Networks of Insurrection: “Trump is literally calling people to DC in a show of force”

This will be another of those posts where I catalog a few of the developments in the January 6 investigation that show how — Jocelyn Ballantine’s involvement notwithstanding — the many parts of the investigation are crystalizing around associations between rioters.

Michael Rusyn witnesses the initial East door break

First, in my continuing focus on the statements that DOJ obtains from those pleading guilty to trespassing charges, I’d like to look at the statement of offense from Michael Rusyn, who pled guilty Monday.

Rusyn was first IDed to FBI the day after the riot, interviewed by the FBI on February 17, and then arrested back in April, probably because he showed up in two key locations, obviously recording what happened on his phone. But after they arrested him and started pulling surveillance footage and exploiting his cell phone, they realized he was always accompanied by the same woman, about whom they had gotten a separate tip on January 7.

At least per Deborah Lee’s arrest affidavit, that’s how the FBI determined that Rusyn was the “Michael Joseph” she had tagged in her own Facebook posts from the riot, and that — as described in his statement of offense — he had lied when he told the FBI he didn’t know anyone on the bus he took to the riot.

On February 17, 2021, the defendant was interviewed by a Task Force Officer and an FBI Special Agent. During that interview, the defendant said the he traveled to Washington, D.C. by boarding a bus in Jessup, Pennsylvania at approximately 5:00 a.m., and that he did not personally know anyone on the bus. This was untrue: the defendant and Deborah Lynn Lee rode to Washington, D.C. together on the same bus. And, indeed, the defendant’s phone contained numerous photographs and video fo Lee outside the Capitol building, which it appeared had been recorded by the defendant, as well as numerous text messages between the defendant and Lee.

The rest of his statement of offense liberally implicates Lee in his actions, including by noting that she entered via the East doors first, and then reached out her hand and pulled him into the building (which also contradicts his initial claims).

At approximately 2:27 p.m., Deborah Lynn Lee entered the Capitol building through the breached door. She turned back across the threshold and extended her hand to the defendant, who took her hand and pulled himself through the crowd, across the threshold and into the Capitol. The two were among the first thirty to forty people to enter the Capitol after the breach of this door.

DOJ could have wired Rusyn’s plea, requiring that he wait until Lee pled guilty before they’d let him plea. Instead, though, they’ve acquired evidence against someone who made false claims about Antifa in the days after the riot.

Lee is also one of the John Pierce clients who has decided to stick with him — and so, presumably, with her false claims — after his bout with COVID.

In addition to making it much harder for his friend to sustain her lies about Antifa, though, Rusyn also provided witness testimony describing how the East doors got broken.

By approximately 2:10 p.m., the defendant stood on the East Side of the Capitol building, near the eastern, double doors at the top of the Capitol steps, leading to the rotunda. He was in a crowd of people, close enough to the crowd to see the front of the doors. A video that the defendant uploaded to Facebook at 2:10 p.m, and a photo that the defendant uploaded to Facebook at 2:16 p.m.,, capture these doors, including the windowpanes that would–shortly thereafter–be smashed in by members of the crowd.

Beginning at approximately 2:20 p.m., and continuing through at least approximately 2:24 p.m., members of the crowd began smashing several of the windowpanes of these doors. At approximately 2:25 p.m., another rioter opened one of the double doors from the inside; thereafter, that person and several other rioters opened this door widely enough to allow members of the crowd to breach the door and enter the Capitol.

This is straight witness testimony and validation of Rusyn’s own video, but it also debunks claims that a bunch of other rioters have tried to make in their own defense.

Rusyn’s statement of offense includes similar language describing the mob that tried to push their way into the House shortly thereafter.

Rusyn was allowed to plead to the less serious of the two trespassing charges. But his testimony and validated video will be quite useful for prosecutors to go after more serious defendants, including the details of how rioters opened a second front at the East doors.

Gary Wilson makes Brady Knowlton’s obstruction more obvious

In a similar case where DOJ arrested someone’s co-rioter months later, the government arrested a guy from Salt Lake City named Gary Wilson. Wilson is the guy who showed up in the photos used to arrest Brady Knowlton on April 7, who himself was arrested long after his buddy Patrick Montgomery was arrested on January 17.

The FBI used Wilson’s arrest warrant as an opportunity to fill in the details behind the earlier indictment of Montgomery and Knowlton, which added an assault charge against Montgomery and obstruction charges against both.

For example, it shows an exchange captured in Daniel Hodges’ Body Worn Camera just before Montgomery allegedly assaulted Hodges, as described in Wilson’s arrest affidavit.

At around 2:00 p.m. co-defendant Brady Knowlton confronted MPD officers who were making their way through the crowd and yelled at them saying, “You took an oath! You took an oath!” and “Are you our brothers?” Co-defendant Patrick Montgomery came up from behind Knowlton and said something to the officers, but it was hard to tell what he said. Officer Hodges then moved forward a few steps through the crowd. Wilson can be seen on Hodges’ video standing in the crowd (see screenshot above)—not far from where Montgomery and Knowlton were standing. In fact, Officer Hodges and Wilson collided as Officer Hodges tried to make his way through the crowd.

At approximately 2:02 p.m., Montgomery assaulted MPD Officer Hodges. An FBI special agent interviewed Officer Hodges on February 24, 2021. Officer Hodges told the FBI agent that at about 2:00 p.m. on January 6, 2021, he was making his way toward the west side of the Capitol to assist other officers. He was part of a platoon of about 35-40 officers. Officer Hodges said that right before 2:02 p.m., a very agitated crowd cut-off the platoon’s progress and split the group of 35-40 officers into smaller groups. Officer Hodges and a small group of officers ended up encircled by the crowd and the crowd was yelling at them “remember your oaths.”

Officer Hodges said that he was at the front of the group and attempted to make a hole through the crowd for himself and the other officers to continue their movement toward the Capitol. He yelled “make way” to the crowd. While trying to get through the crowd, he looked back to see other officers being assaulted by members of the crowd, which was yelling “push” while making contact with the officers. Hodges immediately turned back and started pulling assaulting members of the crowd off the other officers by grabbing their jackets or backpacks. After pulling a few people away from the officers, a man—later identified as Patrick Montgomery—came at Officer Hodges from his side and grabbed Officers Hodges’ baton and tried to pull it away from him. Officer Hodges immediately started to fight back and the two of them went to the ground, at which time Montgomery kicked Officer Hodges in the chest.

As Officer Hodges went down to the ground, his medical mask covered his eyes, which temporarily blinded him. He was laying on the ground, could not see, and was fighting to retain his weapon while surrounded by a violent and angry crowd. In that moment, he was afraid because he was in a defenseless position because of the assault. He was able to break Montgomery’s grip on the baton and get free.

The Wilson affidavit then shows how the three of them then entered the Capitol through the Upper West Terrace door, went to the Rotunda, witnessed Nate DeGrave and Ronnie Sandlin allegedly assaulting officers outside the Senate, then entered the Senate Gallery, all movements described in earlier filings but now documented with pictures.

From there, the threesome entered another hallway and had another confrontation with some MPD officers. Here again, the Wilson affidavit provides more detail (and a picture) of a confrontation explained in sketchy form in earlier filings.

Knowlton: “All you gotta do is step aside. You’re not getting in trouble. Stand down. For the love of your country.”

Unidentified rioter: “What happens if we push? Do you back up? We’re not gonna push hard.”

Knowlton: “This is happening. Our vote doesn’t matter, so we came here for change.”

Unidentified rioter: “We want our country back. You guys should be out arresting the Vice President right now.”

Wilson: “We came all the way from our jobs to do your job and the freaking senators’ job.”

The three men had one more confrontation with officers before they left the building around 2:54.

All this is important because, even aside from the possibility that these additional conflicts expose Montgomery and Knowlton to additional civil disorder or resisting charges, it all makes Knowlton’s obstruction much easier to show.

And that’s important because, as of right now, Knowlton is mounting the most mature (and best funded) challenge to the way DOJ has used obstruction charges against January 6 defendants. In a hearing overseeing that challenge, Judge Randolph Moss expressed concern (as Judge Amit Mehta similarly did in an Oath Keeper challenge of the application) of limiting principles, what distinguishes the actions of those charged with obstruction for January 6 from protestors complaining about the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. This arrest affidavit doesn’t change the legal issues, but it does make it a lot easier to see that Brady Knowlton was no mere protestor.

There’s probably more that will come with this arrest — at the very least an opportunity to supersede Montgomery and Knowlton to add Wilson.

But we also may learn whether there’s a tie between these three guys (there’s a fourth who posed with Montgomery and Knowlton outside the Capitol, but he’s not known to have entered the Capitol) and two other Utahns who entered the Senate Gallery at almost the exact same time as these three, Janet Buhler (pictured just behind Knowlton and Wilson) and her step-son Michael Hardin.

After all, we’re still waiting to learn the identities of the Utahns that John Sullivan’s brother, James, discussed with Rudy Giuliani shortly after the riot. These four people (just four are Utahns — Montgomery lives in Colorado) are among just eight Utahns charged to date, and they all made it to the Senate Gallery at roughly the same time.

“It’s the only time hes ever specifically asked for people to show up”

The last recent arrest involving networks of people who rioted together charged Marshall Neefe and Brad Smith with conspiracy to obstruct the vote, assault, civil disorder, and the trespassing while armed that can carry a stiff sentence. Their charges under 18 USC 1512(k) marks at least the third time January 6 defendants were charged with conspiracy under that clause (as opposed to 18 USC 371, like most militias), with the two others being Eric “Zip Tie Guy” Munchel and his mom, and the SoCal 3%er conspiracy.

If DOJ’s application of obstruction to the vote count survives judicial review, charging a conspiracy under 1512(k) offers several things that 371 doesn’t offer: notably, very steep sentencing enhancements for threats of violence.

And these men did threaten violence. As early as December 22, Neefe talked of “wanna crack some commie skulls.” That day, too, Smith described getting axe handles to which he’d nail an American flag “so we can wave the flag but also have a giant beating stick just in case.” Like most of the 3%ers, Smith didn’t enter the Capitol, and for the same reason: because he believed entering the Capitol while armed would risk arrest. “I was the people crawling up the side of the building. I wasn’t going to jail with my KA BAR,” which he had described as his “Military killin knife” when he got it in December.

It’s tempting to think this conspiracy, like that of Munchel and his mom, is mostly tactical, a way to implicate both in the acts of one.

But there are references to efforts to “encourage[] others to join him and NEED to travel to Washington,” so it’s possible we’ll see later arrests similar to those of people networked with the 3%ers (for example, the Telegram Chat that Russell Taylor started is mentioned in the arrest affidavits for Ben Martin and Jeffrey Brown).

More interesting still is that this conspiracy might work like the (still-uncharged) one promised against Nate DeGrave and Ronnie Sandlin, two random guys who took action in direct response to Trump’s directions.

Charging this as a conspiracy focuses on the lead-up to the riot. It shows how these men started planning for war on November 4, “Why shouldnt [sic] we be the ones to kick it off?” It describes how they responded to Trump’s calls for attendance.

The call to action was put out to be in DC on January 6th from the Don himself. The reason is that’s the day pence counts them up and if the entire city is full of trump supporters it will stop the for sure riots from burning down the city at least for a while.

It emphasizes the import these men ascribed to Trump’s calls for attendance.

SMITH wrote another Facebook user on December 22, 2020, “Hey man if you wanna go down to DC on the 6th Trump is asking everyone to go. That’s the day Pence counts up the votes and they need supporters to fill the streets so when they refuse to back down the city doesnt [sic] burn right away. It’s the only time hes [sic] ever specifically asked for people to show up. He didn’t say that’s why but it’s obviously why.”

It shows how, in advance of the riot, both men came to understand that they might join militias in storming the Capitol.

On December 31, 2020, SMITH continued to message other Facebook users, encouraging them to go to Washington, D.C., on January 6, 2021. For example, he told one user, “Take off the 6th man! It’s the Big one!!! Trump is literally calling people to DC in a show of force. Militias will be there and if there’s enough people they may fucking storm the buildings and take out the trash right there.”

That same day — the same day Smith got his military knife — Smith talked with Neefe about how easy storming the Capitol would be.

“I cant wait for DC! Apparently it’s going to be WAY bigger lol. If it’s big enough we should all just storm the buildings. . . . Seriously. I was talking to my Dad about how easy that would be with enough people.”

By January 5, that turned into Smith’s call to “Sacrifice the Senate!!!!”

All that’s important background to Smith narrating their arrival by describing their actions as, “literally storming the Capitol.” Shortly thereafter, Neefe was involved in using a Trump sign as a battering ram against MPD officers. This may be the assault currently charged against Jose Padilla and others.

Even in retrospect, these conspirators spoke in terms that tie Trump’s actions to their own violence and threats of violence, bragging about responding to Pence’s refusal to fulfill Trump’s illegal demands by literally chasing members of Congress out of their chambers.

From January 6-7, SMITH posted, “Got Gassed so many times, shit is spicy but the Adrenaline high and wanting to ‘Get’ Pelosi and those fucks, it was bearable.” He also admitted, “Oh yeah. The time will come for some of them. But today’s mission was successful! Remember how they said today was the final day & that Biden would be certified? Well we literally chased them out into hiding. No certification lol [. . .]. Pence cucked like we knew he would but it was an Unbelievable show of force and it did its job.”

As far as we can tell, Marshall Neefe and Brad Smith are just bit players in this story, two guys who went to the Capitol and joined in the violence.

But that’s what makes them so useful, for showing how two bit players, believing they were taking orders directly from the President, armed themselves and helped implement a deliberate attempt to “literally chase[]” Congress away from the task of certifying the vote.

71 replies
  1. Mitch S. says:

    If the judicial review of obstruction holds up and Smith and Neefe are charged with conspiracy and found guilty or plead guilty, does it Then mean there is legal culpability and grounds for charges to be filed against their direct inciter, Trump?

    • bmaz says:

      This is a pipe dream. They are never going to charge Trump. And if they ever did, intent and imminence would still be a tough hurdle. Not happening.

      • WilliamOckham says:

        If they ever get to Trump, it’s not going to be about the speech. The likeliest pathway is Meadows. Unlike Roger Stone, Meadows has terrible OpSec. Just look at the stupid emails he sent to the DoJ pushing insane conspiracy theories and his performance on the Georgia phone calls.

        He was the WH CoS. If Trump was coordinating with the rioters, Meadows was involved. If I were running an investigation, he would definitely be of interest…

        • bmaz says:

          I just don’t think there is any real appetite for it. Man, it would draw an objection, but I would find a way to get in the failed impeachment on the same facts into evidence. Then close with, among other things, “ladies and gentlemen, this is a criminal case. The judge is going to instruct you that proof of any and all charges MUST be beyond a reasonable doubt. Not a clear doubt, but beyond any reasonable doubt. And so it must. But a trial, more civil in nature, so not even beyond a reasonable doubt, was had in the US Senate, and my client was acquitted. Are United States Senators not reasonable men and women? They could not convict and neither can you. You can hate what happened here, but it was simply not criminal beyond a reasonable doubt”

          Again, the prosecution would howl like banshees (judge might too), but pretty sure I would, one way or another, get most of that through. But this prosecution is never going to happen.

          By the way, Dickie put Durst on the stand in LA. Wish I was there for that.

        • tinao says:

          my disclaimer…
          Oh yes, I am against capitol punishment. For these particular killers…putin included. Total Lock Down. So deep under no tools will work. And that would be underground, literally.
          Yours truely,

    • Rugger9 says:

      Not nearly enough direct evidence yet. When one goes after the top level one had best not miss. The idea is to give DJT no excuse or alternative at trial, and that bar takes a lot as bmaz noted.

  2. WilliamOckham says:

    The way I see this is that the Jan 6th insurrection was part of a much larger project that aimed to keep Trump in power. Trump started the larger project even before the election. If the DoJ ever discovers hard links between the Jan 6th rioters and Trump’s other efforts, including the one to suborn the department itself, we’re going to have a real crisis on our hands. Our legal system does not appear to be capable of dealing with the complexities of this situation. That’s not a criticism of our legal system. I have plenty of those, this just isn’t one. The failure is in our political system. An authoritarian state, its hour come round at last, comes slouching towards Washington D.C.

    • Rugger9 says:

      My 2 cents says the missing links run through Roger Stone and Steve Bannon (who decided to slither out this week into the news).

    • emptywheel says:

      Agree on both counts. I think they are explicitly using the Jan 6 Select Committee to unpack some of that.

      But the problem is how far back do we go? Does Barr’s push to prosecute Antifa get included, along with the use of the Proud Boys as FBI sources count?

      And ultimately, it’s a continuity with 2016, including Stone’s Stop the Steal.

      • Rugger9 says:

        I think that it should and it will, if for no other reason than it appears “antifa” was the official boogeyman for the DJT White House. That narrative to defend against the duly selected “other” is a fascist playbook item necessary to rile up the MAGA cult.

        • Leoghann says:

          And there’s always an “other.” Before ANTIFA! it was BLM, and before that it was the communist libs and Crooked Hillary. Stirred all through those layers of the “them” cake are The Islamists and “the terr’rists.”

    • harpie says:

      12/27/20 STONE and TRUMP meet at Mara-lago:

      STONE: […] I also told the president exactly how he can […] ensure that Donald Trump continues as our president […]

      [This STONE quote always reminds me of:
      STONE to BANNON on 8/18/16: I do know how to win this but it ain’t pretty.]

      12/30/20 Steve BANNON convinces TRUMP to return to WH to prepare for 1/6/21

      BANNON: We’re going to bury Biden on January 6th, fucking bury him.*

      12/30/20 WH announces that TRUMP will return to DC on 12/31 [1 day early]
      12/31/20 TRUMP arrives back at WH early from vacation

      * The timeline addition and Bannon quote is from the new Woodward/Costa book.

      • FL Resister says:

        I’ve heard about Pelosi’s leaked conversation with Joint Chiefs Milley but haven’t seen a transcript yet. But to sum it up, Madam Speaker of the House said something like, ‘He’s crazy,’ and Milley said something like, ‘I know.’ She could have even said he’s crazier than ever and Milley would have probably agreed. Things were that effed up.

    • OldTulsaDude says:

      Seems to me the big winner in all this is Vladimir Putin. Stop the steal and its continuing repercussions within Republican-held state governments may as well be a Russian disinformation campaign.

    • Eureka says:

      One easy (lol) throughline for this might be to follow the Montgomery Hammer/Scorecard scam that CISA shut down pre-election, Trump’s subsequent firing of Krebs, Powell’s picking it up (commingled w/events related to Flynn’s pardon, her launching of the Krakens, and her claim that Barr had “lost control” of DOJ); Flynn’s digital soldiers / Qanoners (etc.); right through to Lindell et al. today (well, call it “yesterday” — seems he’s taking a moment off).

      [I second a bunch of the comments here and have said similar before (to include Trump’s pre-election litigation) wrt this particular duree longue (sure feels that way) — this comment was a reductionist effort whose tentacles sprawl nevertheless.]

        • Eureka says:

          (1) harpie the expert excavator! I forgot about that one, was recalling a different one about Hammer/ Scorecard where the WordPress system wouldn’t let it through because they were hot bad scam words at the time (no problemo this go round, WP apparently finding the bulk of nutters have retired).

          (2) I was also thinking of your comments when I jotted that (but the links are in my mind, man… all of that 1AP-Flynn content over these months) and that I wanted to tell you that you have the biggest heart in the world and I love you. And thank you for timelining that last bit before that page closed.

          (3) For nouny purposes I should have mentioned here the 1APs and OKs (etc.) (in re tentacles, sprawling).

          (4) This gets into the Rhodes-adjacent folks screwing around ca. election day, all of whom were 1/6-ers ‘at a distance’ (at Capitol but non-entering AFAWK), and most-all of whom did a FB livestream 1/5 pm w/Rhodes: Macias (Vets for Trump / Vets 4 Trump co-founder) and LaMotta in Philadelphia (initially rolled up on weapons charges – Qanon Terror Hummer guys, later charged with elections interference); SoRelle re Detroit (the fake wagon / suitcase of ballots thing IIRC). (The tentacles, they a-sprawl…)

        • Eureka says:

          on (4):

          SoRelle re Detroit vote-counting hoax was ‘wee hours’ of November 5th;

          Macias and LaMotta arrived at Philadelphia the night of November 5th (of interest, Philly cops knew they were coming via a tipster to FBI; what else might this tipster know/ have known prospectively/ was it a private citizen or an embed);

          Election Day was Tuesday, November 3, 2020.

        • Eureka says:

          FBI Seizes Phone Of Oath Keepers Lawyer In ‘Seditious Conspiracy’ Investigation

          Ryan J. Reilly September 9, 2021

          In a message to HuffPost on Signal that SoRelle indicated she’d sent from her computer, she called it “frustrating” that the feds had seized her phone. She wrote that she had met with two law enforcement officials at her home. They went to a “Krogers/Starbucks” and they chatted for about four hours, she wrote.

          “I have so much stuff in there,” she wrote, referring to her phone. “They either think i am the mastermind or they wanted a free dig through everything ― either way it is unethical.”

          A copy of the search warrant cover sheet, signed by U.S. Magistrate Judge Zia Faruqui on Aug. 30, states that the FBI seized SoRelle’s iPhone as part of an investigation into conspiracy, civil disorder, false statements, destruction of government property, obstruction of Congress, and unlawful entry on restricted buildings or grounds.

          Most notably, the search warrant also refers to 18 U.S. Code § 2384: the “seditious conspiracy” charge. […]

          That’s one way to go Krogering!

          RJR’s thread links also to MoJo on this:

      • harpie says:


        Key Points:
        1] The wealthy family led by Robert and Rebekah Mercer invested nearly $20 million last year into a dark money fund that allows donors to keep secret the ultimate destination of their contributions.
        2] The Mercers, whose money helped propel Donald Trump to victory in 2016, hadn’t made a political contribution this size through their foundation since at least five years ago.
        3] Some recent contributions to the Donors Trust have gone toward groups that pushed claims of election fraud before and after President Joe Biden defeated Trump in last year’s election. […]

        • Ginevra diBenci says:

          These loom large among the dark money network I have been lost in. I started in pursuit of the Federalist Society’s funding and how far back FS members were involved in Amy Coney Barrett’s career (answer: a lot longer than I’d guessed). Leonard Leo is a nexus; he operates analogously to Deutsche Bank, laundering the money of rich radicals through high-toned-sounding organizational entities that then “donate” to rightwing causes. Donors Trust is part of that plot.

    • Hoping4Better_Times says:

      As William Ockham indicated, we have a political problem that created the Donald and his henchmen. Richard Nixon resigned because of the Watergate scandal in 1974. The framers gave us the mechanism of impeachment to protect a fragile republic. Fast forward to 2020 with donald trump, the political system has been corrupted. Will the legal system save us from trump? There are many civil suits against him, but nothing has muzzled him or prevented him from running for president in 2024.

  3. Rugger9 says:

    OT but worth popcorn: Grisham’s new book is already getting pushback from other Trumpistas who apparently have the receipts in the form of emails and text messages. I had noted when this first popped into the news that Grisham’s credibility was a tad suspect and so it was. We shall see, but for now anything that roils Trumpworld is OK with me since it’s harder to plot that way.

    • bmaz says:

      Here is a little nugget about Grisham: she was previously from AZ, and kind of considered a lush (two different, but alarming, DWI’s). Per Wiki, here are some other highlights of her time:

      Grisham was the spokeswoman for AAA Arizona in 2007, but was fired within a year after being accused of cheating on expense reports. Grisham was fired from a subsequent job at ad agency Mindspace over plagiarism charges, copying AAA material verbatim into her client’s web page.

      From 2008 to 2010, Grisham worked as a spokeswoman for the Arizona Charter Schools Association. There she met Tom Horne, Arizona’s superintendent of public schools. Circa 2011 to 2014, Grisham served as spokeswoman for Tom Horne after he was elected Arizona attorney general. She witnessed the 2014 execution of Joseph Wood and controversially claimed that the two hour ordeal had been “quite peaceful” despite contrary observations.

      After Republican Mark Brnovich defeated Horne in the 2014 GOP primary, Grisham worked as a spokesperson for the Arizona House of Representatives Republican caucus. She revoked the Arizona Capitol Times’s press credentials hours after their reporting that the House speaker, David Gowan, had traveled at state taxpayers’ expense during his campaign for Congress. Reporters refused to comply, and Gowan rescinded the order.

      • Knox Bronson says:

        Is there an endless supply of people like her? I mean, where do they find them? They seem to gather around Trump like flies.

        I dust off this old Hunter Thompson quote from time to time:

        “There was a fantastic universal sense that whatever we were doing was right, that we were winning…

        And that, I think, was the handle — that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn’t need that. Our energy would simply PREVAIL. There was no point in fighting — on our side or theirs. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave…

        So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high water mark — that place where the wave finally broke, and rolled back.”

        I don’t think even the good doctor could have envisioned the rise of today’s Republican Party and how far the wave has rolled back.

        • bmaz says:

          Appears there is an endless supply. If you read the Wiki, she actually started out a Dem. But the grift was too good on the other side.

        • TooLoose LeTruck says:

          Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas?

          I love that book… I’ve read it like 15 times…

          “We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold.”

          The quintessential late 20th century black comedy…

      • Leoghann says:

        I remember, at the time of her appointment as Press Secretary, reading a couple of op-eds that spoke of her record of malfeasance in both public and private employment. One referred to her as “serially dishonest.”

        • FL Resister says:

          Funny we only read about that here.
          This is what civilization decline looks like:
          Corrupt public officials, disinformation, racist tropes, election hijacking, judicial prejudice, with a pandemic on top.

  4. Russell Love says:

    Prior to the January 6 assault on the Capitol Building, what laws and codes were already on the books for dealing with not only trespassing on federal property but with an intent to stop or prevent Congress in session while certifying the election of the new President? Am I missing something basic here? Seems like that should be an automatic felony irrespective of whether you’re a moron or not for participating in the first place. There should be zero tolerance for anyone who attacked the police or helped to storm the Capitol and enter it. Felony might seem harsh but they came that day to rally and stop Congress while in session. As for the various factions and groups, they seem to have had plenty of time to plan and organize. Seems almost obvious that Trump’s own people were thinking this way back in December.

    Many thanks to emptywheel for the analysis and insights. From a technical standpoint, I would like to know if FBI and Justice are using some kind of graphDB system to track all the associations?

    • bmaz says:

      Um, no, prosecutors get the discretion as to how and what to charge. There is absolutely nothing wrong with how they are going about it.

      • Hoping4Better_Times says:

        No prosecutorial discretion? Bruce Casper (trump’s 2nd Impeachment defender) extended a non-prosecution agreement to Bill Cosby. After Cosby was convicted in 2018 for sexual assault, the Pennsylvania Appeals Court threw out his conviction citing Casper’s agreement. Cosby was released.

        • bmaz says:

          And look how that BS turned out. And the 1/6 cases have absolutely nothing, and I mean nothing, to do with the state court Cosby case.

        • Hoping4Better_Times says:

          My comment applies to Prosecutors in general, not specifically state courts. If you want a federal example, how about Michael Flynn. William Barr tried to influence the prosecutors to recommend a lesser sentence and then tried to dismiss Flynn’s case completely. Judge Sullivan was not happy with Flynn, but the case was “moot” after trump’s pardon.

  5. Sandy says:

    It’s about more than just Trump at this point. I think a DeSantis, Abbott or Hawley will be happy to contest the election. Elder already has his website set up for a recall of the recall. There’s radical right money behind the entire effort to subvert democracy. I hope DOJ or the Select Committee can follow the money and get to the numerous donors to autocracy. If we can even name and shame the corporations, that would help. Obviously nothing can be done to shame the Kochs, Mercers, Princes and DeVoses of the group. With dark money awash everywhere it seems unlikely.

    This quote from Rod Dreher, who got Tucker Carlson to go to Hungary bc he’s so enamored with it, I think summarizes the Republican game plan perfectly: “We all seem to be barreling towards a future that is not liberal and democratic but is going to be either left illiberalism, or right illiberalism. If that’s true, then I know which side I’m on: the side that isn’t going to persecute me and my people.” I fear that with their unlimited financial resources and well-placed puppets in government and courts, they are winning the disinfo war.

  6. greenbird says:

    it was interesting to have wikipedia’s collections for the trump impeachments, and i just now went to have a look at any J6 they may have done. oh, lordy – there is a lot:
    and justsecurity has some smart things, too:
    … but i’m still trying to get well-organized!

  7. Molly Pitcher says:

    OT, but important: The NY Times and Mce Zone are reporting that John Durham it going to ask a Grand Jury to indict Michael Sussman for lying to the FBI that he was not working for a client when he brought to their attention the connection between the computers of Alpha Bank (Russia) and The Trump organization.

    Durham is facing the clock running out on the 5 years this Saturday.

  8. Leoghann says:

    Although Knowlton and Montgomery are technically residents of Utah, the Knowltons have long owned an exotic-hunting business based in Plano, Texas–actually there are several interrelated businesses. Montgomery is purported to be Knowlton’s right-hand man in one of those businesses that lists Brady (Knowlton) as owner-operator. Although I’ve seen this connection between Knowlton and Montgomery in a couple of print articles, most of this is personal knowledge. I strongly suspect this web of businesses will be a major tie of the Utahns, Coloradans, and Texans caught up in the insurrection.

  9. d4v1d says:

    Merrick Garland will let them all plead down to misdemeanors and these goons will be back on the streets in time for the next election.

    • bmaz says:

      That is a ridiculous statement. You understand there really is 1A speech and demonstration, right? You understand that sometimes crime is really appropriately misdemeanor, right? You understand that prosecutors use pleas as an overall tactic in conspiracy cases, right?

  10. russell penner says:

    Assaulting the Peoples House, with the intent of knocking out the cornerstone of this great Union, pled down to a misdemeanor? Me thinks a certain grave in Springfield Illinois is stirring.

  11. Franktoo says:

    Trump on democracy 2016

    This election [2016] will determine whether America is a free nation or whether we have only the illusion of democracy, but are in fact controlled by a small handful of global special interests rigging the system, and our system is rigged.

    This election will determine whether we’re a free nation or whether we have only the illusion of democracy but are in fact controlled by a small handful of global special interests rigging the system, and our system is rigged. This is reality. You know it, they know it, I know it, and pretty much the whole world knows it. The establishment and their media enablers wield control over this nation through means that are very well known. Anyone who challenges their control is deemed as sexist, a racist, a xenophobe, and morally deformed.

    DJT Rally w/ Limbaugh 10/13/16

    It’s not democracy unless Trump wins.

  12. TooLoose LeTruck says:


    What red-blooded, patriotic American doesn’t take along a crowbar, or a baseball bat, or a hockey stick, bear spray, zip ties, and a stun gun when visiting our nation’s capitol?

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