Where to Look (or Not) for Signs of Life in Rule of Law

According to the court schedule for this week, January 6 defendants Stacie and John Getsinger will plead guilty on Thursday, no doubt to misdemeanor trespassing. On the surface, their guilty plea will likely resemble those of the dozens of other January 6 misdemeanor pleas that have gone before them, and that may be all it is.

But, along with a handful of others (Adam Johnson and Justin McAuliffe, who both pled guilty last week, are two other examples), these pleas may hint at what kind of larger underlying case DOJ is building. That’s because the Getsingers are witnesses to an important detail about the way January 6 worked: that Alex Jones, whom Trump had put in charge of leading mobs to the Capitol, likewise induced them to go to the top of the East steps of the Capitol with a lie, the false claim that Trump would be speaking there. That’s what led a couple like the Getsingers, who otherwise would never have entered the Capitol, to do so.

This comes even as InfoWars personality Owen Shroyer’s attempts to dodge his own legal accountability have brought more focus on Jones’ actions, described as Person One in DOJ’s opposition to Shroyer’s attempt to dismiss his indictment.

When the body-camera individual asked if he could get Person One there, the officer stated, “Through the hole that you guys breached right there” (emphasis added). When the body-camera individual responded that he didn’t breach anything, the officer retorted, “Well, the whole group that was with you guys.” The officer then pointed again away from the Capitol Building toward the northeast, telling them to leave through the same hole he had just said other rioters had breached. An officer surrounded by people illegally on the Capitol Grounds dismissively waving them away from the Capitol Building and toward another area hundreds of others had already illegally breached does not amount to “telling [the defendant] that … police officers could use his help.”


[T]he defendant forced his way to the top of Capitol Building’s east steps with Person One and others and led hundreds of other rioters in multiple “USA!” and “1776!” chants with his megaphone. Harkening to the last time Americans overthrew their government in a revolution while standing on the Capitol steps where elected representatives are certifying a Presidential Election you disagree with does not qualify as deescalation.


The video shows the defendant on an elevated platform leading chants with his megaphone on the Capitol Grounds before his first interaction with law enforcement officers; it shows the body-camera individual repeatedly (and unsuccessfully) try to get Person One on the Capitol steps; it shows evidence that the defendant reasonably should have known he was somewhere he was not supposed to be, including by stepping near moved barriers and downed signs; and it shows officers repeatedly refer to the defendant’s group as part of the problem and the “breaches” of various police lines. In fact, at the end of the video, the body-camera individual took matters into his own hands after facing multiple rejections for permission. He turned to the group and asked, “Just get him up there? … But we know we might catch a bang or two.” That is not evidence that the defendant received explicit or implicit permission to go onto the Capitol steps. That is evidence that the defendant is guilty of the crimes he is charged with.

Every single time that Merrick Garland has been asked about the scope of the January 6 investigation, he has said his DOJ will follow the evidence where it leads. These details are tidbits of the evidence in question, visible tidbits that would be largely meaningless unless you understood how the Oath Keepers, Joe Biggs, and his former employer all converged on those East doors just before they were opened from inside.

None of these details — and others like them, such as Johnson’s description of the crowd’s response to Rudy Giuliani and Mo Brooks’ calls for violence — guarantee that Rudy and Brooks will be held responsible.

At the rally, JOHNSON listened to several speeches, including by former President Trump, Rudy Giuliani, and an unknown older member of Congress–the latter of whom JOHNSON heard stating that it was time for action and violence. In response to these comments, JOHNSON saw members of the crowd nodding their heads in agreement.

But if you don’t know these details, you don’t know even what is publicly available about the investigation.

I respect David Rothkopf. I share his concerns about the threat Trump poses to US democracy and the limited time before Republicans likely take control of the House and shut down efforts to guard democracy in the US.

But unlike him I know that the place to learn about DOJ’s January 6 investigation is not by asking Harry Litman or Barb McQuade or AG Gill or Lawrence Tribe or even Dahlia Lithwick — all of whom I respect greatly — how they feel about the general direction of the investigation, but instead to look at the actual records or reading the reports of people actually covering hearings, such as this crucial Josh Gerstein story about how prosecutors responded when Judge Carl Nichols (the former Clarence Thomas clerk who happens to be presiding over Steve Bannon’s case) asked if someone who did what Trump did could be charged with the same obstruction charge DOJ is using with the more serious defendants.

At a hearing on Monday for defendant Garret Miller of Richardson, Texas, Nichols made the first move toward a Trump analogy by asking a prosecutor whether the obstruction statute could have been violated by someone who simply “called Vice President Pence to seek to have him adjudge the certification in a particular way.” The judge also asked the prosecutor to assume the person trying to persuade Pence had the “appropriate mens rea,” or guilty mind, to be responsible for a crime.

Nichols made no specific mention of Trump, who appointed him to the bench, but the then-president was publicly and privately pressuring Pence in the days before the fateful Jan. 6 tally to decline to certify Joe Biden’s victory. Trump also enlisted other allies, including attorney John Eastman, to lean on Pence.

An attorney with the Justice Department Criminal Division, James Pearce, initially seemed to dismiss the idea that merely lobbying Pence to refuse to recognize the electoral result would amount to the crime of obstructing or attempting to obstruct an official proceeding.

“I don’t see how that gets you that,” Pearce told the judge.

However, Pearce quickly added that it might well be a crime if the person reaching out to Pence knew the vice president had an obligation under the Constitution to recognize the result.

“If that person does that knowing it is not an available argument [and is] asking the vice president to do something the individual knows is wrongful … one of the definitions of ‘corruptly’ is trying to get someone to violate a legal duty,” Pearce said.

I can’t tell you whether DOJ will get much further up the chain of responsibility for January 6; part of that necessarily depends on DOJ’s success at obtaining cooperation, of which only that of Oath Keepers has DOJ thus far disclosed. I can’t tell you what DOJ is doing behind the scenes in what Garland describes as “following the money.”

But I can tell you that columns like Rothkopf’s, which complain that Garland’s DOJ is not doing enough to hold Trump accountable while ignoring cases like the Tom Barrack prosecution and the Rudy Giuliani investigation that provide concrete evidence about the kinds of investigative steps Garland’s DOJ has been willing to pursue (the Rudy raid was likely among Lisa Monaco’s first major decisions), likely don’t make it any more likely that Garland will be able to act against the masterminds of January 6 any sooner.

A far better use of Rothkopf’s time and space than bitching that Garland has authorized John Durham’s funding request, for example …

We have seen that Garland is letting the highly politicized investigation of special prosecutor John Durham into the conduct of the Trump-Russia investigation continue (by continuing its funding). We therefore have the real prospect that those who sought to look into the Trump-Russia ties that both Mueller and Congressional investigations have demonstrated were real, unprecedented and dangerous might be prosecuted while those who actively sought the help of a foreign enemy to win an election will not be.

… Would be to ask Harry Litman and Barb McQuade and AG Gill and Lawrence Tribe and Dahlia Lithwick about the specific things that Durham has done — like failing to cut-and-paste with fidelity, relying on a Twitter feed for a key factual assertion, and using materiality arguments to skirt DOJ’s prohibition on publicly commenting on uncharged conduct — that put his prosecutions in violation of DOJ guidelines. Such questions would be readily accessible to all by reading just two indictments (as compared to the full dockets of 675 charged January 6 defendants), it would draw on the considerable expertise of the prosecutors he cited, and it might do something concrete to give Garland the political support he would need to force Durham to hew to DOJ guidelines.

Importantly, it may not be possible for DOJ to move quickly enough against Trump without violating due process (just as one example, the Project Veritas investigation could lead to incredibly damaging revelations about political spying targeting the Biden family, but it’s not entirely clear DOJ respected First Amendment protections).

Which means those with a platform would be better off defending the rule of law — selling independents and moderate Republicans on the import of the January 6 investigation — than whining that it is not working quickly enough.

Update: In his piece, Rothkopf complains, as well, that the only visible investigation into the people around Trump is coming from the January 6 Commission, not DOJ.

More troubling to me though is that the only reason we are hearing of any case being brought against Bannon as a senior coup plotter (or upper middle management in any case) is because Congress is investigating the events of Jan. 6. We have not heard a peep out of the Department of Justice about prosecuting those responsible for inciting, planning or funding the effort to undo the lawful transfer of presidential power to the man the American people elected, Joe Biden.

This morning, Adam Schiff went on CNN. Dana Bash asked him about Judge Amit Mehta’s focus on Donald Trump’s role in the insurrection in a sentencing last week. In response, Schiff described that, “I am concerned that there does not appear to be an investigation, unless it’s being done very quietly” into Trump’s call to Brad Raffensperger to demand he come up with just enough votes for Trump to win the state. But Schiff noted that, “this is not January 6 related — specifically, at least, to the violence of that day.”

Then Bash asked whether Schiff was saying he wanted Biden’s DOJ to be more aggressive. Schiff did not answer “yes.” Instead, he responded to a question about DOJ by talking about the January 6 Commission’s role in holding people accountable.

We are now trying to expose the full facts of the former President’s misconduct, as well as those around him. It is certainly possible that what we reveal in our investigation will inform the Justice Department of other facts that they may not yet be aware of yet. And so we will pursue our role in this, which is to expose the malefactors, to bring about legislation as a result of our investigation, to protect the country. But we will count on the Justice Department to play its role.

That is, when Bash asked specifically if DOJ was being aggressive enough on January 6, Schiff implied that the January 6 Commission played a key role in their efforts.

This is something that has not gotten enough attention: Even if DOJ didn’t ask, the Jan 6 Commission would refer people for any crimes they discovered, as SSCI and HPSCI both referred people to Mueller for lying, lies that led to the prosecution and cooperation of (at least) Michael Cohen and Sam Patten. Schiff knows better than anyone that HPSCI’s investigation was critical to the prosecution of Roger Stone. I also suspect that Steve Bannon’s transcripts were important preparation for Bannon’s grand jury appearance in January 2019, because they laid out the script that the White House had given to him for his testimony. I further suspect that SSCI obtained — and then shared — testimony from certain witnesses that Mueller could not otherwise get.

Trump’s pseudo-cooperation with the Mueller investigation, waiving privilege for the investigation but not any prosecution, likely was one hinderance to holding him accountable. And on this investigation, DOJ would be even more constrained, because it could face Executive Privilege claims and definitely would face Speech and Debate protections.

There has been almost no discussion of how closely Bennie Thompson and Liz Cheney are working with DOJ to ensure that the Jan 6 Commission doesn’t impede DOJ’s Jan 6 investigation, but it must be happening.

Similarly, there has been no discussion of obvious witnesses that the Jan 6 Commission has not (yet) subpoenaed, such as Lin Wood or Rudy Giuliani, the latter of whom DOJ seized phones from in another investigation in April.

Finally, there has been little discussion of how DOJ moved to have Executive Privilege waived for Congress just as the Jan 6 Commission got up and running.

DOJ only released its new contact policy — under which the request for a privilege determination may have been passed — on July 21. I’m curious whether the request for a  waiver of executive privilege waiver came after that. Executive privilege considerations were a key limitation on the Mueller investigation overseen in its final days partly by Rosen himself.

At least as interesting, however, is that DOJ sent the letter just one day before DOJ submitted a court filing in the Eric Swalwell lawsuit — speaking of members of Congress but using more generalized language — arguing that no federal officials can campaign in their official capacity and further noting that attacking one’s employer is not within the scope of someone’s job description.

DOJ is using that same waived privilege for the documents responsive to the Jan 6 Commission requests at the National Archive.

That is, DOJ is supporting the efforts of a co-equal branch of government to obtain testimony and records that that co-equal branch of government has a broader claim to than DOJ itself.

And Schiff, who understands better than anyone how HPSCI and DOJ worked together on the Stone prosecution, described, after first answering a question that he distinguished from January 6, then addressing January 6 directly by saying that “our role in this[] is to expose the malefactors,” and “we will count on the Justice Department to play its role” if and when the Commission “inform[s] the Justice Department of other facts that they may not yet be aware of yet.”

Yes, the January 6 Commission has a very short window in which to work. Yes, Congress is taking steps that DOJ does not appear to be taking. But that doesn’t mean that DOJ is not obtaining that evidence.

124 replies
  1. Ken Haylock says:

    All of your points are rational & well made, but I note that Mueller investigated & identified specific obstruction crimes that Trump committed, for which he has somehow not been charged now he is out of office. That Cohen went to jail for committing crimes at the behest of a man who has not been charged with those crimes. That Trump’s attempt to shake down Ukraine, per first impeachment, is now a matter of public record. And that not holding Trump accountable for crimes has been a constant for decades. It seems like the evidence required to indict Donald Trump for obviously blatantly corrupt, criminal, traitorous and/or seditious things we know about & watched him do in plain sight, or which have been investigated already & exposed, has been clear enough that he could already be on trial for those things while he is investigated for January the 6th. Instead, they appear to have been memory holed by everybody except Trump himself who would like a terrible revenge for anybody even _hinting_ at holding him to account for anything ever, please. It almost seems like some people think they will have a smoother career if they leave Trump alone… it’s hard for me to see a successful future career in the US Government after the fall of the Republic, but still…

    Anyway, there’s a real argument for shouting & banging pans together now, because come November 2022 if nobody has at least been indicted & the Jan 6 committee hasn’t identified the congresspeople that helped the seditionist mob, there’s a very real chance that that’s it for US democracy forever & this blog will have to switch focus to documenting the inevitable devolution into de-facto civil war.

    Also, if you are manufacturing excuses not to indict Trump for the crimes he has undoubtedly committed, why wouldn’t you produce as many excuses not to indict him for his key role in initiating Jan 6 or his lack of interest in stopping it?

    • emptywheel says:

      While Trump clearly obstructed the investigation, the remedy for presidential era obstruction was impeachment. There are other crimes he likely committed before he became President, but Barr shut those investigations down in 2020, and it’s unclear whether DOJ would have been able to reopen them very easily.

      As to Ukraine, the way to get to Trump on Ukraine is precisely where SDNY is working, on the case against Rudy, which is being held up by the Special Master review.

      I think Garland’s comments have certainly left open the possibility of other Trump liability. If they’re able to keep that secret, though, it has a much better chance of working.

      • Ed P says:

        Thanks for being a beacon of light and integrity in such a troubled time, emptywheel.

        But I must say I agree with above poster. While January 6 and attempts to overturn the election are clearly a top priority, there is no good reason to fail to prosecute those earlier crimes.

        It is not ‘all good’ now that Trump was able to buy Manafort’s silence with a pardon. Or that he clearly lied to Mueller.

        Just because congress failed to impeach does not erase those crimes. DOJ can still enforce the law and as far as I can tell, must do so if it intends to uphold any accountability or oversight of the executive branch.

      • Ken Haylock says:

        That’s a self-licking lollipop of a process argument regarding the investigations Barr shut down. ‘Well, the norm is we treat past AG decisions as having been enacted in good faith, so _of course_ we cannot investigate this laundry list of crimes Trump obviously committed in plain sight while taunting everybody with his impunity & giving a finger to congressional oversight, because Bill Barr believed that Presidents are Gods & everything they do is by definition legal, & shut all the investigations down, so as you can see it’s a key part of restoring the credibility of the DoJ that we respect these important norms & let Trump get away with all the evil illegal & unconstitutional things he did as POTUS, including wiping his butt on the US Constitution, & it thus becomes de-facto legal for presidents to do in future. Also, the OLC, exclusively staffed by corrupt golems installed by Trump trolls, has said that DOJ policy is that nobody called Trump is responsible for anything, & the OLC is infallible according to long standing DoJ policy, so if we are going to respect norms, you can see why we wouldn’t investigate anything Trump did around Jan 6 either…’.

        • emptywheel says:

          We have no fucking clue what efforts Barr made to shut investigations down. So no, it’s not your fucking lollypop. It’s more than that. But it doesn’t change the facts.

          • Ken Haylock says:

            Can I please take specific issue with _this_ statement?

            > While Trump clearly obstructed the investigation, the remedy for presidential era obstruction was impeachment.

            I have to say, I couldn’t disagree more. The first impeachment was itself obstructed, no current executive branch witnesses who weren’t immediately post-facto fired or otherwise persecuted for their testimony were questioned under oath [so… witness tampering]. If you can obstruct an investigation into wrongdoing, generating everything up to an indictment for obstruction of justice because investigators were instructed by your proxies that they weren’t allowed to draft an indictment, then use proxies to obstruct the impeachment process for _different_ but thematically related serious wrongdoing, but also jury tamper in that impeachment by imposing catastrophic political, personal safety & career cost on those handful of brave souls who voted a) to hear witnesses & b) to convict, then subsequently say ‘You can’t prosecute the original obstruction because they could of course have impeached him for it but they didn’t’, when it would have been futile, however strong the evidence, & congress still hasn’t been permitted to see the full Mueller report, you are providing a handy roadmap for presidential lawlessness with impunity. Only by prosecuting all the crimes he committed as president, or at least the obstruction of justice crimes & the crimes he obstructed the impeachment trials for, can the ‘presidency as notionally-elected kleptocratic dynastic emperor for life’ model not be baked in as America’s enduring future.

            It seems to me that the idea should have been that these things _will_ be prosecuted _immediately_ if there is any possible way to do it in the US system without denying Trump minimum constitutionally appropriate due process, & the challenge for DoJ should have been to either work out _how_ to do it, or if there’s some glitch in the law that allows ‘presidency as notionally-elected kleptocratic emperor’ to be the inevitable future, DoJ should have been flagging that to congress urgently as a problem that required a legislative fix so that even if it couldn’t hold Trump accountable for his first term crimes, there are laws that can be enforced to ensure that one of his future tribute acts will be…

            • Kent says:

              If the only remedy for presidential crimes is impeachment why did Gerald Ford pardon Richard Nixon?

              I agree with Ken Haylock on the appropriateness and importance of prosecuting Trump and all of his partners in crime. Simply because a co-conspirator was running the Justice Dept during the crime spree is not a bar to prosecution today.

              • Ken Haylock says:

                People pointing out that Boris Johnson is rapidly advancing through the Trump playbook should note that he took a lot of advice around Brexit & ascending to be PM from Steve Bannon, meaning it’s not _that_ surprising. See also Cambridge Analytica scandal passim.

                But that’s just a distraction from the issue of the DoJ [not] urgently & rapidly prosecuting Trump for the Mueller obstruction. Because if it came down to an issue of lack of will [to prosecute Trump, or to make the DoJ fit for purpose so it was able to prosecute Trump], then I can’t see why there will be any more will to overcome the Trumpy reasons the DoJ will be considering internally for not prosecuting Trump over Jan 6 when that investigation completes.

                As a side benefit, I have long suspected that cleaning up all the past crimes that Trump is guilty of & having the evidence to indict all his co-conspirators might actually be as simple as convicting him of one of the many crimes he provably committed, sticking him in a cell for a year or three for it & offering him use of a slightly nicer cell if he starts talking & for as long as he keeps talking & testifying about his other crimes, his co-conspirators, etc etc, because there would be nobody he wouldn’t throw under any number of buses for the most trivial personal gain. Also, he’s surely far less toxic & dangerous in a thousand different ways if he’s already a convicted felon sitting in a cell.

                Another side benefit, going back to people making points at max thread depth about Boris, is that of the US does have a proper reckoning with Trump’s behaviour in office even before the election he lost & sticks him in prison for the rest of his days, it might come as a bit of a shock to the Dutertes, Orban’s & Boris Johnson’s of this world.

                [324 words /~Rayne]

                • Rayne says:

                  Look, the point I made about Boris Johnson and Brexit is that YOU, Haylock, using an English surname and a static IP coincidentally located in an area where Haylock surname is most commonly found, needs to quit spamming this thread with your overlong and pointless comments exceeding 300 words at a crack.

                  In short, you’re an overseas troll DDoSing this thread. Beat it.

              • bmaz says:

                Yo, hey Kent, thanks for the wisdom. I mean it is not like there are multiple people here that understand and have actual experience on these issues, laws and how prosecutions work, which you and Haylock do not have a clue about. Thanks for playing. This is NOT an open forum for uninformed internet outrage.

      • Randy Baker says:

        You rightly note that there is evidence that DOJ may be pursuing a case against Trump, and that nothing publicly known authorizes confidence it is not.
        However, I am unaware of any legal reason why the crimes of obstruction Mueller’s report showed Trump committed as president only were addressable through impeachment. The 1,000 former federal prosecutors who asserted Trump should be prosecuted for those offenses apparently also were unaware of such reason.

      • Desider says:

        I don’t think it’s quite “handwringing”. While going practical on Durham can buy Garland cover to do the right things (“make me do it”), it is the case that 1) clawing to the top of the Trump-era pyramid for guilt is tough, 2) many earlier violations are effectively untouchable now, 3) some like Weisman *still* look like they’re going nowhere, but 4) the piecing together of Jan 6 & pre-Jan 6 activity (as per this blog piece) establishes new narratives & specific methods hopefully pinning guilt and indictments on the higher conspirators via DoJ (& congressional hearings, if *they* don’t effectively get stonewalled.)
        5) it would help to catalog what else of significance is still practically available to prosecute and support (not that i think all Mueller items had to have died via Barr instruction and a highly flawed Senate trial process, but practically much is dead).
        6) there’s still some SDNY stuff, and maybe something from Trump taxes peeks through, Project Veritas implodes, or…
        So basically where are we 2021, which threads are real enough to keep pulling on, where can our support usefully go?
        [acknowledging that people like me are nobodies, but journalists and activists that Marcy incluences are helpful allies, but it helps them to cut through useless noise such as more recent Steele BS, and focus on that’s happening now]

        • Village idiot says:

          Was “incluences” a typo? If so it’s a typo that, IMO, that gets to the heart what Ms Wheeler does better than any word in the dictionary I know of.

      • Desider says:

        When journalists from CNN and NYTimes keep getting basic facts wrong with every story, allowing Trump/GOP spin to keep dominating the public’s belief, not to mention the Maté/Taibbi/Greenwald disinfo et al, it would be good to have some rock solid fact sheets & white papers to draw on, even if drawn from prior columns. Much has been lost in trying to channel public opinion, and where a Maté is defeated in argument, he just repeats the lie again anyway. But a more solid clarification paper to send to CNN or HuffPost or BBC or other influencers, especially where good intentioned but still misled would be useful. The public record is very murky right now thanks to all the shitheads and collaborators and general know-nothings stirring the muck. And then there are figures like Big Dick Toilet Salesman lost to the sands of time. How does everyone keep up? How does Marcy’s work get used to greatest effect? Redacting the Steele dossier diainfoor Assange hacking efforts a 1000th time on Twitter isn’t very efficient.

      • Desider says:

        Uggh, “Redebating the Steele dossier disinfo or Assange hacking efforts a 1000th time on Twitter isn’t very efficient.”
        N.B. my big takeaway from the latest crap Durham indictment discussion was that Olga Galkina seems to be a Russian asset if not agent, still helping Alfa Bank wreak retribution – while i think most others are still mulling over “why did Marcy defend the Steele report? [she didn’t – actually i remember being very confused by her response at the time, good for her – if only it were a settled debate by now, but that’s not how media and the Twitterverse works]

      • Ed P says:

        Its not handwringing.

        There are several separate sets of criminal activities that should be prosecuted if doj is to uphold the law.

        Pointing this out is not irrational in any way. Ignoring it seems irrational to me.

        As far as I can tell, the doj has ignored the ones that were immediately actionable. this doj had multiple prosecutions of the Trump administration all lined and and tied into a neat package on day 1 between Mueller report, the 1st impeachment and the Stormy Daniels campaign finance fraud incident.

        • bmaz says:

          Yes Ed, and Desider too, after Desider’s series of three run on comments, it is total handwringing. And uninformed bullshit. Neither of you has a clue about what DOJ is doing, and apparently have not paid attention to how the overall case is progressing. This kind of conspiracy prosecution does NOT work on the speed of internet outrage. Apparently, there is a world of people that do not understand that.

          • Desider says:

            Odd, I’m fine with Garland/DoJ’s blazing speed in methodically pursuing evidence & convictions/pleas.
            Almost a year after Jan 6, many people ignore how huge, complex & unprecedented dealing with 100s of interrelated cases is, among dozens of other critical parallel tasks.

              • Ed P says:

                100s of these cases have been processed by the same new administration from ground zero and yet none of the obstruction cases where the entire thing was documented and mapped out beforehand. I’d be shocked if the draft indictments were not written up a couple years ago.

                Amazing to me you can congratulate the speed of one without recognizing deficiency in the speed of the other.

                It stinks, I say. To high heavens.

                • bmaz says:

                  I take it, like the other two vociferous complainers on this thread that you have not one lick of understanding how conspiracy prosecutions work.

          • Ed P says:

            Sorry, seem to have hit a nerve. My point is that these cases should have been ready to prosecute immediately and we do not have any good answers on why not.

            • John Kahler says:

              How soon we ignore the past. Thanks to #moscowmitch obstructing the senate change of leadership and then slow walking appointments, garland was not AG until March, and key leadership positions were not filled until *summer*. The *actual* US attorney DC was not confirmed and installed until earlier *this month*. USADC is were the insurrection cases land. And BillyBarr and his *acting* successors were dismantling DOJ. Yet the *handwringing* is that DOJ did nothing for months. Such nonsense.

              • Ed P says:

                The same doj has been able to prosecute 100s of cases related to this insurrection without the benefit of them being lined up beforehand. So it doesn’t seem to me at all like handwringing to be wondering wtf is the holdup after enduring 4 long years of Trumps in-your-face flouting of the rule of law.

            • bmaz says:

              Lol, yes, you hit our nerve of not liking stupidity from people that don’t have a clue about investigative and charging process.

          • Ken Haylock says:

            I am entirely certain that Donald Trump has not been perp-walked in an Orange jump suit up court house steps anywhere in America yet for ANY of his numerous easy to prosecute crimes. If somebody had said ‘Prosecute him for the obstruction Mueller identified’ then he could have been indicted in March 2020 & he wouldn’t have been out doing seditious rallies in July & August. There are numerous possible reasons why this crime or that crime might not be indictable, but the only reason none of them are is because somebody at DoJ wanted Trump indicted for none of them. If they didn’t want to indict him for things everybody can see he did, & mostly saw him doing at the time, why do we think they’ll indict him for crimes 14, 15 & 16 when they come along?

            The least that should happen is that congress should get up in Garland’s grille & force him to explicitly explain, in terms, & justify why Donald Trump wasn’t indicted for the obstruction identified in Mueller, & not let him get away with ‘I do not comment blah blah’. He said publicly he would go where the evidence took him, & then he very publicly apparently didn’t. Justice has therefore not only not been seen to be done, but has actually actively been seen _not_ to be done. Either there’s a fact or two that has been redacted that makes prosecuting Trump for the Mueller obstruction a non-starter for so-far non-public evidentiary reasons [then make them public] or there’s a lack of institutional will. The latter can be fixed by appointing an AG who _has_ got the necessary will.

            • Ken Haylock says:

              I should add that maybe there are substantive reasons [& not process based pretexts] why the Mueller obstruction wouldn’t get through a grand jury, but IF the problem is a lack of will, a belief that it would be hard & divisive & result in mobs of neo-nazis throwing rocks at local DoJ offices, then what do you think would have changed between the opportunity to indict for obstructing Mueller, & the chance to indict for an attempted coup?

            • bmaz says:

              Mr. Haylock, you are entirely full of completely uninformed internet outrage bunk. Are you done with the same two sentence argument you have now, repeatedly, wasted 854 words on?

            • emptywheel says:

              Even pretending the obstruction cases would be as easy as you say, it took 7 months for DOJ to wrap up the Barrack case — a referral from Mueller — which was all set to go a year earlier. That’s one of the reasons I raise it. “Done” still takes 7 months of work.

              • Ken Haylock says:

                But… wasn’t Mueller obstruction done, with only the charging decision & drafting the indictment mostly by cutting & pasting chunks of the Mueller Report into it still to do?

                • John kahler says:

                  Mueller was *dismissed* by BillyBarr. Who was AG because he specifically auditioned for the job to cover Trump. Read his WaPo op Ed before trump appointed him. It’s the best job application I’ve ever read in stating why he wanted the job and trump should hire him. And, wow!, he came in and did what he promised, and then ducked and ran when he realized if he didn’t get out he would be sucked into the maelstrom. Why didn’t DOJ follow through on mueller? Really?

                    • Ken Haylock says:

                      His findings were butchered & lied about, Trump was falsely ‘publicly exonerated’, & the obstruction of justice that may well have prevented Mueller from finding the actual indictable collusion [as opposed to the obvious, sickening but not easily indictable kind in plain sight, e.g. ‘Russia, if you are listening’] has never been charged.

                    • bmaz says:

                      I have had it with you and your uninformed whining. Go sit through a couple of federal criminal jury trials, so you can maybe remove your head from your ass. Then get back to me, or don’t. I don’t really care. But you are one more whiny comment away from being put in time out. See also Rayne’s comment.

        • emptywheel says:

          The first impeachment not only was not “all lined and tied into a neat package on day 1,” but it is still advancing slowly through Rudy’s special master claims, which might lead to something for Trump, but only if it could be staved off from Presidential actions.

          WRT Stormy Daniels, the way in which Barr’s DOJ gave immunity may have damaged any such case. There’s very good reason to believe Barr did intentional damage to some other investigations into Trump and his people.

          Finally, it’s worth noting that it took EDNY seven months to finalize the Barrack prosecution, even though that WAS all wrapped up with a bow a year earlier. So it’s not actually the case that stuff was just sitting ready to go.

          • Ed P says:

            Thank you emptywheel.

            I so badly want to believe there is not some crazy shenanigans going on in the doj. Something preventing Trump facing justice. But every day that goes on without a Trump prosecution after we endured 4 years of that in-your-face criminality…its a more bitter pill to try to swallow

            [Welcome back to emptywheel. Please use a more differentiated username when you comment next as we have several community members named “Ed” including one of our contributors. You’ve been asked this once already after your first approved comment on 30 January 2020; because we have a contributor named “Ed,” your username will be changed to a temporary alternative until you reply with a name you’d prefer to use. Thanks. (Update: New username = Ed P. /~Rayne]

            • Ed P says:

              Sorry Rayne, missed that! I’ll use “Ed P”. Thanks

              [New name noted; previous comments will be changed to reflect this. Thanks. /~Rayne]

          • bmaz says:

            Not to mention that the statute of limitations has run on the Stormy Daniels payoff. So, that one is done. Could it have been brought within the statute, yes. But there was not all that much time to do so after Biden took office, and immediately charging into that would have been counterproductive. And as Marcy said, the public does not know what monkey wrenches the Sessions/Barr DOJ planted.

            • obsessed says:

              DOJ used the memo about not indicting a sitting president, and then waited until Oct 2021 when the statute of limitations ran out (https://www.thedailybeast.com/time-is-running-out-to-indict-donald-trump-for-his-sex-hush-money-payment-to-stormy-daniels).

              None of this is restoring public faith in DOJ or equal justice under the law.

              And whatever you speculate Barr did, how was that not obstruction? W
              And whatever defenses you have for Mueller and Garland, there’s no excuse for not recognizing and countering. the strategies Barr & Trump used to manipulate the system to obtain an unfair, unjust result. They’re just rolling over and letting the bullies win every time. All they have is a long list of excuses for the failure of justice and accountability.

              • bmaz says:

                First off, that article is garbage. Second, of course they relied on the memo while Trump was President, that is no revelation whatsoever. DOJ does not make charging decisions based on your type of internet demand. The rest of your comment is just whiny bunk. You do not know what DOJ is doing, what their basis is for charging or not charging, and they do not care about your opinion.

                • Ken Haylock says:

                  Trump has not yet been judged by a jury of his peers for _any_ the outrageously criminal things he did before or during his presidency, often in plain sight, & no amount of expressing outrage on behalf of the DoJ changes that. If the epitaph for US Democracy is ‘Yes, we are a kleptocratic mafia run dictatorship now, but at least the DoJ didn’t violate any of its policies, including the shiny new ones, for that brief 4 year window…’.

                  • Ken Haylock says:

                    I’d like to add, I absolutely want to be wrong & will be delighted to be proven so. If the US system is just incapable of holding Trump to account it needs to say that urgently so it can be made capable. Making that fact known by the slow process of everybody realising he’s not going to be held to account without anybody knowing why would be pretty catastrophic for all of us in the rest of the world who don’t want to deal with living in a world where there’s a heavily armed failed state that is also the world’s only superpower…

                    • Rayne says:

                      If the US system is just incapable of holding Trump to account it needs to say that urgently so it can be made capable.

                      Perhaps you should spend more time focusing on accountability of Boris Johnson. Trump’s no longer in office but Johnson continues as does Brexit.

                  • bmaz says:

                    You are full of it, and appear to have zero understanding of how the DOJ and justice system works. Perhaps remember the first rules of holes, quit digging when you are in one.

                    • Robert N Eckert says:

                      Does the DOJ and justice system work at all? That’s the question he’s asking. He is far from alone in wondering. Until we actually see something, the evidence appears to point to: No.

                    • Rayne says:

                      Have you been paying attention at all to the content at this site? Specifically the perps’ cases Marcy has doggedly examined out of the 668 perps charged to date? Marcy alone has published 150-200 posts covering DOJ’s and House January 6 Committee’s pursuit of the insurrectionists. That’s on par with or exceeds most dedicated mainstream coverage by any one journalist with a few exceptions like NBC’s Scott MacFarlane.

                      This is the largest investigation the DOJ has done; every single perp has a metric shit ton of digital footprints which must be collected and sifted through and crossed against other perps’ evidence. Each of these cases must be evaluated for flipping potential: does this perp have a case which can be used as leverage to obtain more evidence against an even higher level perp? The magnitude of this work is mind boggling, and at the end the evidence must be firm enough to obtain not only an indictment but conviction, assuming the judge and jury see the same things in mountainous mounds of evidence that the prosecutors see.

                      “When you strike at a king, you must kill him,” wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson. There’s no missing Trump with this effort; every I must be dotted, every T crossed, every leverage optimized because failing to take him down in a prosecution is a gift which would validate his fascism. Do I wish the Biden administration would get a move on? Hell yeah, but I complain mightily about things which are more easily done like removing DeJoy as postmaster, or in the case of Bannon’s obstruction of Congress the indictment on two charges.

                      But the January 6 insurrection is huge, with repercussions potentially lasting lifetimes. This isn’t going to wrapped up in weeks or months. If you’re anxious about this, do something constructive like helping a Democratic Senate candidate keep or win a seat in 2022, or help the House keep its majority. Because if we lose the House the investigation will be dead and Biden impeached, and if the Senate is lost there will be no accountability for the next fascist presidency.

                      And persons overseas bitching about how long this is taking would do goddamned well to take a good look at their own emergent fascism — and Haylock knows exactly what I mean here.

    • obsessed says:

      “Mueller investigated & identified specific obstruction crimes that Trump committed, for which he has somehow not been charged now he is out of office. That Cohen went to jail for committing crimes at the behest of a man who has not been charged with those crimes. That Trump’s attempt to shake down Ukraine, per first impeachment, is now a matter of public record. And that not holding Trump accountable for crimes has been a constant for decades. It seems like the evidence required to indict Donald Trump for obviously blatantly corrupt, criminal, traitorous and/or seditious things we know about & watched him do in plain sight, or which have been investigated already & exposed, has been clear enough that he could already be on trial for those things while he is investigated for January the 6th. ”

      That’s the clearest demonstration of Garland’s “mens rea”. We’re not going to have to wait that long to see this play out like Plamegate, Bridgegate, Iran-Contra et al. It’s happening just as it always does: people like Garland are manipulating the system to achieve a grotesquely unfair and dangerous outcome. He’s operating like a defense attorney for every DOJ and Executive Branch employee. He’s manipulating the system to shield them and run out the clock until future legislative and executive branch leadership can finish the job. Sure, he might be building a case to hold them accountable for their obvious crimes, but I’ve seen this movie too many times.

      • emptywheel says:

        There are different answers to all those things, self-evidently so.

        But let’s take Ukraine. Are you aware that Rudy Giuliani is currently drawing out review of his own phone contents in an investigation that is directly pertinent to that (and which was obstructed by Barr’s DOJ in about 5 different ways)? So you know the status on that. Do you have a means of bypassing the Special Master that SDNY doesn’t know about?

    • JohnJ says:

      I am sure I have said this before, but I think it is pertinent.

      I grew up in suburban DC. The cul-de-sac I lived in had mid level management of virtually all the Gov’t departments. (Seriously; DOJ, FBI, FCC, Commerce, Customs, Secret Service, CIA and even WAPO in one cul-de-sac). When I asked at neighborhood parties about anything in the news, I found out that virtually none of the public information wasn’t skewed or based on fragments of truths. My sister’s boyfriend, a DC cop, would call us from some of these big events on scene. Events were being misrepresented in a live feed.

      I just learned to take virtually all public info with a grain of salt.

      All that was before we had access to the observations of EW, BMAZ, and others looking at the sources and giving us debunking and interpretations instead of the heavily spun access reporting filling the information sphere. Nobody locatable in the mainstream gave us information so close to the source or at least referencing real documents.

      Thank you internet, without you, where would we hear more than one narrative on any subject? I found EW at FDL from google news.

  2. BobCon says:

    Just FYI, there’s a verb missing in this passage

    “such as this crucial Josh Gerstein story about how prosecutors responded when Judge Carl Nichols (the former Clarence Thomas clerk who happens to be presiding over Steve Bannon’s case) if someone who did what Trump did could be charged with the same obstruction charge DOJ is using with the more serious defendants.”

    I’m not sure in the context if the right phrasing is “Nichols asked” “Nichols raised the issue” or something else.

  3. bmaz says:

    “Which means those with a platform would be better off defending the rule of law — selling independents and moderate Republicans on the import of the January 6 investigation — than whining that it is not working quickly enough.”

    Yes. And realizing that things are actually moving along pretty well given the size of the conspiracy beast at issue.

    PJ, as you know because you are here all the time, you know all of this “is” in the news if you look, and understand what is going on. Most really do not, including the esteemed list of folks Marcy noted.

      • Leoghann says:

        This is why I read all the way to the end of my Google news feed, at least once a day. Despite the devastation Alden Capital has wrought on local news coverage, there are still some interesting tidbits that get much better coverage locally, or by some relatively new and struggling online publication.

  4. Makeitso says:

    You can be prosecuted for criminal acts you did as president. Impeachment is the best remedy at the time he was president. But unless the sol has run out, he can, and should be prosecuted.

    There is COPIOUS PUBLIC INFO that shows he committed crimes. How many books and articles and examinations does one need? As a criminal defense atty, I have seen people indicted/charged with far less evidence at hand.

    FWIW, I am fairly certain Trump is being protected by the dems because they want it all to go away. The focus on all the grunts and not higher-ups tells us all we need to know. They are scared.

    Unfortunately, the republicans are putting in place as we write, the things necessary to appoint Trump president even if he loses the 2024 election. That people fail to see and to recognize that amazes me still.

    • bmaz says:

      You are new here, and welcome. Since you are, you get an initial mulligan. Nobody here fails to see anything.

      “FWIW, I am fairly certain Trump is being protected by the dems because they want it all to go away. The focus on all the grunts and not higher-ups tells us all we need to know. They are scared.”

      That is flat out garbage you cannot support. We try to understand law, due process, and how it works here as opposed to blowing poo. Maybe try to get a better grip on actual prosecution standards, and what is, and is not, real evidence. Thank you.

  5. Peterr says:

    But unlike him I know that the place to learn about DOJ’s January 6 investigation is not by asking Harry Litman or Barb McQuade or AG Gill or Lawrence Tribe or even Dahlia Lithwick — all of whom I respect greatly — how they feel about the general direction of the investigation, but instead to look at the actual records or reading the reports of people actually covering hearings . . .

    This. This. 1000x this.

  6. Hoping4Better_Times says:

    Just read Josh Gerstein’s article in Politico, reporting on Judge Nichols’ speculation on an obstruction charge against others for pressuring Mike Pence. Has Judge Nichols stepped over the line here? As much as I would like to see trump and his enablers held to account for January 6th attack and/or the Big Lie, I also want to see DOJ get solid evidence to support such indictments against higher-ups. And that may depend upon the Jan 6 Select Committee. Will they get access to WH documents from the Archives? Will witnesses voluntarily testify under oath to implicate those higher-ups?

    • emptywheel says:

      Make sure you read my update wrt the Archives.

      As to Nichols, I honestly don’t know what to make of the comment. I wasn’t in the hearing, though I’ve tried to be in most of these obstruction challenges. But it was one of the most important questions I’ve heard a judge ask.

      Also note that Pearce, the guy who answered, would not necessarily know whether Trump was being investigated. He’s the lawyers lawyer for the investigation, so briefed across the cases on how they’re charging things but not necessarily briefed into the details of any one investigation.

      • Peterr says:

        From the update:

        There has been almost no discussion of how closely Bennie Thompson and Liz Cheney are working with DOJ to ensure that the Jan 6 Commission doesn’t impede DOJ’s Jan 6 investigation, but it must be happening.

        The Ghost of Iran-Contra walks the halls of Congress, and haunts the dreams of every committee chair/ranking member who has any kind of oversight role.

        • emptywheel says:

          Let’s hope they have it in mind.

          It turns out Liz Cheney knows a thing or two about Congress blowing DOJ’s investigations.

    • JohnJ says:

      One of the committee people dropped that they had already interviewed 200 witnesses a week or two ago.
      That is a lot of information gathered we have no real idea about yet.

      Is it just me, or has this committee really been astoundingly air tight? All I hear is the big and refused subpoenas.

      • Leoghann says:

        I was pondering that just a few days ago. We hear absolutely nothing about what they’ve learned, or even who has testified. If this were a Trump-era committee, there would be so many leaks that water wouldn’t even slow down as it flowed through.

        • Leoghann says:

          He’s indeed contemptible. I hope they indict him a second time, for claiming attorney-client privilege between himself and Trump. Either he worked for DOJ, or he worked for DJT. Either way, there are a bunch of false statements involved.

          And by the way, P J, that was a very good point about how DJT makes it a point to ask for his dirty stuff by phone or in person. Note his well-known habit of tearing almost anything he’s written up, then wad up the pieces.

  7. OldTulsaDude says:

    As much as I would like to see Trump in prison for obstruction of justice I’m not sure there is enough documented evidence for a conviction. Seems like most of it was verbal and one-to-one.

    It’s frustrating to feel like we are living in a reality television show where the rule of law has been replaced by something called Trump’s Law.

    • P J Evans says:

      “Seems like most of it was verbal and one-to-one.”
      This is how a lot of people avoid being nailed for their words and actions. (Where I worked, HR required two witnesses for things like that. Which meant that the smarter offenders only talked to one person at a time, and avoided the consequences they deserved.)

  8. Silly but True says:

    Have any of Jan. 6 defendants — particularly any Proud Boys — sought the Iranian 2020 influence campaign and Kazemi & Kashian arrests as an out; arguing they were victims of Iranian State campaign targeting them via intimidation and influence of American voters, otherwise undermining voter confidence and sowing discord, in connection with the 2020 U.S. Presidential election?

  9. FL Resister says:

    David Rothkopf with a great team of analysts as his besties complains that the mainstream media wastes its treasure on both sideisms while overlooking salient facts.
    Marcy Wheeler has just raised him one.
    These are good problems to have.

  10. Victoria Love says:

    “ There has been almost no discussion of how closely Bennie Thompson and Liz Cheney are working with DOJ to ensure that the Jan 6 Commission doesn’t impede DOJ’s Jan 6 investigation, but it must be happening.”

    We hope.

  11. Savage Librarian says:

    Having once been a plaintiff in litigation in federal court, involving local issues, I have to say that I trust Garland and I believe there are good reasons for him to appreciate the hard work and accomplishments of the DOJ staff, in general (as he mentioned in a Congressional hearing.)

    The civil case I was involved in took 3 years to resolve. So, it seems to me that things are moving along quite readily in this massively complicated set of circumstances involving criminal law.

    There were dozens of meetings among local officials and staff and many meetings with local staff and federal officials in the case I participated in. I was not privy to those meetings. I kept counsel solely with my attorneys and only observed a handful or so of depositions.

    Some things I did not learn until years later. So, I know that silence does not mean action is lacking. I agree 100% with Marcy that the press should use its skill set to insightfully probe relevant issues and cases that help defend the rule of law. With our democracy on such perilous footing, it would contribute to our national defense if people could understand how certain situations are related.

    • Leoghann says:

      Having both experience in raising children and belief in the expression “the guilty dog barks first,” I tend to look upon silence as a sign that action is in full swing. When people, particularly in the bureaucracy, begin to loudly proclaim all they’re getting done, it’s usually because they’re really not.

  12. madwand says:

    MSNBC is a continuous drumbeat urging the DOJ and the Jan 6 committee to get a move on. Hard to tell the dancer from the dance sometimes. Marcy’s last paragraph says it all, “Yes, the January 6 Commission has a very short window in which to work. Yes, Congress is taking steps that DOJ does not appear to be taking. But that doesn’t mean that DOJ is not obtaining that evidence.”

    Lets hope, time to chill out and see which way the wind will blow.

    • Rayne says:

      And yet if you follow MSNBC’s legal experts like Barb McQuade and Jill Wine Banks advocate allowing DOJ to operate at its own pace determined by where the investigation(s) lead.

  13. Rayne says:

    So much for Chansley’s massive mea culpa.

    • Leoghann says:

      In the statement he made last week after Pierce’s appearance, Watkins said two or three words that indicated to me Chansley was under pressure to appeal. And it’s known that his mother and step-father strongly opposed his guilty plea. If they can be fools for Q, they can certainly be fools for Pierce. The one silver lining is that the bigger Pierce’s grift grows, the worse his fall will become. [My computer didn’t recognize the word “grift.” But I ended its innocence.]

      • bmaz says:

        Given the nature of the actual plea provisions, Chansley waived almost any and every appeal ground except ineffective assistance of counsel. That is one tough road to travel though, almost impossible as to Chansley from what I have seen. The plea colloquy, in which Chansley himself validated Waatkins’ representation, and fulsome acceptance of responsibility and love of Judge Lamberth, fs beyond strong. And Pierce is pretty much a self promoting clown. So, I would not bet a cent on this.

        • P J Evans says:

          Watkins got him as good a deal as possible – Pierce isn’t that good, from what I’ve read here and elseweb.

        • Leoghann says:

          Of course not. Pierce is aware that Chansley’s Q-worshipping parents have some money, and he plans to stay around until they’re relieved of all of that. But I have one question. Doesn’t Chansley’s appeal indicate that he no longer takes responsibility for his actions? Because that was one factor in determining his sentence.

          Also, Scott MacFarlane has since reported that Kevin Fairlamb also plans to appeal, although not with Pierce.

        • Rayne says:

          How much of this is Pierce acquiring access to a large pool of perps so as to collect intelligence on someone’s/some other entity’s behalf rather than any true interest in defending the accused.

          • bmaz says:

            No idea. I always assumed he was just a Q anon sadly looking for fame. Because he and Wood were the original attys for Rittenhouse. But there could be something deeper.

            • Rayne says:

              With Wood recording all kinds of conversations, it sounds like an opportunity for extortion if they get to the higher ups in the conspiracy before the DOJ and Jan 6 committee.

          • Leoghann says:

            That sounds way to much like actual lawyering for Pierce’s blood. But you have a good point about extortion.

              • bmaz says:

                He may have been okay long ago, but his work in Rittenhouse and the 1/6 cases I have seen has been atrocious.

                • Leoghann says:

                  From the little I’ve seen, it looks like he just makes noise these days. As I pointed out yesterday, he’s gotten himself involved with lots of defendants, but other than getting himself fired several times, he hasn’t actually accomplished a damn thing. Not a single case has been finished, with him as the attorney of record. And if my theory about his cocaine addiction is correct, his mind is so muddled that he won’t be able to accomplish anything other than spending people’s money.

                  • Eureka says:

                    This reminds me of some yt comments — the youths marveling at ’80s music, wondering where iz the uptempo rocking beats today, what’s the difference?

                    # Twas the cocaine, kidz. The cocaine.

                    Does he play guitar? Maybe he can spice up the stylings at the next Sekulow Band jam!

  14. harpie says:

    I’m just bringing RAYNE’s comment down here to talk about:


    With Wood recording all kinds of conversations, it sounds like an opportunity for extortion if they get to the higher ups in the conspiracy before the DOJ and Jan 6 committee.

    The following THREAD from visionsurreal
    [who has followed the FLYNN MAGASAGA relentlessly] is very illuminating:

    3:26 PM · Nov 25, 2021

    Linn Wood vs. General Flynn war is getting bloody.

    Wood says, “I removed the blindfold on The Flynn Family and their cronies today.”

    He also said Joe Flynn required *Conan Hayes* to “sweep” Rick Schroder’s phone before speaking w/ Linn Wood. [THREAD]

    • harpie says:

      12:01 AM · Nov 28, 2021

      In light of the new info above, I caution followers of the Wood vs. Flynn war to consider the possibility this is all theater to leak their dirt to get ahead of a story.

      Not saying it is, but these people love ops.

      12:26 AM · Nov 28, 2021 [Next tweet]

      But, I must admit…

      The. Hits. Still. Keep. Coming.

      And now it’s from Q’s legions who feel betrayed by Dear Leader Flynn.

      Those of us who have documented Flynn’s psyops are now watching their real-time dismantling. We helped. […]

    • Rayne says:

      If somebody wrote this screenplay and pitched to a major studio, they would absolutely stop and toss the script for being over the top and unrealistic when the pro surfer showed up to do opsec on a former child star’s phone.

      Jesus Christ, we look like effing morons to the rest of the world. Thanks for that, harpie, I’d missed the surfer in this mix.

        • Rayne says:

          They had to be loading spyware on everyone. If they were merely “tourists” amusing themselves in proximity of Flynn, they’re now utterly compromised. I just can’t get over the degree of gullibility and stupidity — bottomless.

    • harpie says:

      JJMacNab was also tweeting:

      1:31 PM · Nov 28, 2021

      I’m reading through the Lin Wood/Michael Flynn/Ali Alexander/Patrick Byrne melodrama on Telegram. [popcorn emoji] [screenshot]

      Such public infighting at this level is going to have an unpredictable effect on those who hang on their every word. A strong sense of community often has a stabilizing effect on fringe groups like QAnon.

      Lin Wood has revealed that he has been secretly recording private phone calls in order to protect himself.

      The J6 Committee could be interested in such recordings.

      • harpie says:

        Seven minutes after that JJM tweet
        [and still on the above posted visionsurreal THREAD]:

        1:38 PM · Nov 28, 2021

        LATEST: Wood says his “battle” w/ Flynn is now “over,” though I won’t doubt Wood’s ability to punch back again if needed.

        Wood also references a post by a Telegram account called “General Flynn Exposed.”
        Would love to see that account gain subscribers as Flynn loses more.

    • Leoghann says:

      All of this is fun to read. I get a good laugh when the predators start gnawing on each other. But I’ll believe in Crazy Lin Wood’s treasure trove of recordings when I read that they’ve been confiscated in an FBI raid. Just as it would be a really bad idea to trust John Pierce for legal advice, it seems best not to depend on Wood for anything approaching reality. When you have to submit to a mental examination to keep your law license, it’s not a good sign. His claims have gotten so wild that I expect him to see the Cheshire Cat any day.

  15. harpie says:

    NEW, via visionsurreal who says: Ahem. Boom.:

    7:45 AM · Nov 30, 2021

    EXCLUSIVE: Hours before the Capitol attack, Trump called top lieutenants at the “command center” at the Willard and pressed them on how to stop Biden’s certification from taking place on January 6.

    Trump’s previously unreported remarks reveal a direct line from the White House to the Willard. They also show Trump’s thoughts appear to be in line with the motivations of the Trump mob that attacked the Capitol. @GuardianUS [LINK]

    Links to:
    Trump called aides hours before Capitol riot to discuss how to stop Biden victory
    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/nov/30/donald-trump-called-top-aides-capitol-riot-biden Tue 30 Nov 2021 08.36 EST

      • bmaz says:

        Pertinent forms of jury instructions really are….instructional. Here especially so. They get customized slightly for each case but even in 1/6 cases, they would resemble these.

      • harpie says:

        11:03 AM · Nov 30, 2021

        [Katanji Brown] Jackson: So why then would it be that the court should preference the former president’s concerns about confidentiality, even though he had may have the superior knowledge of what the documents were about?

        [Trump lawyer, Justin] Clark: There are considerations such as if a document is going to be an embarrassment to a former president…or cause political turmoil…

        (and there it is)

    • harpie says:

      From the GUARDIAN article:

      Trump made several calls the day before [1/5/21] the Capitol attack from both the White House residence, his preferred place to work, as well as the West Wing, but it was not certain from which location he phoned his top lieutenants at the Willard.

      The White House residence and its Yellow Oval Room – a Trump favorite – is significant since communications there, including from a desk phone, are not automatically memorialized in records sent to the National Archives after the end of an administration. […]

    • harpie says:

      […] But on at least one of those calls [from “late evening on 5 January” to “the early hours of 6 January”] Trump also sought from the lawyers at the Willard ways to stop the joint session to ensure Biden would not be certified as president on 6 January, as part of a wider discussion about buying time to get states to send Trump electors.

      The fallback that Trump and his lieutenants appeared to settle on was to cajole Republican members of Congress to raise enough objections so that even without Pence adjourning the joint session, the certification process would be delayed for states to send Trump slates.

      It was not clear whether Trump discussed on the call about the prospect of stopping Biden’s certification by any means if Pence refused to insert himself into the process, but the former president is said to have enjoyed watching the insurrection unfold from the dining room. […]

    • Eureka says:

      harpie, did you see since we last discussed this that Alex Jones stated and Mike Flynn assented (more like bragged and ~’how bout that’-ed, respectively) in a new interview that their 1/5 “1776” interview took place at the Willard?

      Jim Stewartson, Antifascist, #RIPQ 🇺🇸🏴‍☠️: “Mike Flynn went on Sandy Hook-denying nazi Alex Jones’ show over the weekend. Right off the top, Alex lets everyone know that the interview with Flynn below on January 5th was at the Willard Hotel where the insurrection “war room” was. #ArrestMikeFlynn [embedded video; QRTs 1/5 Flynn-Jones interview]”
      6:00 PM · Nov 17, 2021

      • Rayne says:

        Oh wow, Twitter restored Jim Stewartson’s account? They’d permanently suspended him a couple days ago and I think it was because of something he tweeted in relation to Flynn and Jones. Somebody was touchy about it and reported him.

        • Eureka says:

          Yes, late this afternoon, apparently. I had this saved but was glad to see it live again — the archive’s not always reliable and he’s got another thread pertinent to current events for the other page.

  16. Tom says:

    For Trump & Co., no news is not good news. If I were in their place, I would not be feeling any comfort from the length of time it is taking for the DoJ and the January 6th Committee to complete their work. Considering the gravity and unprecedented nature of the January 6th Insurrection, I can well imagine the DoJ wants to ensure their waterfowl are all in a linear formation before lowering the boom, and I am confident a boom will eventually be lowered. In the meantime, Trump and his assorted crooks and cronies must be waking up every morning with clammy palms and a knot in their stomachs wondering, “Is this the day? Is this the day charges come down? Is this the day my carefully crafted false reality falls apart?” Every time their device pings, they must dread to look at the message. The strain and the suspense must be wearing, both for them and their families.

    Also, the first couple times I heard the name of the new Covid-19 virus mentioned on the radio, I thought the reporter referred to it as the “Necronomicon variant”, which would definitely not be good news.

  17. harpie says:


    Nov 30, 2021

    “Mr. Meadows has been engaging with the Select Committee through his attorney. He has produced records to the committee and will soon appear for an initial deposition. The Select Committee expects all witnesses, including Mr. Meadows, to provide all information requested and that the Select Committee is lawfully entitled to receive. The committee will continue to assess his degree of compliance with our subpoena after the deposition.” […]

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