apologies to the “emperor”

          That’s Napoleon….for those who might think its a reference to someone else.

      • BobCon says:

        I think it’s fair to say we are in the dark about a lot of what was going on behind the scenes. We don’t really know a lot about Miller, for example, and I think it’s unfortunate that Adam Ciralsky doesn’t seem to have done due dilligence in finding out. We don’t get any sense in that Vanity Fair article of what Miller did, who was running DOD under him, anything really.

        We don’t know what combination of greed, laziness, craziness, ambition or stupidity was driving Trump loyalists, or how Pentagon careerists were assessing the risks of antagonizing Biden right out of the gate.

        People are dropping dimes on members of the mob, sometimes at considerable personal risk. I would be stunned if reporters have been working tirelessly but running into walls of silence about the Trump DOD. I suspect there just aren’t a lot of resources being expended.

        • Hika says:

          Has anyone got a detailed interview with Esper about why he was removed from SecDef on November 9? Why did Trump lose ‘confidence’ in Esper’s ability to perform the role? What makes Trump prefer Miller taking over to Esper continuing?
          Part of revealing the whole truth about the decision making on January 6 is consideration of the stories of those who were not there to make decisions and why they were no longer in decision making roles.

      • Rugger9 says:

        I’m not as mystified. Once the GOP accepted Russian help they were hooked and had to show fealty, even making a pilgrimage to kiss Putin’s ring on July 4 a couple of years back.

        Once all of the Russian intrigues come out, the GOP knows it is likely finished.

    • Ginevra diBenci says:

      This has been bothering me since I first saw it: McCarthy’s reported concern ” . . . with the explosives.” Which explosives? Does that refer to gunfire? Or the pipe bombs? Since when do you get to refer to “explosives” without explanation?

  3. earlofhuntingdon says:

    I wonder what the dithering would have been had a similar number of rioters assembled in Lafayette Square, determined to breach the White House and do harm to occupants it considered traitors to their cause. Or had they assembled outside the Supreme Court, gallows in hand, to tend to what they considered a traitorous majority on the Court. The process here seems less capable than the fictional ones portrayed in Olympus Has Fallen and White House Down.

    • SaltinWound says:

      If the White House were breached, I assume the Secret Service wouldn’t be shy about using their guns. But I have to think Pence’s security detail would have opened fire on the mob as well. Don’t they have different rules of engagement than the Capitol Police?

      • subtropolis says:

        Very much so. I am confident that, had they been directly confronted, they’d have laid down accurate, overwhelming fire while Pence was swiftly removed in the opposite direction.

  4. Norskeflamthrower says:

    The coup has taken place folks and the question of where the military comes down is still hanging out there. Biden has been masterful and deliberate with those situations in which he has control but it remains to be seen if he has control of the military. Namaste patriots

    • Taxi Driver says:

      This is why the nation was never suppose to have a standing army. Taxpayers have trained the insurrectionist, they have seemingly endless funds to buy military grade weapons (like laundered Russian funds), and they hate us for our freedoms.

      Most of all, they hate us for voting.

        • TooLoose LeTruck says:

          I believe what Taxi Driver said isn’t exactly right but it’s not completely wrong either… I read something about this very point a long time ago.

          From the National Constitution Center’s website:

          “In general, there were great concerns about the need for a standing army outside of times of war. The Constitutional Convention of 1787 in Philadelphia provided checks on any standing army by allowing the President to command it, but Congress to finance it using short-term legislation.

          Congress had the power to do this under Article I, Section 8, Clause 12, known as the Army Clause. “The Congress shall have Power To . . . raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years,” the Clause read.”

          I believe it wasn’t so much about a standing army as much as a permanent standing army.

          The article I linked to said the army at that time – 1789 – was about 700 soldiers… in 2018, about 450,000… I guess that’s what a civil war and two world wars will do for your military…

        • Norskeflamthrower says:

          Really Bmaz?!! Nobody is talking about eliminating the military just as nobody is talking about eliminating the police. Both the military and policing have grown into grotesque self-perpetuating structures that must be completely remade in the process of rebuilding our entire social-political system. But both the military and the civil police have a role to play at this moment in the struggle against this coup. It’s not complicated.

      • Zinsky says:

        I’m with Taxi Driver. Many of the Founders were deeply concerned about the early United States maintaining a standing army, having seen the problems associated with large armies under Queen Elizabeth in England. Men who were in the armies during her reign became criminals and vagrants when they returned home from service, “…leaving them to wander and cause mischief wherever they settled.” These “ex-soldiers” came to be associated with “mismanagement, lawlessness, and danger”. Does this sound familiar? Many of the Jan. 6th insurrectionists (Brock, Caldwell et al) were ex-military. I won’t even get into the psychological toll that maintaining a large, standing army has on a society due to increased spousal and child abuse, high divorce rates, PTSD and substance abuse and addiction. The costs are immense.

        For a comprehensive discussion on the topic of standing armies:

        • Rugger9 says:

          If only the rest of the world would go along with the concept, but the modern warfare requires professionals well trained in how to prosecute the wars. However long we have tinpot dictators like Putin, KJU and Duterte, Xi, etc. willing to fight others for what belongs to the others, we will need to be able to defend ourselves.

          History shows that isolationism (which is really what you’re proposing here) never works and American are usually forced into wars. We do need the cutting edge military here whether we like it or not. We really are the ones keeping the peace since the dictators noted above realize they would have to fight us and would probably lose, bigly.

          Your comments about the use of the military to prop up corporate interests (remember Darth Cheney’s map of Iraq covering which companies got what oil fields?) are quite on target, as is the apparent itch to use the newest “toys”. This should be the focus: what will we use the military to do?

          It shouldn’t be for policing (that prohibition is what the Posse Comitatus Act does) which is why the police having the military equipment is wrong. The departments love free stuff, the union members get to play soldier (without the accountability, i.e. Geneva) with their toys and have the itch to use them. Add to that the decades of training the police to consider their citizens as enemies (especially the POC) and you get what we have now. Police can kill with impunity without any accountability even if flimsy excuses (like the Ms. Taylor’s and many other raids) fall apart at first inspection under the “qualified immunity” doctrine. John Oliver did a segment on that last week, it’s worth watching. The unions want the immunity but refuse to discipline their rank and file, to the point where six DC officers (IIRC Cap Police) were arrested and 29 are under investigation for the 06 JAN riot, in addition to many other LEOs from around America.

          Until the police unions fix themselves, we can’t trust them.

        • TooLoose LeTruck says:

          I’m under the impression that the desire to not have a massive, permanent standing army was at least part of the rationale of having a national draft in times of war… the powers that be wanted to avoid the prospect and ramifications of developing a class of professional soldiers in the country… wasn’t the first national draft during the Civil War?

          Isn’t that – private professional armies – what helped do the Roman republic in?

          That armies of the time were recruited by wealthy individuals, like Caesar, and they may have been Roman legions but they answered to the general who paid them?

          I recall reading one time that Caesar treated his troops particularly well, and as result they were really, really loyal to him. And when he did cross the Rubicon and start the civil war that ended the republic, one reason he won was because his forces fought so hard for him.

          I can imagine the framers of the Constitution would be aware of this and it might influence their thinking in regards to having a standing army.

  5. dwfreeman says:

    DOD sent an errand boy to respond to grocery clerks during Wednesday’s combined committee hearing. GOP senators don’t give a damn about what happened Jan. 6 and Democrats are seemingly incapable of making a simple argument stick.

    They are all doing their best to put a fig leaf on a Republican emperor’s naked effort to retain political power by all means necessary and claiming there was a legitimate method to his incredible madness and failed action. What we have here is massive failure to communicate, not because there was any valid excuse for this failure, but because it was intended.

    No national guardsmen were sent in time to make a difference in backstopping Capitol and Metropolitan police at the Capitol because doing so would dilute the effectiveness of the insurrection. Why was DOD allowed to send someone not even on scene in connection with the day’s events Jan. 6 to answer questions about decision-making that day? Why are decision-makers not held to account for anything in this country? The only legitimate voice on insurrection day was apparently Gen. William Walker. He noted the chain of command, the timeline in place, his chagrin at failed choices and decision-making that day without compromising himself or his position by truthful, honest assessment.

    Trump appointed the DOD officials who failed to respond until the insurrection was a done deal and the Electoral College vote certification process had been successfully delayed. Michael Flynn’s brother, Charles, twice recently promoted by Trump’s defense department and military administration, helped facilitate the decision-making delay in sending the guard to the capitol grounds. What’s more Rudy Giuliani and Trump himself put other time stamps on their actions, by calls to GOP senators promoting process delays in EC certification even as rioters were storming their offices and putting the vice president’s life at risk.

    All of this, has been wrapped in the GOP’s disingenuous big lie about “optics” claims, stemming from over militarized law enforcement support to quell BLM and buildup of Antifa bogeymen arguments first raised in support of empty Trump campaign rhetoric and heightened DHS response to police brutality protests nationally last summer. Curiously, on Jan. 6, the acting director of DHS, who had done Trump’s bidding in sending troops of all federal stripes and agencies to protect DC monuments and buildings, was conveniently out of the country while his former attorney general was already out of office. Maybe they knew something everyone else experienced on live TV but also knew in advance was likely to happen that day while DOD dithered to back Trump’s big lie legion of insurrectionists.

    • timbo says:

      The fact that the Guard were on their way (belatedly but they did show up) and deploying meant that the Congress could get back to work sooner, rather than later.

  6. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Why is Elaine Chao – former Transportation Sec’y, wife of Moscow Mitch, and, presumably, a billinaire – so untouchable that she can put out a formal memo explaining why it was important for her to promote her father and her family’s business as part of her job as Sec’y of Transport? Or is she just doubling down, Roy Cohn-style, confident that there are no ethics inside the Beltway and that Biden and the Dems can or will do nothing about it?

    • dsl says:

      It’s like the old Legion of Boom Seattle Seahawks defensive strategy – the refs can’t throw a flag on every play. Plus, Chao is an R and married to an R. There are no rules, laws, ethics, morals, consequences, guiding principles, norms, overseers, recommendations, guidelines or otherwise for Rs.

      • Rugger9 says:

        She’s not married to just any R but the Senate Minority Leader. Maddow did a segment on the (at least) four Trump officials who were referred by the respective IGs for criminal investigation only to be quietly shut down by DJT’s DOJ (both Sessions and Barr played along). A useful question is whether Garland’s DOJ can reopen the cases after the previous regime’s declining to prosecute. I would think it would require new evidence, and maybe Chao provided it with the memo.

        • timbo says:

          Why would one need new evidence if the old evidence was sufficient to bring a case? This isn’t double jeopardy.

          • Hika says:

            If DoJ reassesses the prior evidence against Chao and others and decides there are prosecutable cases against them, they would also then need to do something more than mumble platitudes about the persons who decided otherwise while DoJ played according to Trump-Barr rules. Then, how many other decisions would need to be reviewed? There isn’t double jeopardy in changing their minds to proceed, but there is a lot of political baggage to be gone through. Such is the price of having someone like Trump in charge and having his way with the DoJ.
            If they can find “new” evidence, they can hang their hats on that to proceed and whistle on by all the other questionable decisions of the Trump era.

            • Rugger9 says:

              Well said, and that was the point. Since IANAL, I do not know how final the “decline to prosecute” declaration is by DOJ prosecutors or if that precludes the states from using what the DOJ has, and to reduce the perception of politics something new has to be revealed. The GOP will scream “partisan witch hunt” anyway, since that is what they would do themselves as in the “Benghazi investigation”.

  7. Summertime Blues says:

    Top military leaders felt obligated to make the following statement:

    “Some of the language in the letter directly mirrored comments from current defense officials, including Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley and Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy, who have each said, before and after the election, that the military should play no part in handling election disputes.

    “There is no role for the U.S. military in determining the outcome of an American election,” McCarthy said in a Dec. 22 statement.

    It’s an extraordinary statement. One could infer they were asked to take the loyalty oath and told Trump to pound sand. It would be “bad optics” for top brass to resign en mass just before the election, so enter plan “B”- a civilian insurrection with minimal security at the capitol, no additional resources available until the coup failed, and Trump told the insurrectionists to go home. Reinforcements bottlenecked as outlined above. It remains to be seen if the the individuals that actually caused the delay will be called to testify, and if not, why?

  8. jaango says:

    America’s “gross Incompetence” is today’s ‘dark hole’ that is and has been quite prevalent, and yet not addressed in any proper manner by either the print papers or among the internet aficionados.

    And as such, “Pence sin cojones” is rampant, among us, the Chicanos here in our wonderful Sonoran Desert.

    Prior to being escorted out of the Capitol edifice, VP Pence should have picked up the phone and called Pentagon and “demanded” that the National Guard be called forward to respond to the insurrection, and yet, in failing to do so, he left the staff and members of Congress to fend for themselves. As such, we, the Chicanos emblazon Pence as “No Guts and No Honor!”

    And when I look forward into the near future of political fortune that is Pence, he will become the GOP’s first option, and among the Republicans for becoming its next presidential nominee.

  9. sls642 says:

    This sounds like pure BS. Of course Trump knew exactly what was going on and was counting on the coup succeeding and putting in place some bizarre version of Flynn’s plan to impose martial law or Lord knows what. Trump wanted to stop the EC count, that was what all it was about. Pence wouldn’t play ball so Trump was fine with the mob taking him out. This was Trump’s last stand to remain in power. He was doing everything imaginable to do so, and likely much more that we still don’t know about. He had/has no boundaries. Anyone doubt this after what we have seen for years?

    Putting this in perspective, after losing to Biden, Trump started putting his political flunkies in key roles at DoD and elsewhere that seemed to baffle most people. Why make this move for such a short period? There had to be a reason and I would put supporting Trump’s last hail Mary plan if all else failed. They were Trump’s eyes and ears and were willing to do anything for the cause. The role of the DoD in all of this is even more alarming than Trump’s. There is no way that the Capitol is under attack by terrorists and the lives of scores of Senators and Congress people in immediate danger and no one does a thing for hours. Anyone seriously believe that? And they raise “optics” as a justification when the country is on the brink of falling to terrorists. Totally absurd. Imagine if this treacherous mob had found Pence or Pelosi. They likely would have been beaten to death. .

    I don’t know one person who wasn’t aware of what these violent Trump rioters were saying on the internet. It was everywhere and they weren’t hesitant to openly push whatever they thought was necessary to “save” the country or “protect their rights” from the traitorous Democrats and their allies and keep Trump in power.. Yet no one in DC whose job it supposedly was to protect us against terrorists foreign and domestic, knew much of anything. No way is this possible. .

    Biden shouldn’t trust any of them. I hope he doesn’t continue with his “turn the page” approach to this disaster. It would be a huge mistake. The entire story needs to be told and everything made public. We are light years from that point right now. If anything, it’s become more alarming with inconsistent stories and a lack of credible witnesses. The people at the top of the DoD had to have been in this loop. Then throw in Flynn’s brother being involved in this disaster and things get truly bizarre. Who didn’t know about his little brother (and possibly other family members) plotting to overthrow the government? Of all people, Flynn’s brother shouldn’t have been anywhere near any of this but he was right in the middle of it. And the DoD was caught lying about it. That fact alone speaks volumes.

    I sound like a conspiracy loon typing this but everything I am reading points in this direction. Hard to even go there but everything about this horrid episode that is disclosed raises even more alarms, at least to me I would bet the bank that we have yet to hear what actually happened and would be shocked if it didn’t begin and end with Trump. The guy in charge of the National Guard and all involved federal agencies. Yeah, that guy.

    I just hope Biden goes all in to get to the truth no matter where it leads. He needs to start with putting the weight of the Presidency behind this and stop the “lets all be friends” fantasy he is spouting. There is no middle ground on this one. We have a cancer within our country and government. It must be neutralized ASAP. What is that old saying, “even paranoids have enemies”. Believe it.

      • dwfreeman says:

        This is exactly what has transpired. And there is no accountability for any of it. The only reason Trump even responded to the insurrection results at all was because Cippilone wanted him to cover WH ass. Imagine no official response whatsover? Now, are you telling me, the Democrats can’t prosecute this, because up to now they’ve done a pretty lousy job of it.

    • Dr. Cherie says:

      This is precisely what happened and yet we are listening to rambling hearings that skirt around the issue and are told some shadowy version that seems more and more like a coverup from complicit GOP members. What they always exclude is that there was a Commander in Chief who got exactly what he stood in front of a crowd and asked for and who stood by and watched it happen. We know this is true and I question how our democracy can survive with so many who would simply have looked the other way just to hang on to power. We can hope that the truth will be told but when you look at how powerful the co conspirators are it seems doubtful, many are the Senators who are doing the questioning.

    • madwand says:

      Assuming everything you say is true, what stopped them? Why didn’t they take hostages? Why if MOCs were sealed in tunnels weren’t the gates blown? Something stopped them, something that made it very problematic to proceed, so they got the fuck out and withdrew. We don’t know what exactly stopped them, why they failed and when they knew it. My guess is it became apparent somewhere before Trump’s video was played. Someone some commander on the spot realized the game was up and communicated that to Trump or one of his cronies. No hostages no leverage, no overturning of the EC. Just one big hot mess and the bears running for cover as fast as they can.

      • Ginevra diBenci says:

        madwand, you’re asking a useful question: what stopped them. It wasn’t Trump’s “We love you” tweet, although that seems to have quelled whatever momentum remained. And I don’t think they “withdrew” the way an army might; to my eyes, they seem to have lost formation (what little they had), gotten tired and slap-happy and decided to reconvene at a local bar. Few of them looked physically conditioned for the “combat” Giuliani wanted. This insurrection might have succeeded if not for Americans’ general lack of exercise and bad diets, and the aging demographics of Trump’s supporters.

    • Hika says:

      Re Paranoia: I believe the expression is, “Just because you are paranoid, it doesn’t mean that people aren’t out to get you.”

    • PeterS says:

      I’d find it easier to believe this version of events if there was some more precise theory about the endgame for Jan 6 than Trump expecting the coup to succeed, with Pence possibly killed …. and then “putting in place some bizarre version of Flynn’s plan to impose martial law or Lord knows what”.

      So he stops the certification process and then what happens? How would hostages/state of emergency/martial law keep Trump in power. Nobody seems to want to spell this out.

      Perhaps the evidence is consistent with Trump having the instinctive goal of disruption and chaos, and then more disruption and chaos, a malevolent “plan” that started months before the election – and without him necessarily having much regard for the precise consequences.

      (None of that exonerates Trump, not for a second!)

      • Stephen Calhoun says:

        This. What Trump thought could unfold is not presently clear because of the difference between his wanting the certified state determinations and their Congressional certification to be suspended and later bounced back to their legislatures, and, having the military step in to conduct new elections in the swing states.

        What the mob thought would happen isn’t to be discovered in the inchoate crowd’s collective spontaneous sense* but in the concrete organization of tactics of a small, dangerous, goal-oriented subset of the larger group.

        This Flynn ‘plan’ exists along with unknown, or yet to be known, specifics about how the tactics of taking over the Capitol were to meet up with what has to be seen as a post-Constitutional strategy for extending Trump’s rule past the date of inauguration. (Likewise we don’t know the details of what Stone was up to during the first week of January. Linkages?) It remains shocking that some insurrectionists understood the Constitution itself is able to flex and embrace their ‘patriotic’ coup.

        How to generally characterize all of this? Murky and delusional—yet with organized, planned, elements.

        * “We can take over the government.”

  10. Terry Mroczek says:

    I find Trump’s statement about needing 10,000 people on Jan 6 interesting. Curious as to what he is basing that number on. His way of bragging about his first-hand knowledge of the scale of the impending assault and violence?

    • John Paul Jones says:

      Simple. It’s a lie. First reported by acting SecDef Miller in a Vanity Fair piece, some time after the fact:

      The president, Miller recalled, asked how many troops the Pentagon planned to turn out the following day. “We’re like, ‘We’re going to provide any National Guard support that the District requests,’” Miller responded. “And [Trump] goes, ‘You’re going to need 10,000 people.’ No, I’m not talking bullshit. He said that. And we’re like, ‘Maybe. But you know, someone’s going to have to ask for it.’” At that point Miller remembered the president telling him, “‘You do what you need to do. You do what you need to do.’ He said, ‘You’re going to need 10,000.’ That’s what he said. Swear to God.”

      Once that lie is out in the wild – and think about it: how would you normally judge someone who told you something outrageous and then followed it up with “I’m not talking bullshit. He said that”? – once it’s out there, Trump simply repeats it as if he really did say it. And notice that the lie is packaged for the Vanity Fair reporter in such a way as to exonerate Trump, to position him as the far-seeing genius. Maybe he really did say it; but I doubt it. What I find more interesting is Miller’s follow-up statement to Trump, “And we’re like, ‘Maybe. But you know, someone’s going to have to ask for it'” because that sort of contradicts a later statement that following that conversation, they had authorization from Trump to do whatever was necessary. This strikes me as one of those both-sides-of-the-mouth statements, that is, quite true, except that the reporter (and the reader) are allowed to take away a different sense of what was “needed” to be done; stalling, bs-ing about optics, delaying until Trump declared the attempt over – maybe that’s what Miller and Patel understood to be “neccessary.”

  11. Savage Librarian says:

    Maybe part of the reason DoD didn’t want us to know about Charlie Flynn’s involvement in the discussions about the 1/6/21 insurrection has to do with his history. He was chief of staff to Stanley McChrystal during OIF. So, Mike and Charlie Flynn might be a dynamic duo with aspirations for some kind of “tit for tat”, so to speak. Something that might align with DT’s perspectives as well.

    • dwfreeman says:

      Flynn’s role in national guard action has been deliberately downplayed by DOD. The department lied to WaPo for a week over his involvement in the decision-making process. What’s more he was elevated and promoted to a Washington office post in the months leading up to the 1/6 event just as Trump put in place others who might be loyal, sympathetic and conveniently beneficial to his big lie cause. None of that has been reported in the context of the capitol assault, DC rally planning and lack of essential security preparations.

  12. silcominc says:

    First, the VF piece is total BS. It is part of SOD Miller’s attempt at revisionist history and must be viewed as such. What I want to know is where were Kashyap Patel, Anthony J. Tata, and Ezra Cohen-Watnick on this day, and what was their involvement? Remember, they were all brought over to DOD days after trump lost. For what purpose? These three along with the Flynn boys — it sure smells a lot like a conspiracy.

    • emptywheel says:

      I wonder if Kash is responsible for the 36 minute delay after Miller approved the deployment before Walker learned about it.

      • silcominc says:

        Are we going to hear from any of these jokers? Should would like an accounting of their actions.

      • Rugger9 says:

        The shoe fits, but I think he’s careful enough not to leave breadcrumbs to follow back to himself.

        • timbo says:

          How do you not leave bread crumbs for that long a delay? Sadly, I doubt this Congress and the DP is up to getting to the bottom of what actually happened on Jan 6. If they were, they’d already know a lot more… er… maybe they do… but aren’t interested in advertising it as it distracts from “Biden’s first 100 days!” or whatever.

  13. TooLoose LeTruck says:

    Looks to me like the GOP has decided their best course of action here is to play Whack-a-Mole and hope to run out the clock…

    What’s really sad and infuriating here is they stand an excellent chance of succeeding w/ such an inane strategy.

  14. Peterr says:

    I’m intrigued by Acting Secretary of Defense Miller’s resume. Per wiki:

    Miller served in the military from 1983 to 2014.[3] He started as an enlisted soldier, then was commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1987, and then joined the United States Army Special Forces in 1993.[5][22]

    He received a Master of Arts in national security studies from the Naval War College in 2001.[14][23] He also graduated from the College of Naval Command and Staff and the Army War College.[7]

    He participated in wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. In Afghanistan, he was a company commander in the 5th Special Forces Group, which fought al-Qaeda and the Taliban. In Iraq, he commanded Special Forces units in 2006 and 2007.[22] His promotion to colonel was approved in December 2009.[24]

    Miller served as program executive officer (PEO) for rotary wing programs at U.S. Special Operations Command in 2010.[25] One of his last assignments as an Army officer was as Director for Special Operations and Irregular Warfare in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations/Low-Intensity Conflict & Interdependent Capabilities at the Pentagon in 2011.[26]

    Green Beret . . . Army with advanced studies with the Navy . . . supervisory post at the Pentagon overseeing special ops . . . This is the resume of someone who is going somewhere.

    Until he isn’t.

    After retiring in 2014, Miller worked as a defense contractor.[27] Miller served in the civil service as an inspector for the Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Oversight from late 2017 until he was detailed to the NSC in the Spring of 2018.

    From March 2018 until December 2019,[22] Miller served in the Trump administration as a counterterrorism advisor on the United States National Security Council,[28][4] where he worked through and was involved in operations against ISIL.[29]

    In 2020, he became deputy assistant secretary of defense for special operations and combating terrorism.[4][7][22] He was involved in designating Iran, Hezbollah, and American domestic terrorism as threats to the United States.[29][30]

    On August 10, 2020, he became Director of the National Counterterrorism Center.[29] Trump nominated Miller to the role in March 2020,[30][22] and Miller was confirmed by the Senate by voice vote on August 6.[4][29][2]

    On November 9, 2020, Miller was appointed as Acting Secretary of Defense, following the termination of Mark Esper.[4][31] The top Republican on House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Mac Thornberry, expressed concern that the sudden shake-up and installation of leadership at the Pentagon based on political fealty instead of expertise “endanger U.S. national security.” [32]

    Miller’s chief of staff as Acting Secretary of Defense was Kashyap Patel, a former aide to Congressman Devin Nunes. Patel is known for trying to discredit investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election.[33]

    I’m curious about his career after he made colonel in Dec 2009 and before his retirement in 2014. Given the military’s time in grade system, either you get promoted or you leave the service after a certain amount of time at a given rank. On the face of things, it looks like Miller made colonel but couldn’t get the promotion to general and so was out. But it makes me wonder: what was Miller like as a colonel? It could be anything from being benignly OK but not outstanding enough to be promoted to something more disturbing that got him pushed out.

    When Trump pushed Esper out, he wanted someone who would do what Trump wanted politically, and it sure looks like Miller fits that bill. Miller took over at DOD just months after being confirmed as head of the National Counterterrorism Center, which is an odd move — but since acting SecDef needed to be a Senate confirmed person, that works. With Kash Patel as the chief of staff, you’ve got serious political conduits between the WH and Pentagon.

    All this is going the long way to say that Miller didn’t have to wonder what Trump would want done. He didn’t have to consult with the WH on Jan 6th. He was Trump’s guy, handpicked not once but twice. Even more egregious is that as a former Green Beret, he knew the importance of acting ASAP when trying to repel an attack like this — and yet he held back.

    Total WAG: Miller sounds like a Green Beret colonel who didn’t like taking orders from desk jockey generals when he was on active duty, and wanted to assert his authority with General Walker and keep the WH happy. The more disturbing WAG is that he is a General Michael Flynn case, pushed out by the military as unstable and problematic, then put into a position of power at the DOD by an unstable and problematic President.

    {ETA link to his wiki]

    • Savage Librarian says:

      It’s always a challenge to determine what facts are hidden beyond resumes. I came across this with reference to Charlie Flynn. Peterr, together with your comments about Miller, it makes me wonder if Miller and the Flynns knew each other in other circumstances. Maybe not. But I wish there were better ways for this kind of information to come to light:

      “C’mon man! Meathead generals and some other things that are driving me crazy about life in this man’s post-9/11 Army” – Foreign Policy, Thomas E. Ricks – February 7, 2012
      “The Division Commander of the 4th Infantry Division, who probably did more to inflame the Iraqi insurgency than anyone outside Abu Ghraib, was not only rewarded with command in Iraq again, but is now the Chief of Staff of the Army. Why is the main culprit of the Rolling Stone McChrystal debacle (Part I), Charlie Flynn a brigadier general? The same battalion commander in OIF whose command shot down two friendly aircraft and suffered the shame of the decimation of the 507th Maintenance Company was also later elected for brigade command. His brigade commander at the time was later selected to be a general officer.”

      • Peterr says:

        Laying Miller’s wiki next to Flynn’s, Miller’s time commanding special forces units in Iraq dovetails nicely with Flynn’s service as Director of Intelligence for the Joint Special Operations Command in Iraq.

      • silcominc says:

        So add the Flynn boys to Miller and the three stooges that trump brought over right after the election and now we have a party of six on the (potential) conspiracy train.

        • Earthworm says:

          Cannot find it, but I posted a comment here at Emptywheel, right after the former guy fired Esper and made those appalling appointments, that it looked like the kind of thing you’d do if you were planning a putsch.

    • BobCon says:

      My sense is that he is a guy who was installed as a figurehead who knew his job was to sit on his hands. The Vanity Fair article describes him flying around from facility to facility sort of like a VP on an extended tour of South America. There doesn’t seem to be any top level work going on — no after action work dealing with the Capitol or transition work with Biden’s staff. Just sort of drifting along.

      He seems like someone who makes sure the gusher of meetings never ends and real work never really happens. Although it’s possible Ciralsky and/or his editors at Vanity Fair are too dense to get into print what Miller was actually up to.

  15. Hart Liss says:

    The buck stopped with Trump. There was no reason not to okay the National Guard being posted at the Capitol.
    Unless what happened on 6 January was exactly what he wanted.
    Then again, maybe I shouldn’t be surprised. The establishment media can’t call him a killer even though ~quarter million Covid deaths were directly caused by his refusal to respond properly to the pandemic. You know: The literal definition of killing. Not to mention still trying like hell to normalize him and believing we must still be expose to his awful, endemic, endless lies.

    • harpie says:

      Thanks for the link! It’s a DRAFT of the Executive Summary.

      At the direction of the Speaker of the House, Lieutenant General Russel L. Honore, USA (Retired) led an immediate forward-looking, non-partisan, six-week review for the purpose of identifying actions or decisions that could be taken immediately or in the near-term to improve the security of the Capitol, Members and staff. […]

    • MAJ Granddaddad Esq (Ret) says:

      In 1980 I served in Ft Polk as an LT on Bde staff of his cousin, COL Charles Honore’ (later MG). Every morning he would run us staff pukes to death, drop us off at HQ and then keep running. Quiet, confident competence. I would follow him anywhere. I happened on him at Ft Sam Houstin years later when he was a 2 star. He asked about my wife and two girls by name. Quite the family!

  16. mass interest says:

    Red flag:

    “Notably absent from the report is any indication the Pentagon slowed requests for the National Guard to respond.”

    Response to Joe Stewart comment above.

  17. PeterS says:

    If I’ve understood the comments above correctly, the National Guard “overkill” at Lafayette Square was setting up a National Guard “underkill” on 6 January. Trump was thus planning the coup for months and wanted the insurrection to succeed, irrespective of the deaths of the VP and members of Congress. Given that the coup was long planned, what was to happen next? Can somebody offer more detail than “martial law”?

    • Ken Muldrew says:

      In view of irregularities, a couple of state supreme courts order recounts, paying particular attention to some invented form of “hanging chads”. Those recounts come out in favour of Trump, it goes to the US Supreme Court and those states’ electors are handed to Trump, along with the presidency. Basically some version of Florida in 2000.

      • PeterS says:

        Isn’t that a pre-December 14 plot? I was wondering about the specifics of the post-January 6 part of the long planned coup.

        • Ken Muldrew says:

          I don’t buy the long-term plan for weaponizing national guard deployment. Everything in Trumpworld is reactionary and there is little to no evidence of long term planning (or at least sticking to long-term plans; I have no doubt that there were patrons behind the scenes who made plans, but with the Principal being who he is…). Jan. 6 was to find some path to re-assigning the electors from a couple of states (not a strictly legal path, but one with enough of a fig leaf to justify continuous shouting until it became accepted).

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            Don’t confuse Trump’s utter lack of discipline with his consistently sticking to his priorities – whatever makes him look good in the moment, sticking it to everyone else, especially the tax man – and all of his supporters. Moreover, he expects his hirelings to fill in his blanks and do what he has no attention for, while reserving the right to go off-plan on any issue at any moment.

  18. Ken_L says:

    A few days ago, Trump’s press secretary claimed that “I think at the beginning of the day, before everyone went to the rally, everyone was expecting peace. We had been to hundreds of rallies—I’ve probably been to hundreds at this point, certainly many dozens—and they were nothing but peaceful events, and we expected that day to be the same.”

    Assuming “everyone” included her boss, it’s hard to understand why he thought any troops at all would be required to keep order, let alone 10,000 of them. McEnany may, of course, have been lying, as she usually did when Trump was in office. If not, it suggests Trump is lying now. Either way it is yet another reason for a commission of inquiry that can interrogate all these people under penalty of perjury, so the public will eventually get some semblance of the truth.

  19. I Never Lie and am Always Right says:

    A bit off topic, but today the 9th Circuit reversed the dismissal of indictments of members of the Rise Above Movement for conspiracy to violate the Anti Riot Act (18 USC 2101-2102). The District Court Judge (with whom I’m familiar) had dismissed the indictments on First Amendment grounds, concluding that the entire statute was facially overbroad. The 9th Circuit reversed but severed portions of the statute that they concluded were facially overbroad. Interesting discussion of the Supreme Court’s decision in Brandenberg v. Ohio. US v. Rundo is the case.

  20. Fraud Guy says:


    If the chain of command from Trump down to the Commander of the DC National Guard were in these statuses during the attack on the capital:
    Trump: watching
    Sec Def (acting): watching
    Sec Army: watching
    Commander NG: waiting for orders/preparing to move in

    Were the top three hoping that the NG would only go in for mopping up, and or to be used to help impose the state of emergency after the horrible tragedy, and when that didn’t occur, decided to let the NG operate normally?

    • PeterS says:

      Can you help me understand how imposing that state of emergency would have kept Trump in power?

      Ironically, Trump did of course later declare a state of emergency in Washington DC, citing the “emergency conditions” surrounding Biden’s inauguration.

  21. skua says:

    Given the level of buy-in to the trumpist Stopthesteal drive amongst Republicans it is pretty much certain that there were such people active in the US militaries commands. (The highest ranked Trumpist known (beside the ex-CinC) is ex- lieutenant general Michael Flynn.)
    Would military trumpists have networked with each other around their common project? In small groups almost certainly – that is what humans do.
    Would any of these small groups have reached out directly to Trump-central network? Would any have the connections? Would seem very likely – doubtless Flynn in his long military career had formed connections with like-minded personnel. And maybe there are other similar intersections between Trump-central and military trumpists. The need for military support would have been obvious to Trump-central and they seem to have tried every recognised option. Wondering if Flynn was under surveillance (he should have been after on 18 December 2020 calling for military participation in re-running elections in key states ) and who in the military he was reaching out to – or who reached out to him. So far I only know of the attempted cover-up of Flynn’s brother being on the call, the conspicuously misplaced concern about optics, the extensive delay in authorising a NG response, and Miller’s extra-ordinary restriction of NG involvement in the days immediately prior. Any single one of these could be dismissed as mere happenstance. Taken together they look indicative of a common approach. Now to find if that approach was communicated between officials.

    (Trump is/was more than a demented chiz-bugger-munching caricature – he is a man of twisted energy and an evil drive for personal power. From the excellent tweets that appear on emptywheel so often one by @DavidCayJ pointed at:
    Exclusive: Trump’s Secret Plan To Gut The Federal Workforce The article is poorly presented and poorly titled but does include links to the Executive Order on Creating Schedule F In The Excepted Service which would have given Trump direct control of the employment of some 84,000 federal executives. A Trump win on Nov 4 would have seen fine-grained corruption of the entire federal public service during 2021-2024.)

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