“Leave the Rest to Me and the R Congressmen:” Trump’s Big Lie and the Actual Harm of January 6 Obstruction

As I noted, yesterday lawyers for January 6 defendant Brady Knowlton argued before Judge Randolph Moss that Congress’ certification of the vote count is not an official proceeding covered by the obstruction statute Knowlton was charged under. Knowlton’s argument was going as well as could be expected, in my opinion, until his attorney, Brent Mayr, argued that the vote certification was not an official proceeding because no one faced actual harm based on the outcome of the proceeding. Unbelievably, Mayr seems to have given zero consideration to the harm that the lawfully elected President, Joe Biden, might suffer if Congress failed to certify his win, to say nothing of the 81 million voters who voted for him.

The argument happened even as notes and other documents coming out of the House Oversight Committee make it how clear how real that risk was.

Before the notes that have been released start, Trump had already tweeted out an announcement for the January 6 “protest” on December 19.

Trump tweets: “Statistically impossible to have lost the 2020 Election” and “Big protest in DC on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!”

On December 27, Acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue took notes from a call where Trump laid out the alleged fraud that merited DOJ involvement. Donoghue noted Trump saying, “You guys may not be following the Internet the way I do.” Donoghue recorded multiple times that DOJ officials told Trump his election claims were wrong, detailing the investigations that DOJ had already done into the allegations. He recorded Trump’s intimation that he might start replacing people with Jeffrey Bossert Clark if they didn’t back his claims of fraud.

At one point, Trump demanded, “Just say the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the Republican Congressmen.”

That day, Trump tweeted about the January 6 riot again.

December 27, 2020: Trump tweets, “See you in Washington, DC, on January 6th. Don’t miss it. Information to follow.”

The next day, Clark wrote a draft letter to Georgia instructing them to run another election. Donoghue responded, “There is no chance I would sign this letter or anything remotely like it.”

Days later, on January 1, Trump pitched the January 6 protest again, branding it an attempt to “stop the steal.”

Trump himself 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!”

On January 2, Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen reiterated, “I confirmed again today that I am not prepared to sign such a letter,” calling on Georgia to send alternate votes to Congress.

On January 3, Trump attempted to make good on the threat he made on December 27, to replace Rosen with someone who would help him steal the election, Clark. Because he didn’t want to distract from his efforts to overturn the election, Trump backed down.

[Clark] informed Mr. Rosen midday on [January 3] that the president intended to replace him with Mr. Clark, who could then try to stop Congress from certifying the Electoral College results. He said that Mr. Rosen could stay on as his deputy attorney general, leaving Mr. Rosen speechless.

Unwilling to step down without a fight, Mr. Rosen said that he needed to hear straight from Mr. Trump and worked with the White House counsel, Pat A. Cipollone, to convene a meeting for early that evening.


Around 6 p.m., Mr. Rosen, Mr. Donoghue and Mr. Clark met at the White House with Mr. Trump, Mr. Cipollone, his deputy Patrick Philbin and other lawyers. Mr. Trump had Mr. Rosen and Mr. Clark present their arguments to him.

Mr. Cipollone advised the president not to fire Mr. Rosen and he reiterated, as he had for days, that he did not recommend sending the letter to Georgia lawmakers. Mr. Engel advised Mr. Trump that he and the department’s remaining top officials would resign if he fired Mr. Rosen, leaving Mr. Clark alone at the department.

Mr. Trump seemed somewhat swayed by the idea that firing Mr. Rosen would trigger not only chaos at the Justice Department, but also congressional investigations and possibly recriminations from other Republicans and distract attention from his efforts to overturn the election results.

After nearly three hours, Mr. Trump ultimately decided that Mr. Clark’s plan would fail, and he allowed Mr. Rosen to stay.

Mr. Rosen and his deputies concluded they had weathered the turmoil. Once Congress certified Mr. Biden’s victory, there would be little for them to do until they left along with Mr. Trump in two weeks. [my emphasis]

On the same day Trump tried to replace Rosen with Clark, January 3, he instructed his Acting Secretary of Defense to make sure the National Guard protected his supporters.

The following day, January 4, Trump made DOJ the lead agency for incident response on January 6 (Update: see comments–this happened on January 3). But the people who had almost just been replaced claim that didn’t happen. Whatever the reality, however, DOJ’s inaction is what led to DOD’s delayed response during the insurrection on January 6.

According to Mr. McCarthy, on January 4, the White House designated DOJ as the lead federal agency for January 6: “Sunday evening, after Acting Secretary Miller and General Milley met with the President, they got the lead [f]ederal agency established, all of the pieces started coming together.”559 Mr. Miller also recalled that DOJ was designated as the lead federal agency at some point prior to January 6, but he did not know what role the White House played in the decision.560

Although DOD understood that DOJ was designated as the lead federal agency, there appears to have been no clearly established point of contact within the department, according to Mr. McCarthy, which he found “concerning.”561 Prior to January 6, Mr. McCarthy sent a letter to Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen outlining the Army’s operational plan in support of the Mayor’s request and reached out informally to David Bowdich, FBI Deputy Director, because the two had worked together previously.562 But Mr. McCarthy claimed, even during the attack, he was never provided an official point of contact at DOJ and had no contact with DOJ or FBI officials until approximately 4:00 p.m. 563 General McConville also stated that DOJ was designated as the lead federal agency; however, he noted that DOJ did not conduct any interagency rehearsals or have an integrated security plan, as DOJ did during the summer 2020 protests when it had also been designated as the lead federal agency.564 General McConville stressed the importance of integrated security plans and acknowledged that had there been one on January 6, DOD’s response time would have been quicker.565

In contrast, Mr. Miller stated Richard Donoghue, Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General, served as DOJ’s operational lead on January 6.566 Notably, however, Mr. Miller acknowledged that, during the attack, he convened calls with Cabinet members to share information and ensure everyone was on the same page.567 When asked why he convened the calls, as opposed to the lead federal agency, Mr. Miller responded, “somebody needed to do it.”568 Mr. Miller was not familiar with any actions DOJ took to coordinate the federal response on January 6.569

On May 12, 2021, Jeffrey Rosen, the Acting Attorney General on January 6, testified at a House Oversight hearing that it was “not accurate” that DOJ was the lead federal agency for security preparations on January 6. 570 He stated that DOJ’s responsibilities were specific to intelligence coordinating and information sharing.571 DOJ has not acknowledged that it was designated the lead federal agency for January 6 and has yet to fully comply with the Committees’ requests for information. 572

These are the events that led up to Brady Knowlton breaching Congress with hundreds and thousands of other people. This is the back story to what led Knowlton to tell a cop that his vote — for the losing candidate of the election — didn’t count, and so he had shown up in the Senate Gallery to make his voice heard.

And according to the President who had set off this attack on another branch of government, all he needed was the claim the election was corrupt. Leave the rest to Trump and the Republican members of Congress, he instructed.

Brady Knowlton’s presence in the Senate Gallery was instrumental to that plan. Knowlton was what Trump had in mind when he said, “leave the rest to me.” And Knowlton helped to intimidate Republican members of Congress to help Trump steal the vote.

Both Brady Knowlton and the then-President seem to have understood that storming Congress was a way to inflict an egregious harm on Joe Biden. And yet Knowlton’s lawyer claims no one would face an injustice if such a harm resulted.

118 replies
  1. WilliamOckham says:

    According to Mr. McCarthy, on January 4, the White House designated DOJ as the lead federal agency for January 6: “Sunday evening, after Acting Secretary Miller and General Milley met with the President, they got the lead [f]ederal agency established, all of the pieces started coming together.”

    Sunday evening was Jan. 3. That was when the Trump was trying to replace Rosen. Something doesn’t add up

    • John says:

      Unless the plan was to make _Clark_ (secretly) the lead at DOJ, but Trump backed down from replacing Rosen so the plan fell apart. Perhaps explaining the massive confusion.

      [Welcome back to emptywheel. Please use a more differentiated username when you comment next as we have several community members named “John” or a variant. Thanks. /~Rayne]

      • harpie says:

        This could be, because the Trump/Miller-Milley meeting happened “later that afternoon” on 1/3/21 and the Trump/Rosen-Donoghue, Clark, Cipollone, Philbin, Engel “and other lawyers” meeting happened between 6 and 9PM that evening. [See the link in my response to WO]

    • BobCon says:

      Miler sure seems to have acted like someone whose role was to run interference for the plot in the name of maintaining regular order by bogging everything down in process.

      To what degree it was intentional vs incompetence, I’m not sure. But I am guessing that if investigators are smart about building a case, in either scenario he looks awful.

      • Badger Robert says:

        That was my impression. Acting Secretary Miller was too dumb to realize he had moved to the center of a plot to invalidate the election and overthrow the government. I think he has to be prosecuted, if Rosen and Donahue will stick to their testimony.

        • BobCon says:

          I doubt there is a legal case against Miller, but I think in the broader sense there is a huge reputationalhit he could take.

          Guys like him are counting in cashing in by flipping over to work for contractors, and it’s worth seeing if his reputation can be made toxic by building a policy case against what he did.

          It’s the type of thing the recently deceased Carl Levin would do when he chaired the Armed Services and Governmental Affairs Committees.

          • OldTulsaDude says:

            IANAL, and I don’t grasp why the Georgia letter isn’t an action in furtherance of a conspiracy to defraud the U.S.

      • subtropolis says:

        I believe that Miller may have been running interference that day, but in the defence of the nation, not That Shitstain. I, too, had thought the worst regarding his inaction that day, but have since come to a much different conclusion. I think that he was concerned that, once deployed, he might lose control of those troops, and that they might be used to both maintain control of the Capitol and to provide tv visuals that appear to justify the declaration of martial law.


  2. harpie says:

    The next day, Clark wrote a draft letter to Georgia […]

    It was a draft letter to GA, but the “concept” was to use it as an example for “each relevant state”:

    […] (2) Attached is a draft letter concerning the broader topic of irregularities of any kind. The concept is to send it to the Governor, Speaker, and President pro temp of each relevant state to indicate that in light of time urgency and sworn evidence of election irregularities presented to courts and to legislative committees, the legislatures thereof should each assemble and make a decision about elector appointment in light of their deliberations. […]

    ABC has posted the document here:

    • WilliamOckham says:

      TL;DR There are a lot more documents that the Garland DoJ has turned over to the House Oversight Committee.

      Take a look at the document markings in the lower left hand corner of the document that harpie links to. The seven pages are marked with HCOR-Pre-CertificationEvents-06032021-000195 through HCOR-Pre-CertificationEvents-06032021-000201

      These are the same type of markings in the previously released Oversight committee documents. In that dump, there is a page marked HCOR-Pre-CertificationEvents-06032021-000193.

      The next page in sequence that is included in the original release is HCOR-Pre-CertificationEvents-06032021-000273.

      Because the pages that were originally released are out of order, I’m going to split the document and reassemble it in the original order, which I’m assuming is the order that they were received. That will give us an idea of how many pages were in the original batch turned over by the DoJ.

  3. Badger Robert says:

    All of which raises the question can AG Garland and DoJ say all of this was not conspiratorial and illegal? I suspect even fmr AG Mr. Barr knew it was illegal and refused to participate, though he did seem to conduct himself in the manner of Gorbachev and await further developments.

  4. P J Evans says:

    the vote certification was not an official proceeding because no one faced actual harm based on the outcome of the proceeding

    That is a very strange definition of official proceeding. Inaugurations are official proceedings, the electoral college certifying the vote is an official proceeding, and so is congress certifying the vote. They are, dammit, IN THE CONSTITUTION as required acts.

    • Ginevra diBenci says:

      I think it’s possible to make the case that not just Biden voters but the entire country would have been harmed by the installation in the presidency of a twice-impeached maniac whose malevolent incompetence had already led to half a million deaths.

  5. harpie says:

    Brady Knowlton’s presence in the Senate Gallery was instrumental to that plan.

    Yes, and then:
    1] In his speech, TRUMP deflected blame for “#STOPTHESTEAL” from STONE and himself ONTO his SUPPORTERS:

    TRUMP [1/6/21 Speech] And to use a favorite term that all of you people really came up with: We will stop the steal.

    and 2] both TRUMP and STONE promised his SUPPORTERS that they’d meet them at the insurrection, and BOTH TRUMP and STONE left them holding the bag. COWARDS.

    • Alan Charbonneau says:

      “BOTH TRUMP and STONE left them holding the bag’.
      Yet nobody seems to learn.

      Look at Giuliani — he should’ve expected zero help from Trump. He saw Trump turn on Cohen, he saw Trump leaving his supporters holding the bag on Jan 6th, yet he seems surprised that Trump won’t help him with legal fees.

      Then again, he might have known all along that Trump would never have his back if push came to shove. He committed crimes during Trump’s term because he thought Trump would win the election & he’d be protected. Covid changed that and now he’s desperate and relying on wishful thinking. Eh bien…

    • Marinela says:

      The Trump supporters will reject Trump now that he lied to them and caused them jail time?
      How many? Educated guess, 0.

      • Leoghann says:

        There have been a few of those facing charges who have publicly stated that Trump led them on and abandoned them, notably the behorned Jacob Chansley and Ethan Nordean. Although, like a plump chicken on Sunday morning, the body seems to still be walking around, unaware that its head is missing.

        • Nord Dakota says:

          Well, there was such a chicken that managed to keep going for more than a year, they showed it at county fairs and such I believe.

  6. Silly but True says:

    Gen. McConville notes DoJ led no interagency exercise upon being made lead.

    DoD within its own planning performed a table-top exercise starting at 11:30 on morning of Jan. 6.

    If you figure, it took DoD six days to get to that point from DC Mayor’s request for DCNG assistance, then I am a little sympathetic to logistical nightmare facing DoJ upon being made lead on Jan. 4 for Jan. 6 event.

    Given domestic US event, DoJ is probably the most appropriate lead, and as an American I’d prefer DoJ being lead agency associated with election than DoD in any case. DoD being lead over election event seems unseemly.

    But, had they had a sense of urgency to leading the effort, I figure another DoJ likely would have been ready; not sure whether lack of urgency was due to incompetence or design.

    • harpie says:

      I think Miller says that Trump told him and Milley DOJ would take the lead
      AND ALSO
      Rosen/Donoghue say that Trump never told them they would take the lead. [Though they should have expected it.]

      Trump, as President, had ultimate control over DC National Guard. [The only place in the country where State officials do not have control.]
      [Statehood for DC!]

      • Marinela says:

        So Trump lies to Miller and Milley that DOJ has the lead.
        Then he never tells Rosen/Donoghue DOJ had the lead.

        This is so rotten. This is not incompetence, it is plain criminality.

        • AndTheSlithyToves says:

          Sarah Kendzior has repeatedly pointed out that Trump uses scandal to cover up criminality. If the in-your-face conspiracy and failed coup attempt were the scandals, you have to wonder what actual crazy-ass criminality needs to be exposed.

  7. Zirc says:

    I know I posted this question in another thread, but I am still struck by the letter from former Secretaries of State warning Trump against some sort of coup, or at least against using the military in some sort of coup. Reportedly, this letter was instigated by Dick Cheney. He knew or thought he knew something was going to happen, if not specifically on January 6, at least sometime before the 20th. It would be interesting to know what kind of information he was receiving.


    • Tracy Lynn says:

      He seemed to know something was up on Jan. 6. The Business Insider had a report that Dick Cheney called Liz on Jan. 6 to warn her of the danger after watching Trump say something about getting rid of the Liz Cheneys of the world. The New York Times had an article about it, which I can’t read because I refuse to subscribe, the Business Insider had a summary of it: https://businessinsider.com/ dick-cheney-feared-for-liz-cheney-safety-capitol-trump-nyt-2021-6 (link broken to protect the innocent).

      • Silly but True says:

        Even the devil has sense of family.

        Cheney — as any father watching POTUS give a post-election speech that says to get rid of their daughter by name— was rightly concerned here.

  8. Joseph Andrews says:

    This is a spectacular post that supplies a word that is oh-so-important when dealing with people like Trump, people that throw so much s**t against the wall that it makes most folks throw up their hands and move on…rather than try to make sense of it all–because while much of what is on the wall is just random splattering, some forms a pattern that makes sense with the proper CONTEXT.

    And (getting) proper context is hard. Hard for me to follow it all. Harder even for the author to get it right and digestible for amateurs such as yours truly. Bravo to emptywheel.

    Ms. Wheeler here connects the oh-so-important Katie Benner NYT article (link in the piece) to (1) “DOJ’s inaction is what led to DOD’s delayed response during the insurrection on January 6.” and (2) pathetic Brady Knowlton and his representation for his criminal case.

    In other words, the connection has been made to stuff that people like me can understand.

    Thanks again.

  9. Joseph Andrews says:

    A bit off-topic (but pertains to Jeffrey Bossert Clark, yet another Harvard grad gone off the rails)–

    Earlier this morning I was pointed to this:


    …the headline for this one: “I’m An ICU Doctor And I Cannot Believe The Things Unvaccinated Patients Are Telling Me”

    This is one of many first-hand accounts of those intimately involved with the damage caused by COVID and exacerbated by the anti-vaccination crowd.

    The author (Thanh Neville, M.D., M.S.H.S.) concludes with this:

    “I thought when this pandemic began that we were all in this fight together, engaged in a war against a common enemy. Now, I painfully realize: Perhaps we were never on the same side and we never had a common enemy. Perhaps the war has been among ourselves all along. We have won many battles but unvaccinated America is choosing to let COVID win the war.”


    Then…within the last hour, because of emptywheel’s piece that heads this thread, I did some searching for Jeffrey Bossert Clark. Specifically, what is Mr. Clark up to these days?

    The well-read emptywheel readers may already know this, but here’s where Mr. Clark landed (from https://www.eenews.net/articles/ex-doj-enviro-chief-joins-firm-to-fight-federal-leviathan/):

    “Jeffrey Bossert Clark will serve as chief of litigation and director of strategy at the New Civil Liberties Alliance (NCLA), the nonprofit, conservative civil rights group announced yesterday.”

    More from the link:

    “The COVID-19 pandemic has proven to be a threat not only to the health and safety of Americans, but also to our way of life,” NCLA’s website states. “Under the aegis of public safety, federal, state and local governments have violated constitutional law by implementing regulations and emergency orders by executive decree.”


    “I’m excited to spearhead NCLA’s strategic litigation efforts,” Clark said in a statement. “As I’ve witnessed firsthand, the federal leviathan will continue to surge and swell unless its staggering power is confined within proper channels.”

    My oh my. Leadership matters. Sometimes I think we’re screwed.

    • gmoke says:

      “…Jeffrey Bossert Clark, yet another Harvard grad gone off the rails…”

      Having lived down the road from Harvard and gone to way too many public events there, I can tell you that Harvard’s rails go directly to power, whatever the flavor. It’s time we stop thinking people like Clark, McEneny, Ted Cruz, or any other graduate of Harvard is “off the rails” when they do something nefarious or stupid.

      You go to Harvard not primarily for an education but for the entrée to the Halls of Power. It’s supposed to be a railroad with the tracks greased for the “fortunate.”

      • Joseph Andrews says:

        Thanks for your on-point response I sort of know that, actually, but my wife often reminds me I need to be told something three times before it sticks.

        You are so right. Applies to Hawley and his schooling as well.

      • P J Evans says:

        Cousin went to Harvard for his bachelors – he’s a veterinarian, and wanted to be one from childhood. I’d trust him with my pet. Paid for it with savings (and likely a loan), and he did magic shows to get money for it.

        • gmoke says:

          Glad to know that there are exceptions that help prove the rule.

          Actually, I’ve known some very smart, even wise, people who have taught at Harvard and some of that character who even went there.

          The institution itself is more and more geared toward power and financial networking from my observation. Just as MIT is now happily a patent machine for corporate sponsors.

    • Zirc says:

      “the federal leviathan will continue to surge and swell”

      If Trump were still President and Clark AG, we would have seen just how much surging and swelling the federal leviathan was capable of. It aint a sin if the GQP is doing it.


    • P J Evans says:

      maybe he should familiarize himself with the various court decisions that public health overrides all those freedoms that he and his buddies like to whine about.

        • matt fischer says:

          From Justice John Marshall Harlan’s decision: [Liberty] does not import an absolute right in each person to be, at all times and in all circumstances, wholly freed from restraint. There are manifold restraints to which every person is necessarily subject for the common good… Real liberty for all could not exist under the operation of a principle which recognizes the right of each individual person to use his own, whether in respect of his person or his property, regardless of the injury that may be done to others… [Liberty] is not unrestricted license to act according to one’s own will. It is only freedom from restraint under conditions essential to the equal enjoyment of the same right by others. It is, then, liberty regulated by law.

      • subtropolis says:

        As with logic itself, neither truth nor legal precedent applies anymore with these shameless pricks. The important thing is to keep tossing chum to the rubes.

  10. Dave Soldier says:

    can Trump be tried on blackmail? Specifically on Republicans. He made it clear that if they didn’t vote to overthrow the election, they would be in physical danger and also lose their jobs. How is this different than “buy my boxes of parsley or it would be a shame if something happened to your store?”

    • Rugger9 says:

      If it can be proved, i.e. with documented (and specific) evidence, blackmail can be prosecuted. Good luck getting that evidence, though, between witness reluctance to testify and the known habit of DJT to be vague in his documentation. It might be easier to prove conspiracy.

  11. harpie says:

    POLITICO has a copy of the resignation letter that WOULD HAVE BEEN sent if Trump had fired Rosen, drafted on 1/3/21 “Deliberative”, “Predecisional”:

    added: [This was NOT SENT]

    […] This evening, after Acting Attorney General Jeff Rosen over the course of the last wee repeatedly refused the President’s direct instructions to utilize the Department of Justice’s law enforcement powers for improper ends, the President removed Jeff from the Department. […]

    • harpie says:

      typo, sb: …over the course of the last weeK…

      Following directly:

      PADAG Rich Donoghue and I resign from the Department, effective immediately. […] Patrick Hovakimian

    • harpie says:

      […] Hovakimian sat for a closed-door, transcribed interview before the [Oversight] committee’s staff […] THIS morning.

    • WilliamOckham says:

      Besides, you know, the content of that document, the markings help me out. The June release from the committee was turned over on 2021-06-03. The handwritten notes and this unsent letter on 2021-07-26.
      The June release goes up to page 679 (so, we’re missing about 450 pages).
      The July release lowest number (this doc) is 729. The handwritten notes are 735-743.

    • Dutch Louis says:

      So Mr. Trump was not swayed by the idea that firing Mr. Rosen would distract attention from his efforts to overturn the election results, but would be focused on his efforts to do so.

  12. Terry Salad says:

    Forgive my question, as I am not trained in law. But will someone please tell me: does all this mean Trump can/will be prosecuted for sedition? Or prosecuted from something?

    Because it sure seems like sedition to me. Or whatever you call an attempt to overthrow the government of the United States.

      • TooLoose LeTruck says:


        What would it take?

        Just wondering… at what point does this specious blowhard finally cross that line?

        • Terry Salad says:

          That’s my feeling. Does anyone doubt that Trump plotted to overthrow a legal election? It may have been inept, but so what? Will that just be ignored? What will it take to prosecute this guy?

    • P J Evans says:

      Even if it got as far as a thorough investigation into his words and actions, he’d be delaying as much as he could, claiming privilege and whatever else he can get his legal kiwis into using. (Can’t call them eagles, as there’s no evidence of flight ability.)

      • Traveller007 says:

        I suppose I have to agree with bmaz, he knows and I don’t, but my heart and my legal head, small as it may be, are with Mr. Terry Salad and his bitter complaint regarding non-prosecution of Mr Trump. I understand that these are an unprecedented fact pattern, there not having been a bunch past presidents with corrupt administrators set and bent on a South American type coup against their very United States Government they are sworn to defend….and ever so close it came to fruition.

        I just do not buy into the notion that there is no criminality that can be prosecuted here! (and I am a defense minded person).

        Still, I spit on the ground and growl that there is something rotten in Denmark. (King Claudius is guilty though he longs to sit back on that illegitimate throne).

        Best Wishes, Traveller

        • P J Evans says:

          I very much would like to see the former guy prosecuted – preferably successfully – for this stuff.

          • FL Resister says:

            Take heart. I know white collar crime appears to require multiple crimes to get to conviction but Jeffrey Clark drafting letters imploring officials in six states who voted for Biden to ignore the will of the voters and get the House of Representatives to declare Trump the winner of the presidential election is backing up the case for a Jan. 6th conspiracy.
            There’s a whole S-load of evidence of Trump’s state of mind, including phone calls and contemporaneous notes. IANAL but have followed you all along long enough to know when a case gets a boost.
            When will they start to spill their guts?

  13. CD54 says:

    Geez, MAGAts are so Orwellian:

    Attack the Capitol = No imminent harm.
    Wear a Mask = Holocaust equivalent harm.

  14. harpie says:

    “Leave the rest to me and the R. Congressmen” – MO BROOKS edition:

    Seeking Immunity From [Swalwell] Suit Over Jan. 6th Attack, Rep. Mo Brooks Tells Judge He Was Simply ‘Cooperating’ with the ‘White House’
    Aug 4th, 2021, 4:32 pm [Document embedded] [He’s representing himself.]

    […] 62. It is absolutely a part of the job and duties of the U.S. Congressman from Alabama’s 5th Congressional District that the Congressman cooperate with the White House whenever possible and appropriate to protect and promote the direct and indirect jobs tied to federal activities in Alabama’s 5th Congressional District.

    63. Cooperating, or not cooperating, with the White House affects a Congressman’s effectiveness. Certainly rejecting the request of the White House to give a speech at the Ellipse could hurt a Congressman’s effectiveness. This is particularly true given the importance of the White House to space, defense and other jobs in a Congressman’s district.

    64. The foregoing Alabama 5th Congressional District jobs were a significant factor and motivator, among other factors and motivators, that caused Brooks to give the Ellipse Speech when the White House asked that Brooks do so. […]

      • subtropolis says:

        Don’t mistake anything that these shameless assholes declare for what they _believe_ in their hearts to be true. They are all liars and gaslighters, and don’t appear to give a damn how stupid they look, just as long as the angry idiots keep the votes (and the money!) coming.

      • P J Evans says:

        Congresscritters are absolutely not required to do anything the WH wants/asks. They’re in a separate branch of government. (IIRC, the president is not, in fact, the head of a political party; the party can tell them to f*ck off if it so wishes.)

      • P J Evans says:

        Congresscritters are absolutely not required to do anything the WH wants/asks. They’re in a separate branch of government. (IIRC, the president is not, in fact, the head of a political party; the party chair can tell them to f*ck off if it so wishes.)

      • Marinela says:

        Ya, ask him how he feels cooperating now with the WH and he will immediately revert to supporting the Congress GOP narrative which is determined on making Biden half-term president.
        His constituents be dammed.

    • harpie says:

      From January 5, 2021:
      Tuberville “excited” to support Ted Cruz’s call for an electoral commission
      Despite growing Republican support, it remains inevitable that the objection to the election results will be dismissed.
      January 5, 2021

      […] On Saturday, [1/2/21] [Rep. Mo] Brooks told Fox News that he credited the conservative grassroots for bringing so many members of Congress on board with his effort. […]

      [Rep. Mo] Brooks said that he and 50 Republican members of Congress had a rare Saturday night [1/2/21] conference call with Trump over the plan to overturn the results of the presidential election by challenging the Electoral College results on Wednesday. Brooks said that the members on the call reflected only “some” of the members of Congress who have committed to challenging the Electoral College results. […]

      • josap says:

        a rare Saturday night [1/2/21] conference call with Trump over the plan to overturn the results of the presidential election

        If this is legal and a perfectly fine way to take power, regardless of a free and fair election, it will happen again. And the next time it will work.

    • Alan Charbonneau says:

      “…rejecting the request of the White House to give a speech at the Ellipse could hurt a Congressman’s effectiveness…”

      Not to mention their chances of re-election.

  15. Savage Librarian says:

    Leave the Rest to Me

    “Just say the election was corrupt,
    Leave the rest to me and the R…men,”
    We’ll lie that we weren’t whupped.
    We’ll fight dirty and raise alarm in
    any vote where I’m one upped.

    What could be the harm in
    proceeding to interrupt,
    with any assorted arm in
    a chamber where they cupped
    zip tie cuffs? It was par, man.

    • Ginevra diBenci says:

      Hey SL, I love the off-balance feel you create with the ABAB rhyme and five-line stanzas–great lurching-forward momentum.

      Must confess that “cupped” stopped me, probably because I instantly thought of the practice of cupping the flesh. I don’t know much about it, and I doubt that’s what you intended. Just chalk this up to one reader’s idiosyncrasy.

      • Savage Librarian says:

        Thanks, Ginevra. Good to see you. Yeah, I had to stretch a little on this one. A bit of a challenge to rhyme with corrupt. The concept I was going for was “palmed” which, of course, doesn’t work. But, really, if you think about it, to palm something does not usually involve a flat hand. It’s often a cupped hand.

        One definition of cup (verb):

        To form into a cuplike shape (eg. He cupped his hands.)

  16. Mister_Sterling says:

    One more note, and no, I’m too lazy to look if anyone else brought this up. This is one of the clearest examples ever of Trump giving directions to others on what he wants. He usually speaks in code and is very careful not to ask for specific actions. But this is a notable exception. The Queens crime boss made it clear what he wanted. Indict him for conspiracy, let him flee the nation, and let’s be done with him.

    [Welcome back to emptywheel. Please use the same username each time you comment so that community members get to know you. Your first username contains no underbar; please revert to that spelling. SECOND REQUEST. Thanks. /~Rayne]

    • @pwrchip says:

      I agree, IANAL, but I’ve always thought that prosecutors just had to prove ‘intent,’ to a crime. Say, conspiring to murder, rob a bank, commit fraud, etc. If anything, T***p before, during and 9mos after still preaches intent daily to STOP THE STEAL or the BIG LIE that he actually won but was robbed of the 2020Election.
      I just don’t see another hurdle to jump over to put him away?

      • bmaz says:

        No, some crimes are “strict liability crimes” and do not require a mens rea, or mental state. But there are four levels of mens rea, not just intent. They are intent, knowledge, recklessness and negligence. And, no, none are necessarily established against Trump yet.

    • bmaz says:

      It is not just dumb, it is idiotic. The federal government, and its officers, are not proper RICO defendants. That would be the government prosecuting itself for RICO.

      • Norskeflamthrower says:

        Please explain why the Republican Party is not a proper defendant and if the Republican Party CAN be a proper defendant then why can’t a Republican congress person for actions advancing the organized conspiracy? Does “civil” and “criminal” come in to play here?

        • bmaz says:

          What is the “Republican party”? Can you even define it coherently? Is it any Republican? Is it the RNC? Can you establish that the RNC itself caused or participated in 1/6? You can’t do any of that.

          Seriously, people need to give on the ludicrous pipe dream of RICO.

          • Traveller007 says:

            Okay, maybe RICO is gone, but if the AG of Georgia can be creatively thinking of all of this:

            “Solicitation of election fraud, the making of false statements to state and local governmental bodies, conspiracy, racketeering, violation of oath of office and any involvement in violence or threats related to the election’s administration.”

            I don’t see where there is not a Conspiracy Count to commit Election Fraud as well a a count for Solicitation to Commit Election Fraud against Mr Trump that would not issue from any Grand Jury.

            Sometimes I fantasize that if we all put our heads together we could act as an informal lay Grand Jury and piece together and construct an Indictment of Mr. Trump on multiple counts and then present this to the Justice Department as a present for them to mull on and hopefully act on…since we’ve already done the work… ;>}}

            Good citizens all we be.

            Just thinkin`, Best Wishes, Traveller

          • Vicks says:

            I have no opinion one way or another but the way I heard RICO being tossed around was something along the lines of the Trump administration was being used as a base of operation to commit crimes.

    • Tracy Lynn says:

      Joyce White Vance also posited that using RICO would be an interesting approach — but I think she meant Georgia’s RICO law rather than the federal one.

  17. Pace R.H.Pace says:

    Johnathan Pie taking the piss.
    Please pass this around.

    https :// http://www.youtube .com/ watch?v=cyEtLS-9KxU

    [FYI, link ‘broken’ with blank spaces to prevent accidental click-through; do not advocate distribution of content without explaining to others what you’re sharing in a link. Readers: YouTube link is to UK News reporter Jonathan Pie with whom most US readers may not be familiar. /~Rayne]

    • P J Evans says:

      And his very recent remarks about the former guy meeting with “his cabinet” at Bedminster.

    • Eureka says:

      Yeah that was great (per usual for Just Security). & With the whole notion of “official proceedings” currently salient, Meadows’ then-distaste for the Flynn-Powell side crowd popped back out (as did Flynn’s agro for “martial law”).

      Burning question: where does Lindell get his money? [I haven’t been able to read Mayer’s latest, in case this is addressed therein. But I repeatedly see references to him as a funder.]

      Anyone watching the HoF game see that long Lindell ad for for their upcoming 72h “Cyber Symposium” (which purpose was never described)? Wonder if that was a national ad buy. He redirected viewers to an event-related website for a “fire-sale” of his products.

      Doubt they’ll convert anyone during some 72h bore-fest but that the point was to keep their flame alive, catch some IPs & fish at their sites.

      ETA sportsball aside: On Kirk Cousins: https://twitter.com/ArifHasanNFL/status/1423387486928125952

      • bmaz says:

        Lindell really does get it mostly from “My Pillow” sales. He has sold a shitload of them, in spite of the fact that they are truly horrible pillows (they make other bedding junk too). Lumpy and bumpy. Mrs. bmaz bought a couple, and they now are on the doggie day bed.

        • Eureka says:

          Every time I see him paying for yet another scam/shindig I just am flummoxed that he can afford this stuff on the pillows (etc.). Hope Misscue is enjoying them (lol at the misunderstandings that would accrue if used ‘Q’ in _this_ context). These times!

      • Eureka says:

        Lindell figures here, for ex:

        THE HUNT
        Kathy Barnette’s hunt for election fraud has rippled across the American election denial movement and made her a GOP contender for Senate in Pennsylvania.
        by Andrew Seidman Updated Jul 26, 2021

        This story zigs the nation-wide “fraud” scene and is of general interest. I find some of the details unsettling.

        As we discussed here at the time (hello, harpie), Barnette put on one of the post-election lawsuits (vs. the D++ county, but not the R-leaning one, which each in part constitute PA-04, the district in which she ran for House last year). Flynn et al. are all hooked into this — he’s endorsed her current US Senate run. Even though she’s “moved on” to the new contest, their efforts put a bullseye on that congressional district such that they’re obsessing over it on some “Great Awakening” forum.

        Such attention might sound like nbd but for the fact that they were going door-to-door to people’s homes to try to find fraud post-election. Given the context this reads like harassment*, IMO and in a lay, if not legal, understanding, with the threat of more or worse given some Qanoners’ prior unbound incl. violent acts and, here, an escalated interest in a large area of people at their private spaces. Something has to be done about (the ideological vectors which incite) these people; this is potentially dangerous stuff in a way far more broad and incidentally personal (cf. gun violence — and our fatigue there) than one could have imagined, particularly following behavioral releasers like the assault on the Capitol. Is someone’s house going to be the next pizza shop (etc.)?

        Makes one think, too, about how future campaign seasons might go in advance wrt their data collection efforts. Who is knocking at your door and why?

        • Eureka says:

          *I’m also recalling how GOP electeds whose addresses are public have gone along with crazy Trump demands for fear of, as one PA legislator put it to the NYT ca. Dec. 2020, his supporters bombing her house should she decline. Just like it’s the “idea” or claim of (e.g.) fraud that Trump wished (e.g.) DOJ to promulgate, the “idea” of harassment can be quite enough to _be_ harassing, to alter behavior.

    • Vicks says:

      I missed the details of Trump’s call To Frances Watson when it first made the headlines, but their timeline included a link to the transcript of the call.
      In my state one of the most common reasons for a ballot to get flagged is that often, a person’s (especially a younger one) signature will change over time and the signature on the ballot won’t match the sample/samples on file.
      It is my understanding that in most cases the voter is contacted and given the opportunity to straighten things out.
      With that in mind, the way this call reads to me is that Donald J. Trump, the president of the freaking United States didn’t just ASK the women in charge of investigating the election (he appeared to have lost) to find fraud when reviewing the ballots, he tells her (twice) how he wants it done.

      #1 And I hope you’re doing that [inaudible] — you know, I hope you’re going back two years, as opposed to just checking, you know, one against the other because that would just sort of be a signature check that didn’t mean anything.
      But if you go back two years, and if you can get to Fulton, you are going to find things that are going to be unbelievable. The dishonesty that we’ve heard from —

      #2 “And I will say this. If and when — I mean, hopefully this will show, because if you go back two years or four years you’re going to see it’s a totally different signature — but, but hopefully when the right answer comes out you’ll be praised. I mean, I don’t know why, you know they’ve made it so hard. They will be praised. People will say, “Great.” Because that’s what it’s about. That ability to check and to make it right. Because everyone knows it’s wrong. There’s just no way.

    • harpie says:

      A brief synopsis from Wikipedia:

      Mark Randall Meadows (born July 28, 1959) is an American politician who served as the 29th White House chief of staff from [March 31] 2020 to 2021. He served as the U.S. representative for North Carolina’s 11th congressional district from 2013 to 2020. A member of the Republican Party, Meadows chaired the House Freedom Caucus from 2017 to 2019. He was considered one of President Donald Trump’s closest allies in Congress before his appointment as chief of staff. […]

      […] leave the rest to me and the R. congressmen.”-Trump to Donoghue 12/27/20

    • BobCon says:

      Isaac Chotiner had this comparison between the facts detailed here and how Meadows was portrayed in Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker’s recent book.


      Rucker and Leonnig were obviously played. There are a bunch of other examples in that book and other accounts of supposedly brave GOP insiders allegedly standing up to Trump. A few actually did, but a lot are flat out lying, or else are pumping up a bare minimum of CYA they did.

      You can start to see why so many political news people were playing up the angle of how awful it was to kick Jim Jordan off the 1/6 panel — they are leaning on deeply compromised sources in the heart of their reporting, and can’t even see why that is going to blow up on them.

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