Finally, Everyone Is Talking about Trump’s Obstruction on January 6

Twice in the last 24 hours, Liz Cheney has read from texts that Mark Meadows already turned over to the January 6 Committee, showing that everyone from Sean Hannity to Don Jr were desperately contacting Meadows begging him to get Trump to do something to halt the assault on the Capitol.

After reading the names of all the people who’ve protected Trump since, Cheney then described that Meadows’ testimony is necessary to determine whether Trump, “through action or inaction, corruptly seek to obstruct or impede Congress’ official proceedings to count electoral votes.”

Hours passed without necessary action by the President. These privileged texts are further evidence of President Trump’s supreme dereliction of duty during those 187 minutes. And Mr. Meadows’ testimony will bear on another key question before this Committee: Did Donald Trump, through action or inaction, corruptly seek to obstruct or impede Congress’ official proceedings to count electoral votes?

With her forceful comments Cheney was, as TV lawyers have finally discovered, invoking the clause of the obstruction statute that DOJ has used to charge hundreds of the most serious January 6 rioters. Liz Cheney was stating that Trump’s actions on January 6 may demonstrate that he, along with hundreds of people he incited, had deliberately attempted to prevent the vote count.

Even as she was doing that a second time today, the judge presiding over most of the Proud Boys cases, Tim Kelly joined his colleague Dabney Friedrich in rejecting the challenge that Ethan Nordean had taken to that same application.*

Again, this issue is not over. There are 2 other ripe challenges to the application, and plenty more pending.

But for the moment, it seems that all three branches of government — prosecutors charging obstruction, judges affirming the viability of the application, and senior members of Congress invoking it as part of the January 6 investigation — agree that the events of the day may amount to obstruction.

Back when I begged TV lawyers to start focusing on this application, I laid out the things that Trump had or may have done, that might be proof of obstruction.

  • Agreeing (and ordering subordinates) to plan and participate in an effort to obstruct the vote certification
  • Encouraging the Proud Boys to believe they are his army
  • Personally sowing the Big Lie about voter fraud to lead supporters to believe Trump has been robbed of his rightful election win
  • Asking subordinates and Republican politicians to lie about the vote to encourage supporters to feel they were robbed
  • Encouraging surrogates and campaign staffers to fund buses to make travel to DC easier
  • Using the January 6 rally to encourage as many people as possible to come to DC
  • Applauding violence in advance of January 6 and tacitly encouraging it on the day
  • Recruiting members of Congress to raise challenges to the vote count
  • Asking members of Congress to delay evacuation even as the rioters entered the building, heightening the chance of direct physical threat (and likely contributing to Ashli Babbitt’s death)
  • Asking Mike Pence to do something unconstitutional, then targeting him after he refused, virtually ensuring he would be personally threatened
  • Possibly muddling the line of command on which civilian agency would coordinate response, ensuring there would be none
  • Possibly taking steps to delay any Guard response at the Capitol
  • Possibly ignoring immediate requests from help from leaders of Congress

The January 6 Committee has already collected evidence demonstrating many of these issues, for example, the efforts to sow the Big Lie, including coordination with Congress, reveling in the collecting mobs, directing Guard deployment in ways that would support the insurrection, the unbelievable pressure on Mike Pence to violate his oath to the Constitution. In the interim four months, the press and Committee have identified other potential means of obstruction, such as ordering Alex Jones to bring his mob to the Capitol.

This is not a guarantee that Trump will be prosecuted. But all three branches of government now agree on the framework with which he might be held accountable.

*As I now understand it, Kelly announced yesterday that he will be denying the motion to dismiss later this week. He has not done so formally yet, but announced it yesterday in conjunction with his denial of renewed bail motions from three defendants.

269 replies
  1. harpie says:

    But for the moment, it seems that all three branches of government — prosecutors charging obstruction, judges affirming the viability of the application, and senior members of Congress invoking as part of the January 6 investigation — agree that the events of the day may amount to obstruction.

    Even if just “for the moment”, it feels GREAT to read that sentence today! :-)

    • Savage Librarian says:

      Yes, it’s a relief to hear disparate entities, at least for the moment, coming together to sing from the same page.

      🎶Don’t let it be forgot
      that once there was a spot,
      for one thief mining foment
      that was known as Scam-a-lot.🎶

      • bern says:

        The legal opinionate sifters
        Cup their hands ‘round their opulent snifters
        But there’s one thing I know
        Tho punks come and go
        Us Americans love us some grifters!

        • OldTulsaDude says:

          I can hear Frankie Laine still – and Gil and Rowdy.

          Keep grifting, grifting, grifting
          though your base is drifting
          keep your lies from shifting

          Make claims you have no proof of
          Pretend that you’re still real tough

          Soon you will need an alibi

          There’ll be recriminations
          Still broke, congratulations
          Keep grifting ’til there’s nothing
          left to try

          Listen up, here’s a lie
          Here’s a lie, listen up
          Listen up, here’s a lie

          President in your dreams
          Covered Time MAGA-zine

  2. Peterr says:

    After reading this, I began to wonder about how Trump’s various business and personal loans are structured. If there are clauses that allow lenders to call in the loan if circumstances change, such that it becomes more likely that Trump will not be able to repay them, these lenders will face increasing pressure to call them in for their own financial self-preservation.

    This is important, because lenders who are worried about whether their loans will be repaid are like criminal conspirators considering whether to seek a plea deal. In both cases, the first one to jump gets the best deal.

      • Peterr says:

        To the extent that Russians have been lending him money, shareholder activism may not be possible.

        But if Russian oligarchs and/or Vladimir Putin become worried about getting *their* money back . . . that’s a whole other kind of pressure that will come to bear on Trump. They could make some very strong demands on Trump, some of which would be very disturbing to people at State, DOD, or in the Intelligence Community.

        All sheer WAGgery on my part, but you’ve got to believe there are folks at Foggy Bottom, the Pentagon, and Langley who are gaming out exactly that kind of scenario. The scenarios start with a Russian accented voice saying “If you can’t repay us with dollars, Donald Ivanovitch, perhaps you could repay us with information that we might use to make some of our money back . . .” The scenarios end with all manner of nasty possibilities.

        Preventing or mitigating these possibilities go well beyond “we better change our passwords.” My hope is that career govt folks have been gaming this out since last November, ramped up their thinking after January 6th, started taking active measures at 12:01pm on January 20th, and have been continuing to do so for the last 11 months.

        Like I said, these are WAGs. But it’s WAGs like these that keep security spooks up at night.

        • RJames says:

          It might be worth it for Deutsche Bank to just right off their loans to Trump rather than have any more attention from the regulators. Dumping Trump’s banker and her lieutenant earlier this year may be their way of quietly getting out of the spotlight.

        • frankanon says:

          A nationally chartered bank cannot, I believe, just “write off” a loan without the knowledge of their regulator. It can’t just be discomfort or a desire to disassociate with a borrower. The Justice Department could really dig in with the OCC, or whomever regulates DB to dig into the specifics of their loans at a very granular level

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          For one thing, write-offs, especially to elite borrowers, who borrow big, are important considerations in bank solvency. For another, a straight write-off is taxable income to the debtor, something most debtors work hard to avoid. Given how fragile Trump’s financial picture is likely to be, that could help topple him into bankruptcy. That’s because the deemed income carries a potentially unprepared for high tax cost, but no cash to pay it.

        • Troutwaxer says:

          Why either write it off or try to collect it? Send Trump his bill every month and when it’s obvious to all and sundry that nobody is getting paid back, get in line at the bankruptcy court with everyone else and let the judge give you your haircut sometime about 2033 or so… there will eventually come a time when nobody cares what you do with Trump’s zombie loan.

        • Peterr says:

          The big move would be to demand payment in full immediately, because circumstances have changed and the value of the asset used as collateral is no longer as valuable as it was when the loan was extended.

          Maybe Trump could pay off the first bank to lower the boom on him, and perhaps the second, but sooner or later Trump’s pockets will be empty and he’ll have no means of filling them.

          No legal means, that is.

        • xy xy says:

          Knowing him, he’ll sue them til kingdom come.
          And with all the money that’s been donated to his causes, he has plenty to just keep them in court forever, no?

        • Peterr says:

          xy xy . . .


          Filing a suit would open Trump up to discovery, and the bank’s lawyers would have access to *all* his financials, especially those of the last two years when Trump’s properties have (broadly speaking) been tanking.

          The last thing Trump wants is for any actual financial documents and figures to show up in a public court filing, let alone be argued about in depositions and witness testimony in a court.

          Trump will threaten a suit, and the bank will just laugh.

        • Ravenclaw says:

          The fragile financial picture has probably been improved vastly by the large volume of political donations pouring in. The former guy will have no compunction about repurposing those funds to anything that can remotely be considered political, including fighting any and all legal attacks, contracting with his own companies to provide services at inflated prices, etc. Will the tens (hundreds?) of millions contributed by his followers be enough? Don’t know.

        • William Bennett says:

          Obvious point but still worth making: this is why the big lie is such a grift and an indispensable one for him. He needs to maintain an income stream independent of his other enterprises, which are based on brand image more than anything. Radically polarizing your customer base into lovers and haters isn’t a great marketing strategy for renting hotel rooms and putting your name on stuff. It does seem to work in right wing politics though. You got to monetize what you got, not what you used to have.

        • CCM says:

          If you owe a bank $250 and can’t pay it back, you are in trouble. If you own a bank $250 million and can’t pay it back, the bank is in trouble. I simple fact of life DT has used to his advantage his entire career.

        • vinnie Gambone says:

          Deutche lending Trump when other banks refused, were those loans Russian infusions ? All the Trump condo sales to Russian oligarchs around the world? Was that laundered rubbles ? If Deutche ” is quietly walking out of the spotlight, if they do write Trump’s loans off, and the loans were laundered Russian money, hymm, those Russians likely not happy this little walkaway thing Deutche wants to do. So we will see if Russia does any call . Could any of this possibly be related to Trump’s new billion dollar Truth Social media venture ? Do Russians have options on those stocks?
          They know very well what suckers Americans are. It’s reasonable to expect Trump beguiled throngs to buy these SPAC stocks. Heck, if a bunch of kids can run up Gamestock, Trump should easily be able to pump and dump the SPAC. Somewhere, is there a Russian hand in the SPAC deal ? Whatever is going on Russia is going to get their money. Maybe that’s what the ukraine border threats are about. Don’t fuck with us getting our money out of TRUMP.

        • Christopher Rocco says:

          I think the shareholders that matter are those of DeutscheBank, since it holds most of the debt, plus I think there is a bank in Chicago as well. Sorry, bmaz, you beat me to it.

        • Super Nintendo Chalmers says:

          That assumes he hasn’t already provided them with classified information since the beginning. IF I’m correct, there would be very little information that Dotard, with his limited capacity to remember anything actually important, might still have to give. Moreover, Donnie Moscow spent the last 4 weeks as Occupant of the White House without receiving his daily PDB.

      • Peterr says:

        Ah, the Office of Government Ethics . . .

        Feast your eyes upon Donald J. Trump’s Form 276e, which carries the bland title of “Executive Branch Personnel Public Financial Disclosure Report.” The very first blank asks for the report type, and the answer given is “termination” with the “date of appointment/termination” of January 20, 2021. Further down on page one is Trump’s signature, just below the sentence “I certify that the statements I have made in this report are true, complete and correct to the best of my knowledge.”

        Ponder that for a moment . . .

        He may deny it in the media, and deny it to the diners at Mar-a-Lago, and deny it to his marks, but with his signature on this form, Trump admits that he was terminated from federal executive branch service on January 20, 2021.

        From the mouths of bureaucrats . . .

        But on to the financial disclosures.

        There’s a lot to it, especially given all the tentacles of the Trump financial picture, but Part 8: Liabilities is what we’re looking for, which is on page 36 of the pdf. There are four separate Deutsche Bank listings, and also four with Ladder Capital Finance LLC, and one each at Investors Savings Bank, Amboy Bank, the Bryn Mawr Trust Company, Chicago Unit Acquisitions, and Professional Bank. Each of these loans shows the size of the liability, within various ranges. Five top out at “over $50,000,000” [two Deutsche Bank, two Ladder Capital, and one via Chicago Unit], one Deutsche Bank loan is between $25M and $50M, and all the others fall in the range of $5M to $25M.

        Interesting stuff to dig into.

        • Eureka says:

          Amboy Bank and the Bryn Mawr Trust Company are salient as smaller, regional-type outfits (perhaps some of the others are as well, not familiar), esp. in contrast to Deutsche or anything with the name “Capital” in it.

        • noromo says:

          Peterr, this is a really interesting doc. Given the current NYS investigation into his over-/under-valuing assets, most of his assets appear to be on the “soft” side — rent, royalties, fees, etc. Stuff that’s easily inflated, or deflated. The only real, hard, liquid assets are some bank accounts and a couple of pensions (how is his SAG pension worth more than his AFTRA pension?), and that’s only $3 to $4 million.

          Lots of “value not readily ascertainable” notes….

      • Alan Charbonneau says:

        I suggested on twitter that when investors repossess his hotels, they rebrand them. The do so in a way to cash in on Trump’s celebrity without paying for his name, which would drive him nuts.

        They should call it the “Loser” hotel. Everyone would know who they meant and what would Trump do? Sue in court yelling that he’s the “Loser” in the hotel’s name and wants royalties?

        It’s not a terribly realistic idea and is likely brought on by coming home from the Emerald Cup with some of Chia Rodrigues’ sun-grown dynamite. Besides, as Wowbagger The Infinitely Prolonged said, “A man can dream, can’t he?”

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Most loan contracts have “change of condition” default clauses. The premise is that if conditions change sufficiently, that makes the lender reasonably insecure about the borrower’s ability to repay the debt. Consequently, these clauses give the lender the right to call the loan.

      Having the principal of a borrower become insolvent or substantially impaired in performing his duties – whether or not he’s personally liable on a debt – is often listed as a default. I would think having the owner, ceo, or principal officer indicted for serial felonies would trigger a default. Even more so, if it happens to more than one family member running what is still a closely-held family business.

      • bmaz says:

        Yes. And that is interesting as to Trump. Before running for President, he was a businessman selling name rights, branding potentials and whatnot. Not quite the successful big developer he painted himself as, but at least making money. What is his “work” now? That has materially changed. The only “business” I can see he really has is grifting off of political funding vehicles, and that may yet prove problematic.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Materially declining brand value would be another reason to make a lender reasonably insecure, triggering a default clause. As a financial matter, Trump’s brand is in the dumpster and unlikely to recover. He might have continuing political pull, but that doesn’t generate money that would flow to a lender, only to Trump and his fundraising apparatus.

          The trick is in which lender is willing to pull the plug first. Once that happens, it triggers a cascade of defaults and calls, reminding me of Ozymandias.

        • Peterr says:

          If the first bank can get paid dollar for dollar before word gets out that the loan has been called in, Trump can pretend he’s flush.

          If Trump wants to play hardball with that bank, though, he could threaten to declare bankruptcy and offer to pay the bank pennies on the dollar instead. But the last thing — the absolute last thing — Trump wants right now is to publicly stand up and say he’s broke.

          Of course, he might cast that as being a financial martyr, screwed over by Big Banks, aka Soros and the Libs, and then seek to have his followers cough up the money to bail him out.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          One of the most important task forces creditors would need to form, fund and support would be one examining fraudulent transfers. Deceit and theft are Trump’s middle names.

        • Alan Charbonneau says:

          That grifting is his source of income is highly suggested by Jonathon Karl’s book:

          “McDaniel then fired back by telling Trump he would ‘be done’ if he left the party, telling him the GOP would stop paying legal costs for his postelection lawsuits and would cut him off from access to his campaign’s email list of 40 million supporters, according to the book.”

          He planned to burn down the GOP but backed off when his wallet was threatened. Suddenly, “getting even” became secondary to monetary concerns. He’s always been greedy, but now I think he’s desperate.

        • madwand says:

          IMHO McDaniel should have just let him go and then cut off the funding, that might have changed the dynamic also. As it is it means the RNC needs Trump as much as he needs it.

      • Rugger9 says:

        That clause if it exists would be included in the specifics of the loans to DJT for which we have no knowledge. It’s more likely that the default / call happens in the news first, but perhaps Weisselberg can shed some light on the topic.

        I do notice there is a lot of political grifting with DJT and his various tours, and some of the numbers being tossed around in the news would IMHO be enough to keep the immediate creditors at bay with partial payments. As bmaz notes astutely, Trump’s brand is based on his celebrity and it’s bad enough that several of his buildings are re-branded or empty like his arenas in FL last weekend. It can’t be sustainable for the long term, and it’s doubtless taken his spawn’s ability to be in business for a ride as well.

        The question of who is going to bail out DJT this time and the price they will demand is going to be interesting. I think one of the RWNJs like the Mercers or Elon Musk will step in but if they don’t, Vlad will come calling. It’s fortunate for us that DJT’s mental faculties are as shot as they are, because he never really read the PDB much less remembered any of it. So, all DJT can do for Putin is create chaos to distract from Vlad’s plans for the Ukraine.

        Then there are the criminal investigations in NYS and possibly GA that could render all of this conjecture moot.

      • Drew says:

        The Trump Organization itself (which in some guise must be the party that took out the biggest of these loans) is already under indictment in New York and there is an investigation of the organization doing fraudulent valuations for those very loans as well as over taxation. This would strike me as the epitome of a changed circumstance that should result in default. However, declaring default is discretionary for the lender, so I suppose Deutsche Bank, at any rate, is waiting for this to run a while.

        The big question is: who can grab Trump Tower? That’s his most valuable asset, but I expect that foreclosure would involve a quagmire of counterclaims among creditors. (I have a feeling that the golf courses, etc were financed in even more shady ways & the dissolution of those will be unconventional–even if the details never become public).

        • Leoghann says:

          But there are a number of full-floor vacancies in Trump Tower, as well as several non-paying tenants. Plus, there’s a good deal of space that’s “leased” to Trump entities, but without meaningful exchange of funds. That could possibly be renamed Tower of Grift, since that’s essentially what it’s become.

      • YinzerInExile says:

        This is absolutely true (although the devil is in the drafting of the change-of-condition clause). Just to say it, the counterargument to a lender actually trying to avail itself of such a clause in a circumstance that is less than perfectly clear, is that the lender may perceive a risk that they will create potential liability for themselves for having caused financial harm to the borrower through “wrongful” exercise of the change-of-condition clause. That perceived risk might be even higher when, as here, the borrower in question is highly litigious and does not appear to be bound to make only good-faith arguments in litigation. So, while I agree that a lender exercising their rights is absolutely a possibility, I wouldn’t hold my breath on it with a litigious borrower and a less than watertight claim.

        But one can always hope.

      • Sonso says:

        Trump pere is likely identified as a ‘key person’ on loan documents, and, as his personal circumstances jeopardize that position/role, which would also likely trigger a call on the loan.

  3. Scott Rose says:

    So the political problem is worse than the legal problem.
    Can it really be true that there are not enough clear-sighted voters in enough congressional districts nationwide to demand that enough Republican Representatives pro-actively and relentlessly reject Trump, such that a critical mass of Republican Representatives pro-actively and relentlessly reject Trump?

      • Inspector Clouseau says:

        While the district in the media is portrayed as a constant battle between sides where no one talks, in reality if you work/live there long enough you end up with a lot of these contacts; if they answer or respond is a different story. At the end of the day DC is people, living their lives, so your partner may have spin with the the partner of a senator or key lobbyist or you end up as room parents at your school with them. Plus most of the big names cells are on a list in every office.

        • matt fischer says:

          Granted, the number of people with access to Meadows’ number was probably large, but far fewer had the pressing need to contact him during the assault on The Capitol.

        • matt fischer says:

          To wit, such august “journalists” as:

          Laura Ingraham: “Mark, the President needs to tell people in the Capitol to go home. This is hurting all of us. He is destroying his legacy.”

          Brian Kilmeade: “Please, get him on TV. Destroying everything you have accomplished.”

          Sean Hannity: “Can he make a statement? Ask people to leave the Capitol.”

        • Alan Charbonneau says:

          Ingraham’s “destroying his legacy” was unintentionally funny. Cementing his legacy would be more appropriate.

        • CCM says:

          The events of Jan 6 were a ratings and interest bonanza. A journalist’s interest is continued chaos to report on. Perhaps they feared eventually being seen as complicit by prosecutors. Sent a message to White house to establish a record.

      • BobCon says:

        Meadows is still in every DC reporter’s contact list.

        It’s not because he was a good source in any objective sense — he was a notorious liar about not just the objective facts of a situation, but what his side thought and planned.

        But he understands the function the DC press needs him to play. Reporters need a GOP official to confirm and amplify whatever pitch the GOP messaging machine has made to them.

        Meadows is a part of the messaging game at every point — crafting, dissemination, confirmation, and reaction. That it’s all vapor is beside the point for the DC press.

        • matt fischer says:

          Your comments about contact lists and regular contact go without saying. By using the term “speed dial” I was trying to allude to an inappropriate coziness between the CoS and certain members of the “press” evidenced by their J6 texts. Apparently I was too obtuse.

        • Peterr says:

          Or too old, at least linguistically.

          Been there, done that . . . I was talking with a teenager the other day, and used the phrase “drop a dime” on someone. He said “I know what that means – it means you’re going to rat someone out – but what in the world does a dime have to do with that?”

          This led to a long conversation about public payphones on street corners or in booths inside train stations, where you had to put a physical dime in to make your anonymous phone call to tip off the cops.

  4. Bobby Gladd says:

    I don’t think there’s any way to overstate the importance of the work you have been doing on all of this.

    I am pretty much at a loss to see where this shit is headed.

  5. joel fisher says:

    Pretty soon, the big fish will start dropping the 5th bomb. I wish I knew whether a person could drag their heels by asserting one privilege, having a court challenge, an appeal, then on to the next BS privilege claim.

      • bmaz says:

        Nope, the 5th is the 5th. If properly asserted, it can be done so at any time. BUT, it must be consistent. A lot of these yokels have clouded that ability by yapping too much.

        • gmoke says:

          IANAL, but the times I’ve spoken to a lawyer generally the first advice they give is, “Don’t talk to anybody.”

          Hard to do if you’re a politician, media figure, or actor, all people hungry for the spotlight.

        • bmaz says:

          Yeah, the rules and law apply to them as well as us. Self made political media twits have no extra protection.

        • Peterr says:

          I think Meadows was trying to pull the same stunt with the Jan 6 committee that John Bolton did with the impeachment investigation. Delay, sorta-but-not-really cooperate, and then try to sell your book after the investigation passes over you because they are on a fast timeline.

          Bolton got away with it (though it didn’t help his book sales), but Meadows is having much more trouble with it.

    • joel fisher says:

      When, at some point in the future, the 5th is finally asserted by some of the pardonees,
      what’s next? Lengthly litigation over what a pardon actually means. And it won’t happen until the “executive privilege” BS is resolved. I wish–all right, it’s more of a dream–the executive privilege BS would be dealt with at once.

        • joel fisher says:

          I guess the committee could grant immunity, but I remember felons from the Reagan administration walking free due to a grant of immunity. Might be safer to have the Justice Department do the immunity stuff. But I was talking about pardons–do we even know everyone Trump pardoned?–and not grants of immunity, one wonders if the same sort of hearing would occur? Besides, in order for it to be an issue there has to be a hearing on the 5th amendment issue and right now the discussion is executive privilege; basically, no outs in the top of the 1st and so far the Supreme Court has not revealed how partial they are to Trump’s BS.

        • bmaz says:

          Immunity from a Congressional Committee is not worth squat without a concurrent grant from DOJ and signed off on by a court. So, that would not help in the face of a person taking the 5th.

        • joel fisher says:

          I remember the clusterfuck from the late 80s where scum walked due to fucking up the immunity grant from Congress.

        • Rugger9 says:

          That was because Ollie North had been granted a limited immunity by the Iran Contra committee to testify that was ambiguously worded, and was later leveraged to get North out of jail.

          Bennie Thompson as far as I know has made no offer of immunity to testify, much less the full J6 Select Committee. Unless I missed something, there is nothing for Meadows to leverage like North did. However, many of the talking heads are carrying on like it’s a political play when it’s really about someone welching on a deal.

          I was also interested to see how many of the six House Freedom Caucus members in collusion with Meadows on J6 were key players in the Benghazi committees (there were ~seven of them). For some reason the courtier press is slow in pointing out the hypocrisy.

        • joel fisher says:

          It would be hard to convince me that Congress has learned much from that disaster. I know people are saying things are moving right along, but Meadows–assuming some sort of immunity deal–isn’t going to talk until he’s charged with contempt, the trial is scheduled, and a conviction is on the horizon.

        • timbo says:

          And maybe not even then… for who knows how much else Meadows has been involved that are somehow tied to his contacts around the Big Lie, etc. For instance, there’s his failing to testify during the two impeachments so far…and a host of possibly other dubious or illegal things he’s been involved in…Hatch Act violations almost certainly and possibly political strong arming of folks like weapons manufactures (Ukraine) are at least two obvious areas of political jeopardy for Meadows >beyond< the J6 investigation… although they possibly overlap it and may even explain why he might want to keep Trump in power…

  6. Stephen Calhoun says:

    Is it worth adding to this compendium the fact that sometime before the election, (August?) Trump told a rally something like ‘the only way he loses is if the election is rigged?’

  7. Fran of the North says:

    First, a tip of the hat to all here who have done yeo(persons)’s work. This site has been balm for my soul for so long, and now it appears that your hard work is coming to fruition.

    Apologies if this has been covered here and I missed it.

    Much of the investigative work into the alleged conspiracies here and elsewhere has focused on what happened in the months, days and hours leading up to the move on the Capitol. What hit me this morning is whether or not there is another big pointer towards cooperation and coordination btw the various militia groups.

    At the end of ‘occupation’, all that were left in the Capitol were bemused ‘normies’ taking selfies and congratulating themselves. Illuminating that none of the tactical tools were left by that time.

    Who, when and how were the PBs 3Ps OKs and others notified that it was time for a tactical withdrawl? If those comms can be identified on the various channels, and shown to correlate with exits by those individuals, does it not further support charges of conspiracy?

    • harpie says:

      About your question, see what you think [for example] about PERSON 1 in the new Zach REHL connected Proud Boy warrants:
      There’s a PERSON 1, who didn’t go the Insurrection.

      18. At 9:47 a.m. on January 6, 2021, Person 1 sent two voice messages to the Group Text. The first stated, “Hey y’all have a good day. Dress warm. I love y’all. Be safe. Love y’all.”

      The second stated, “And whatever info I come across today I’ll get out to you Zach, get it out to wherever it needs to go. Just let me know where it needs to go.” […]

      See this link for more:

    • emptywheel says:

      Kelly Meggs set up an alliance of FL militias in December, and the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers seemed to know of the breach on the East side of the building.

      In addition there was a coordination meeting on January 3 in PA that also involved the Oath keepers.

      A new indictment overnight has another example of such coordination.

      • John Lehman says:

        Literary references just keep appearing….”Pit and the Pendulum” ….drip, drip…water torture… poor guys.

        • Fran of the North says:

          Please excuse me if my hard, hard heart doesn’t offer up any solas to those ‘poor beleaguered souls’. I haven’t got the cardio-width when there are so many worthy candidates for my concerns.

  8. WilliamOckham says:

    So, if you’re a member of the Coup Caucus, are you madder at Liz Cheney or Mark Meadows today? Liz is obviously coming for you and she’s smarter and meaner than you are. On the other hand, Meadows threw everyone under the bus by sharing some much stuff that incriminated you.

    • skua says:

      And with his “damned duty” apparently not having been fulfilled, does DJT go on an enemies list? And he left many behind unpardoned.
      Maybe something that OatKs will dwell on during prison time.

    • Peterr says:

      I think there’s enough anger in the Coup Caucus to cover both of them many times over.

      Also, some of the Coup Caucus may not yet realize that they’ve been thrown under the bus. “I’m sure that was someone else’s tweet to Meadows, not mine.”

      But on balance, I think Liz comes in for more of the hate. For one, she’s in the room with them, making them look stupid and evil every time she opens her mouth, while Meadows is . . . elsewhere. For another, Meadows threw them under the bus behind closed doors, while Liz is doing it in broad daylight. Finally, Liz is a girl, and an old one at that. She’s not a cool young girl like Marjorie Taylor Green or Lauren Bobert.

      But Liz is a Cheney. The DC newcomers in the Coup Caucus who never saw Papa Cheney at work up close do not realize just how much of his daughter Liz is. A Cheney can shoot you in the face and get you to apologize to them.

      Rep. Bobert, take note.

    • emptywheel says:

      That’s why how badly Terwilliger, who is a real lawyer, fucked this up is so delicious. There’s almost no way Meadows avoids turning over everything he got caught trying to withhold. Once he fulfills his PRA duty, DOJ can just obtain a warrant for that stuff to serve on the Archives.

      But I am taking great relish in seeing the bureaucratic genius Cheney learned from her Pop used to discomfort the coup caucus and Fox.

        • Wiggans says:

          Perhaps, if the things he has done are really that stupid and Terwilliger is not, we should be looking for other things his client is hiding – and that are being obscured by the stupid – that are bad enough to make the consequences of looking stupid worthwhile.

        • timbo says:

          Like claiming “executive privilege” for communications that a client never submitted to the National Archives that are now cause for that client asserting the 5th to avoid testifying to the Congress fer instance?

        • bmaz says:

          No, not that. Whether submitted to the Archive or not theoretically would not presumptively affect whether EP would apply.

      • Drew says:

        We have been wondering how it came about that the Committee got all this. I mean, it’s clearly what was on Meadows’ phone (maybe elsewhere as well). Ultimately the National Archives should have all that stuff because of the Presidential Records Act. But is the first thing you do, when lawyered up with a prominent attorney from a big DC law firm, when asked for cooperation is turn over your phone for forensic analysis by investigators? Did Terwilliger just tell Meadows to do that? Meadows is known for being stupid, he might well follow directions from his attorney, but this seems exceedingly strange.

        • harold hecuba says:

          I think Meadows really is that stupid. Plus, he’s a coward to boot so he’s gonna try to please whomever is yelling at him at a particular moment.

          He’s been sucking up to Trump for years, like that little dog in the Looney Tunes cartoons: “What are we gonna do now, Spike, huh, huh? [aside] Spike is my friend.”

        • Fran of the North says:

          Only Spike is going to figure out here pretty quick what getting kicked to the curb feels like. Spike needs to feel the brunt of how far he was led astray. Only then MIGHT he realize that he sold his soul to the devil incarnateL DJT.

  9. Tom says:

    I recall puttering around the house on the afternoon of January 6th listening to “Here and Now” on NPR (the great thing about radio is that you can listen while you’re doing something else) when they interrupted their regular broadcast with the first reports that Trump’s protesters were getting violent outside the Capitol. In the absence of any visuals, I imagined a small but vocal mob that would be quickly dispersed by police/security forces–after all, this was the U.S. Capitol building–after which NPR would announce that, “We will now resume our regular programming”.

    To my surprise, I heard the radio’s coverage of the riot go on and on and on for hours with no sign that any cavalry were coming to the rescue of the Capitol defenders. One hundred and eighty-seven minutes of Trump watching the chaos while doing nothing to stop it is a long time, especially when you think of it as being over three hours, and even more especially if you imagine yourself in the place of the lawmakers under attack at the time.

    I’m wondering if and when any of those “unnamed” lawmakers who were texting Mark Meadows that day will decide that it’s better to reveal themselves than be seen to be exposed by the January 6th committee.

    I may well have missed some relevant news items, but I wish TV journalists would focus on Trump’s main motive for staging his attempted coup; that is, to stay in the White House so as to stay out of jail. If that requires him to play the role of an authoritarian, then so be it, but I think Trump’s criminal tendencies far outweigh any dictatorial ones he may have.

    • Bobby Gladd says:

      Back in 2016, I had the increasingly creepy feeling that Trump was going to win the General. All of my friends assumed that Hillary was a lock. I did not share that sanguinity. See the opening minutes of Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 11/9.” Imagine my lack of surprise.

      Then, a month after his “carnage” inauguration, my younger daughter was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer. She struggled for 13 months. It was hell, and the daily Trump circus didn’t help the stress. I delayed having aortic valve open heart surgery until August 2018, pushed it to the firewall because of Danielle’s illness. I’m lucky to still be alive. In Dec 2019 I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, and I have to wonder how much the stress of the Trump years contributed (BTW, Sinemet officially sux).

      Donald Trump and I are the same age and both from New York — and I am not a billionaire either. I have known of that fatuous, pompous, gauche con man and his grifts for decades. I just knew that when he was elected everything would go to shit. If he escapes accountability yet again, we are totally screwed. I am completely sick of following all of this stuff. If the Supremes grant cert on his DC appeal loss, we’ll know that they too are in the Trump Melt Clock tank. NY AG to the possible eventual consolation prize rescue? Not gonna suffice, given the damage he has perpetrated on this nation and our democracy.

      Marcy should get a Pulitzer for all of her gumshoe efforts.

  10. DrFunguy says:

    Slightly off topic, but I’m curious what the smart commentariat here makes of the DC AG lawsuit
    Is this likely to go anywhere?
    “WASHINGTON (AP) — The District of Columbia has filed a civil lawsuit seeking harsh financial penalties against far-right groups Proud Boys and Oath Keepers over their role in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump.

    The suit, filed Tuesday in federal court, also names dozens of the groups’ senior members, many of whom already face criminal charges for taking part in the violent attack on the Capitol building while Congress was meeting to certify the 2020 election results.

    Karl Racine, Washington’s attorney general, said the suit seeks compensation for damages to the District of Columbia and intends to inflict maximum financial damage on the groups responsible.

    “Out intent is to hold these violent mobsters and violent hate groups accountable and to get every penny of damage we can,” Racine said. “If it so happens that we bankrupt them, then that’s a good day.” ”

    • J R in WV says:

      The Southern Poverty Law Center (which we contribute to on a automatic monthly basis) has frequently won huge judgements against RWNJ, fascist, and white supremacist groups, driving most of them into bankruptcy and adding funds to their bank balance.

      So I see no reason other groups, even government agencies, can’t reap large amounts of funding from these Nut Jobs who attacked our national capitol.

    • AndTheSlithyToves says:

      Karl Racine has been an excellent AG–first elected AG in 2014–here in DC. His family fled the Duvalier dictatorship in Haiti and he came to Washington when he was only 3 years old. He’s also pretty wired into national politics having served as Associate White House Counsel for President Bill Clinton:

  11. Jenny says:

    Thank you Dr. Marcy. Again, you to put the puzzle pieces together.

    Words of a sitting lawmaker in a text to Mark Meadows on January 7th:
    “Yesterday was a terrible day. We tried everything we could in our objections to the 6 states. I’m sorry nothing worked.”

    Looking forward to the names of the helpful lawmakers who follow Trump’s angry and abusive ways.

    “Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.”
    ― Voltaire

    • Alan K says:

      Thank you Jenny! I didn’t know this quote. The rest of it shows perhaps why Evangelicals are so vulnerable:

      … If you do not use the intelligence with which God endowed your mind to resist believing impossibilities, you will not be able to use the sense of injustice which God planted in your heart to resist a command to do evil. Once a single faculty of your soul has been tyrannized, all the other faculties will submit to the same fate. This has been the cause of all the religious crimes that have flooded the earth.

      • OldTulsaDude says:

        And keep in mind a large part of insurgent supporters are Christion Nationalists – and I hear the words of Flynn and Barr encouraging theocracy.

        • OldTulsaDude says:

          I apologize if you are sensitive about beliefs but my view is that putting Christian in quotes is an exercise of the True Scotsman fallacy.

        • Jenny says:

          “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

          ― Mahatma Gandhi

        • Lester Noyes says:

          Excellent. Nothing to do with my beliefs but with theirs. They are not Christians and shouldn’t get away with calling themselves so.
          Off Topic but I am reminded of this good story: A lowland Scotsman went to visit his cousin, a highland Scotsman. They had porridge for breakfast, porridge for dinner. When they had porridge for supper, the lowland Scotsman asked, “Do ye never tire of porridge?” to which his cousin replied, “How can ye tire of food?”

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          The gulf between the Christ and Jesus is, in a way, like the difference between Saturday night and Sunday morning.

        • P J Evans says:

          One lady I knew, a Baptist in west Texas, said that everyone is a good Christian until they get to the parking lot after the service.

  12. Sabine Farm says:

    Emptywheel, Thank you for your great work.You have shown the way for Trump to be held accountable for 1/6.I first saw your work on the Scooter Libby trial.When I learned you were not a lawyer, I was very surprised. Your ,in depth,analyses of the “ nuts and bolts “ of congressional investigations, special Prosecutors, IG investigations, DOJ, the proclivities of DC District Court Judges and so much more are remarkable.You provide better service than a boutique criminal law firm staffed with clones of the prosecutor you called” Fitz.” Dr. Wheeler you are an invaluable professor.

    • Eureka says:

      Sounds like a (manipulative) former military guy or one of the group enamored with the special forces shtick. Rules in a bunch. First guess was DM (alternately, SP) but they say “unknown” instead of “lawmaker” here and I have a hunch he’d not bother to disguise his comms.

      Adding: hmm, maybe SP because his was the name first linked to the effort to get Clark burrowed further in and atop DOJ and only later did we find out that Meadows was the one to introduce Clark to Trump (per J6 Committee list Marcy shared a few posts back — and that point cites a book as the source).

      • Eureka says:

        …vs the initial NYT reporting (Katie Benner) on Clark, boosted by a Maggie Haberman tweet citing a “PA lawmaker” behind the scenes (whom we later learned to be State Rep. Scott Perry). [And all of which obscured Meadows’ role in the Clark operation, as I recall it.]

        • Eureka says:

          Too funny.

          Spouse had had radio on today, heard bit of a segment referencing the ~50 year anniversary of a “great tragedy” in Phila. history. We review actual tragedies [“MOVE bombing?” No, that was ’85, I said. The decades are long but not that long …]. Turn radio back on to discover that *today* is the very anniversary (53rd, if math) of Santa-ball-gate.

          It was a sports talk channel.

    • Eureka says:

      Some compelling, if limited, evidence that this “Unknown” might be Madison Cawthorn. Screenshots at top of this tweet — and more found by clicking open the “show more replies” — show Cawthorn using the “tip of the spear” phrase in combo with with an “I’m honored…” – type of phrase in a couple of tweets.

      Consistent with the prior stolen-pre-valorish stuff, too / ~ Alex Jonesian Warrior.

      • harpie says:

        That’s an interesting find! I searched my docs to see if I had any “tip of the spear” references, and came up with a tweet from Alan Feuer:
        I7:23 AM · Mar 26, 2021

        I believe this fact–from a detention memo in the case of Montana man Jerod Hughes filed yesterday–is new: There were Montana Proud Boys in the first wave of rioters to breach the building at “the tip of the spear” with Proud Boy Dominic Pezzola & Oath Keeper Robert Gieswein. [screenshot]

        The phrase is used in UNITED STATES’ MOTION TO REVOKE PRETRIAL RELEASE for Jarod Wade HUGHES

        [p6] The nature and circumstances of the offense are extremely serious. Defendant JEROD WADE HUGHES and his brother, co-defendant JOSHUA CALVIN HUGHES were present at the “tip of the spear” and participated, along with known members of the Proud Boys4 and the Oath Keepers, to break open windows and doors and force entry into the United States Capitol building. […]
        fn4 The United States has no direct evidence that either JOSHUA CALVIN HUGHES or JEROD WADE HUGHES is a member of either the Proud Boys or the Oath Keepers, but it is worth noting that the “tip of the spear” included New York Proud Boy member Dominic Pezzola, as well as identified members of the Montana chapter of the Proud Boys, Robert Gieswein, a known member of the Oath Keepers, among others.

        Marcy wrote about the HUGHES brothers, here:
        emptywheel: 2021/09/23/like-joe-biggs-the-hughes-brothers-also-conducted-a-pincer-from-the-east/

        • harpie says:

          Also, from Marcy’s list:

          71. Samuel Lazar, who was caught on video spraying chemicals and cops and claimed to be the tip of the spear.

          Links to:

          [pdf9/10:] In the video, LAZAR continued, “They attacked the people. We have a right to defend ourselves. Fuck the tyrants. There’s a time for peace and there’s a time for war” while pointing to the above-referenced patch on his chest. LAZAR answered a question from someone nearby by stating, “I was right at the front, on the tip of the spear, brother. That’s where you gotta be.”

          TYRANT is a word much used by Alex JONES,

          About the referenced PATCH [makes me think of FLYNN]:

          [p3/10] On his tactical vest was a patch that read, “Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle.”

        • Eureka says:

          That’s all very “fine” company Meadows finds himself in, at least in regards to how the coupers view themselves, each other, and their roles.

          Your sample and remarks here also remind me of how John Eastman in his suit is no different from the screeching Damon Michael Beckley or any of the others in various dresses of full cult regalia:

          All thugs.

          And to be clear re: possible “Unknown” ID, I don’t agree with the original tweeter above that mere use of the phrase is distinguishing (outside a certain pool of believers/ Jones’ et al. audience) and don’t know that its use is especially rare (partic. among that group, or those with a mil. background or to whom same is appealing).

          It’s that Cawthorn consistently (at least twice, maybe thrice or more) *pairs it* with an “I’m honored” phrase — and “I’m proud”* (by “Unknown”) is a more familiar (less formal) expression of that sentiment (cf. “friend” at the end). That’s all concordant w/MC’s relationship w/Meadows, too. Tres familiar…

          Adding: this one from the “show more replies” has the screenshots w/two Cawthorn tweets:

          *LOL, looked back and Unk is even more *strenuously* familiar about it, with a touch of “all about me”: “I’m personally so proud…”

        • Eureka says:

          I’d thought that letter was from 500 years ago: nope, end July.

          ETA: too busy paying attention to GOPers in boundary-violating drama (crimes): how did this game get to OT? Thought Chefs PAT put them one over?

  13. WilliamOckham says:

    Did anyone see the little drama that played out with Steny Hoyer? Hoyer implied that Banks didn’t want the Jan 6 Committee to succeed because he was afraid the truth might come up. So a Republican got up to demand that Hoyer’s remark be stricken from the record. And guess who that Republican was? Scott Perry who really should be terrified that truth is coming out. He’s the odds-on favorite to be the person Meadows was texting with about Jeffrey Clark in December 2020.

      • harpie says:

        …need a little more info…which December text do you mean?
        [it’s early and I’m still un-caffeinated]

        • Eureka says:

          “Let’s have a discussion about how impossible it is to (re)locate government docs.”

          As via WO below, I went to find a link for the “committee’s report” in the likeliest place: the J6 Committee site. Nowhere to be found. Eventually relocated a link to share via EW’s Meadows post.

          Perhaps they could make a tab at for cross-linking important, related (House) docs. They want info to be easily disseminated on this topic of grave national importance, right?

          To the texts, para. on p. 41:

          We would have asked Mr. Meadows about text messages sent to and from Members
          of Congress, including text messages received from a Member of Congress in
          November of 2020 regarding efforts to contact State legislators because, as Mr.
          Meadows indicates in his text messages, quote, ‘‘POTUS wants to chat with them,’’
          end quote, which reflects a direct communication with the President, as well as
          texts in December of 2020 regarding the prospect of the President’s appointment of
          Jeffrey Clark as Acting Attorney General.

          ETA: and Yes to your comment below re a comms chart.

        • Eureka says:

          Good point re JS and I appreciate the reminder, didn’t think of it this time.

          But also these docs should be readily available by search to the average bear who doesn’t frequent Just Security and Lawfare. (And none of the major-outlet press reports I’d checked in search results actually links to the report.)

          The RWNJ in all of their document theater have nailed down how to get links out (redundantly, perseveratively) to their often perverted versions, hijacking every bit of authority and esteem they otherwise demean. They’ve resolved the “know where to look” problem — also as to ‘stable’ information.

          The People and more of the legit 4th estate gotta get on this.

        • Eureka says:

          …and the “how to look” problem where all of their keywords or other co-options direct to their own scammy sites (for cases where curiosity, or lack of information-push would even necessitate a search — or where accident attends one). Etc. (and there’s too much of it).

        • Eureka says:

          And it definitely varies by the specific journalist within orgs, too. Certain bylines I *know* the doc will be embedded there.The reliable doc-linking Inky reporter covering Capitol/ PB cases wasn’t on the story yesterday, e.g., so knew I’d have to hightail it to GWU (and am thankful for that resource, there often is not one!).

          If it’s paywalled or can’t be hosted that’s one thing (another thing), else no reason not to just include it.

        • bmaz says:

          This is but one reason I love Josh Gerstein, he is seriously good about linking his source docs. Leopold too.

        • bmaz says:

          By the way, as to RECAP, it is a product to fight the insane fees a user has to pay to PACER (which Aaron Swartz was fighting), and there is news on that front. There is a tentative settlement as to the high fees PACER charges, and has for nearly forever. I don’t know if it will result in the service being free (as it should be), but hopefully cheap enough that all could use it. My quarterly PACER fees range from nominal to outrageous, and I suspect Marcy’s are far higher. It can be a load. So, this is, hopefully, a positive step.

        • harpie says:

          “Let’s have a discussion about how impossible it is to (re)locate government docs.”

          It’s UNBELIEVABLE!
          [It’s frustrating enough when I can’t find my OWN…but shouldn’t THEY be more organized???] [lol]

          And THANK YOU, thank you, thank you, for finding that link…I did try at the Committee website…SO frustrating.

          Also, THANKS to bmaz for the reminder about JS. [OY!]

      • WilliamOckham says:

        The December texts about installing Clark as Acting AG were described as being between Meadows and a Member of Congress (in the committee’s report).

  14. Badger Robert says:

    You’re winning, Ms. Wheeler. A perceptive reader can hear emptywheel’s advocacy when attorney Katyal is on TV.
    I’d like to see the time stamps on the text messages Ms. Cheney was reading, along with the in time imagery of the capital available to the public. When did each messenger decide it wasn’t going to work?

  15. massappeal says:

    The actions of the House Select Committee over the past 24 hours make this perhaps the most hopeful day this year regarding the attempted coup. That’s because Cheney and her colleagues demonstrated that they understand taking down a president (or ex-president) is fundamentally a political undertaking. (Counter-example: the Mueller Report demonstrates the limits of defining the task as a legal undertaking.)

    Jimmy Breslin’s gleefully partisan Watergate book, “How the Good Guys Finally Won”, is a great illustration of this view. Breslin made House Majority Leader Tip O’Neill the hero/key figure in the fight to remove Nixon from office. O’Neill wasn’t a lawyer, or a judge, or a journalist. He was a politician, with a politician’s skills and perspective. He used those, beginning early in 1973, to move Nixon’s impeachment from the realm of the unthinkable, to the possible, to the inevitable.

    In taking advantage of the opportunity to get the House to pass a contempt resolution against Meadows, Cheney & Co. told their story three times in 24 hours (at last night’s Select Committee meeting, at this morning’s Rules Committee meeting, and on the House floor this evening. Each time, they coordinated their statements, telling overlapping pieces of the story, and decorating it tantalizing tidbits (texts from Trump’s family, Fox News personalities, journalists, members of Congress) of juicy gossip that humanized the story.

    Doing that makes it something people in politics will gossip about, reporters and editors will write about, and Trump’s camp will worry about (and, we can reasonably hope, begin to turn against each other). Now, if the Select Committee can keep that up next year with weeks of public hearings….

    • bmaz says:

      This is exactly why courts are never going to fully be the savior of democracy. They deal only with defined “cases and controversies”. They are actually fairly decent at that. But they have their limits as to the grander political issues, which I think is what you are saying.

      In fact, there is even a long established court doctrine on this known as the “Political Question Doctrine”, which holds that Federal courts will refuse to hear a case if they find that it presents a political question. This doctrine refers to the idea that an issue is so politically charged that federal courts, which are typically viewed as the apolitical branch of government, should not hear the issue. This literally goes back to Marbury v. Madison.

      • TooLoose LeTruck says:

        Fascinating material to read…

        What a terrific education is to be had, simply reading the commentariat here…

      • AlaskaReader says:

        So who in the Judiciary tells the DOJ to stand down?

        And how many times does DOJ just say to themselves that it’s not worth the effort because the judiciary won’t allow the prosecution to proceed?

        And are there documented cases of this occurring?

        • bmaz says:

          No. This is all bullshit. It is not the “Judiciary’s” job to say that to DOJ except for in individual cases and controversies.

          As to the second question, only when there is established precedent in force.

          As to the third, no. You are just pitching horse manure.

        • AlaskaReader says:

          You brought up the doctrine.
          Then you failed to defend your bringing up your so called doctrine’s existence by saying I’m pitching manure?

          1. You say it’s not judiciary’s job, but then you say except when it is.

          2. I didn’t ask when, I asked how many times.

          3. So as to there being no documentation, odd that since you readily admit there are your ‘exceptions’, and there evidently is instances of precedent.

          Beginning to be glad I’m not a lawyer. The questions that arise in my mind are not predicated on ‘pitching manure’ despite your wish to summarily dismiss my concerns. By your admitting there are exceptions and instances of precedent evidences to me that I’m not on the wrong track, seems more so that you wish not to address that which you admit.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          I’m glad you’re happy not being a lawyer. The logic of your argument suggests you haven’t the talent for it.

        • AlaskaReader says:

          ‘Talent’ isn’t a concern of mine. I’m not looking to be viewed by others as talented or not, I could care less if anyone thinks I’m ‘talented’.

          I’m just asking questions.

          The statement was made that federal courts will refuse to hear a case, I asked who makes that determination.

          The statement was made that it’s not judiciary’s job except in cases and controversies when it is or has been.

          I merely asked for specifics on those exceptions and if there is documentation of those instances so I might read and learn some more.

          Any of you can be as condescending as you wish, I’m just trying to get some answers to questions I have that are honestly derived from a wish to know more than I do.

          Treat it as you wish, laugh at me all you wish. Deride me all you wish, ignore me if you wish. My only wish was to get answers and clarity to statements that weren’t mine.

        • bmaz says:

          Lol, no, “talent” for law does not seem to be a concern or yours, that is clear.

          If you want to “read and learn some more”, great. But nobody here owes you the edification you will not seek on your own. “Do your own research”, and do not deign to demand that anybody here does it for you.

        • bmaz says:

          You do not understand jack shit. Nobody owes your lame demands for “clarification” anything. You are nothing more than an interloper troll. And thanks for playing.

        • Rayne says:

          Take some time to read the Constitution, specifically Article III, sections 1 and 2. The judiciary’s role is to weigh in on disputes concerning the law. Perhaps the disagreement you’re having is in how you interpret Art. III — the executive branch executes laws written by the legislative branch, and the judicial branch is asked to determine whether laws meet the limits defined in the Constitution, and whether the executive branch has conformed to the laws and Constitution.

        • AlaskaReader says:

          I appreciate the attempt to clarify.

          No disagreement there. I was taught those concepts in the late 50s early 60s, pretty sure it should be the same today.
          My questions, however, arise from specific statements others have made. Perhaps I’m unable to voice those questions in a manner which anyone cares to address, but I gave it one more go above.

      • Troutwaxer says:

        They deal only with defined “cases and controversies”.

        This is at the appeals level, or the trial level? And either way, could we get a few more details of how this actually works?

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          The concept is fundamental to the US legal system. Try a little internet research, starting with a few wikipedia entries and reading Art. III. (It’s not that long.) I’d start here:

          “The Supreme Court…has interpreted the Case or Controversy Clause of Article III of the United States Constitution (found in Art. III, Section 2, Clause 1) as embodying two distinct limitations on [the] exercise of [jurisdiction by federal courts]: a bar on the issuance of advisory opinions, and a requirement that parties must have standing.”

          Briefly, for historical reasons regarding a litany of monarchical abuses in Britain, US trial and appellate courts are limited to rendering judgments in an actual case or controversy, involving specific people and past events, and “concrete legal issues, presented in actual cases, not abstractions,”

          Unlike EU and some national European court systems, US courts cannot issue “advisory opinions” about the reach and scope of a law in advance of a case. They do so when reaching decisions in judgment of the conduct of specific people and events. The judgment then acts as guidance for future conduct.

    • Badger Robert says:

      Thanks for making my point with much better sentences. And bmaz’ comment is also important.
      The criminal prosecutions are necessary, but not sufficient. The committee has to crack the political alliance behind the big lie. The Senators may be headed in that direction.

    • Greg Hunter says:

      What you are seeing from Cheney is her ability to get the committee to be on point with messaging just like she did when she was part of the House Leadership. This is the type of messaging (repeating it over and over) that no one at any level of Dem leadership can do or will do.

      Pelosi can count the votes, Schumer is a joke and the only messaging that comes close is Jen Psaki and that is not enough. I really think sometimes that Schumer arranged for the smothering of Al Franken because he was the obvious choice to be a great Dem messenger.

  16. TooLoose LeTruck says:

    I never thought I’d see the day when I was grateful for something a Cheney did, but I’ll be damned, here I am.

    • skua says:

      I’ve got Pence as my proof of these being tumultuous times.

      May have begun when Muchin and Trump’s trophy non-farters were photographed with Pence’s normal bodied wife but somehow Pence didn’t believe that God wanted 45 to be 46 right when it made a difference.

      • Peterr says:

        Don’t forget the wisdom of Dan Quayle, who told Pence more or less that he has no choice because his job was simply to announce and tally what the states had decided.

        “The wisdom of Dan Quayle” is a phrase I have never before uttered in my life, and I do not expect to ever do so again.

      • TooLoose LeTruck says:

        The mind… it boggles…

        I don’t know if this one act repays the country for the karmic tab the Cheneys have run up over the last few decades, but it’s a good down payment, IMO…

        • timbo says:

          The thing about smart politicians is that they know that power is fleeting and that there are always meaner dogs waiting in the wings to turn things very ugly if not kept in check. Hence “the balancing of ambitions” between the three Federal branches of our Republic in its founding document. To remove that means to remove the checks on ambition that goes with it. And then it gets to those who are the most unethical and immoral, the people you really do not want to be in charge of everything. Caprice has a price. Liz Cheney is not one of those who wants to pay the price. Nor is Pence it seems.

        • TooLoose LeTruck says:

          I would agree w/ that statement completely.

          In a similar vein, as much as I despise Vlad Putin and wonder if there will ever be an attempt to dislodge him as the high lord overseer of Russia, I’ve also found myself thinking that what comes next could actually be worse for Russia and the world, for that matter…

  17. OldTulsaDude says:

    Dr. Wheeler, I’d suggest one more bullet point: the Oval Office meeting when Clark was finally stopped from heading the DOJ. Although not a lawyers, I would think the meeting itself could be argued as an action in furtherance of a conspiracy.

  18. Fossil Hunter says:

    It looks like a confrontation with “Antifa” that didn’t happen was key to many of their contingency plans.

    • Dopeyo says:

      It could be that any one of 3 triggers could have set off TFG declaring a National Security Emergency: pitched battles between MAGAs and antifa, bombs/fires inside the Capitol, or physical injury to Pence and Pelosi requiring evacuation.

      Smart antifas stayed away on Jan 6, but Pence and Pelosi came within minutes of serious harm, IMO. As did we all.

  19. BobCon says:

    I’m struck by how poorly the press is reporting this. Structurally — headlines, leads, story structure — they’re still bending over backwards to avoid saying the obvious.

    An example is today’s Washington Post article headlined “Text messages to Meadows renew scrutiny of Trump’s inaction during Jan. 6 riot” which would be like writing a headline “Unexpected swims highlight questions about Titanic captain’s navigation choices.”

    It takes about 30 wandering paragraphs to get to the truly explosive point — Cheney is accusing Trump of corruptly obstructing the electoral vote count with an attack on Congress.

    It’s true that she used the Jeopardy format to make her statement in the form of a question. But Trump got far bigger headlines and leads for accusations about Obama’s birthplace that were also technically phrased as questions.

    And unlike Trump, Cheney and the rest of the 1/6 Committee have actual facts to back them up, with a lot more coming.

    The press is still treating this as though they need to be open to all kinds of possibilities, such as Trump was just lazy, the mob was unorganized and randomly sparked, that there was no intention to prevent Biden from taking office.

    The probabilities of mitigating factors keep dwindling, but they are acting as though the least likely option must be treated as the best representation of reality. Which of course is exactly the double standard Trump and the GOP want — always run the ledes they want, but bury the ones they don’t.

  20. Bay State Librul says:

    Draft these eleven Reps in your Fantasy Football League (texting with the chief)

    Lauren Boebert
    Andy Biggs
    Mo Brooks
    Madison Cawthorn
    Matt Gaetz
    Louie Gohmert
    Paul Gosar
    Marjorie Taylor Greene
    Jim Jordan
    Scott Perry

    Any idea who the QB and the Coach of this team are?

      • P J Evans says:

        I don’t know if Boebert would be one of those calling, but most of the rest on that list from BSL would be likely.

    • harpie says:

      Jim JORDAN seems to be stepping in it, today:
      11:20 AM · Dec 15, 2021

      Looks like @Jim_Jordan wants DOJ to send him a preservation order. [link]

      Links to:
      11:16 AM · Dec 15, 2021

      From the federalist… with a misleading headline.
      Here they are outing Jim Jordan as text buddies with Mark Meadows. Looks like he has his texts saved. [link]

      The misleading headline in question:
      During January 6 Hearing, Schiff Doctored Text Messages Between Mark Meadows And Rep. Jim Jordan Democrat Adam Schiff doctored text messages between Mark Meadows and Jim Jordan during Monday’s Jan. 6 hearings, an investigation by The Federalist shows.

    • Eureka says:

      Any senators in contention? Like the junior from MO, Josh Hawley?

      How was that side of the deal (objections) handled, exactly? Degrees of separation?

      • Eureka says:

        It’s amazing how if you miss any part of the news cycle, implicit references (which everyone here apparently knew) aren’t catchable. Caught up to find that Thompson said the list now is limited to reps., so senate-side wonderings will have to wait.

  21. Rugger9 says:

    So, it seems that this is another example of the GQP not paying attention to unintended consequences of their actions. We have multiple volte-faces in GQP legislatures once their theocratic engineering was used against them. We have a potential future example in the Article V convention being pushed by the GQP to put their preferred agenda within Constitutional fortifications.

    Note that the Constitution did not come into force until nine states ratified it, but for practical purposes New York and Virginia were necessary. Any new constitutional hairball barfed up by a GQP convention would likewise require ratification (with the terms defined by that document) and I really don’t see CA, HI, OR, WA, NY going for it at all, and many other states would also not ratify either. That would lead I think to the split into at least 2 countries. CA can handle things on its own (it was briefly independent, and it’s currently the 6th-largest economy in the world and quite diverse). HI used to be its own kingdom, etc., so it’s not a far-fetched concept.

    A GQP nation would not have a real presence in the Pacific (AK is not really viable), and since most of the red states are takers in terms of federal dollars I think there will be some hard times indeed to balance the national budget. At least they’ll have their guns, book burnings, removal of the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments, women in their proper place, immigrants seen and not heard, etc. to soothe their egos.

      • Rugger9 says:

        Let’s also remember that the California Constitution was drafted in the “Legislature of a Thousand Drinks” in San Jose, which seems somehow appropriate.

    • RJames says:

      Any split would lead to “Grapes of Wrath” on steroids for CA. The influx of low-skilled refugees from the mid-west could economically break the state.

      • P J Evans says:

        They’ve been told for years about how bad CA is, how very liberal it is, and the crime and the cost of living – they won’t want to move.

        • RJames says:

          I don’t think the red states would be economically viable if they were on their own. When the residents don’t have enough food to feed their children, they may think differently. There are also a sizable populations of non-MAGAts living in these states. I would guess they will want to leave also.

        • P J Evans says:

          Some would do better if they had a better tax system – when you base everything on sales taxes (or hotel room taxes), you’re pretty limited.

  22. Bay State Librul says:

    Let’s go back to the 1850’s with the “Know Nothing Party”
    A term I dearly love.
    From the history books and winners of 8 electoral votes

    “Fiercely anti-immigration, Know Nothings aimed their wrath at Irish and German migrants, many of whom were Roman Catholic. The Know Nothings would achieve some political success during the mid-term elections of 1854. In the 1856 general election led by former President Millard Fillmore, the party split over the Kansas-Nebraska Act but sill gained 871,731 popular votes and 8 electoral votes.”

  23. The Old Redneck says:

    I wonder if some of Trump’s stooges are now regretting that they kicked Liz Cheney out of their club. She sure seems to know how and when to stick the knife in.

    • Peterr says:


      Let’s start with the sexism, which runs deep among the Trump folks. It’s a rule of the club that comes right from the top. Then there’s the inability to accept criticism, which also comes right from the top.

      Put criticism of Dear Leader together with its source — a Girl! — and of course Trump’s followers make sure it gets ugly really quickly.

      If they don’t, then they are not True Trump Supporters (TM)

  24. outsidethelines says:

    Liz Cheney has put the crime front and center: …those who through their action or inaction….

    Trump, however, did not do this on his own. The scripted response from our security force leaders that “no one could have anticipated…” was a lie. Terrorism dialed up security planning decades ago, and it is inconceivable that those responsible for Capitol Security did not have a contingency plan for an immediate response to an assault on the Capitol Police, particularly given the justifications for what was done previously to peaceful protestors by these agencies and Trump. But what is an insult to our intelligence is that these “Intelligence” agencies leaders’ failure to confess that the reason they stood down and sat on their ass throughout the riot is because they knew not to act. They had been told not to, and they knew that only Trump could change that.

  25. Geoguy says:

    I think Liz Cheney is trying to save the Republican Party from itself but the MAGAdolts are too dumb to see it.

  26. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Those happy-go-lucky pictures of insurrectionists invading the offices of congresscritters (example from EW, below), remind me of the picnic postcards from Jim Crow lynchings. Both groups seem to be acutely aware of the havoc they wreak, and are enjoying the hell out of it. The difference is that on January 6th, they were lynching democracy.

  27. Savage Librarian says:

    Bennie and the Chits

    Oh Bennie, he’s really keen,
    He’s got digital boots, a Cheney suit,
    You know I read it in a MAGAzine,
    B-B-B-Bennie and the chits
    Bennie, Bennie and the chits

    “Bennie And The Jets” (Elton John Tribute) (Live at the 2021 iHeartRadio Music Awards)

  28. Rugger9 says:

    I’m trying to recall how much Ivanka was in the room during the riots. I can’t imagine she’d miss the opportunity to be with her dad while the coup was in progress (if one believes the gossip, Jarvanka ran the WH while the Chiefs of Staff were merely blame repositories) but I don’t remember seeing very much about her role. DJTJr texted to get a statement in the Oval Office (good luck at Xmas, Junior) but neither Eric nor Ivanka have bubbled up in the news too highly until Liz Cheney talked about the Meadows texts. What did she say to Meadows?

    • BobCon says:

      I Alone Can Fix It by Leonnig and Rucker has her enlisted by Meadows to be a “stable pony” to calm down Trump and supposedly worked with Meadows for hours at the White House to get Trump to call off his mob.

      Meadows is widely seen as a major source for the book, and I’d be skeptical of any account which portrays them in such a glowing light. The length of time supposedly she was involved suggests a possible lack of urgency, for example, or an attempt to play both sides, or maybe create plausible deniability. We obviously need more evidence.

    • Fran of the North says:

      Eric is dumbern’a box a rox, and third fiddle, so I’m doubtful he’s got much of a role here, other that blind support for dear old dad.

      Jarvanka on the other hand are probably both in it hip deep.

      Not sure what I saw earlier today, but somebody somewhere said that some texts came into Ivanka, and that her phone should be subpoenaed.

      My fully amateurish guess is that the spawn are in the same category as TFG, don’t indict until you have an iron clad case.

      • Rugger9 says:

        It was also interesting that DJTJr has to go through an intermediary to talk to his Dad, and FWIW I cannot imagine he’s enamored of Jarvanka.

        • vvv says:

          I saw on yahoo where Mary trump said DJTJr could reach his father, he was just too much of a coward to do so.

  29. The Hang Nail says:

    At the very least we have a great counter to the hypothetical 3 AM phone call trope. Trump got the 3 PM phone call and failed to act. Pure incompetence.

      • JamesJoyce says:



        “Instead, he performed evil deeds without evil intentions, a fact connected to his ‘thoughtlessness’, a disengagement from the reality of his evil acts. Eichmann ‘never realised what he was doing’ due to an ‘inability… to think from the standpoint of somebody else’. Lacking this particular cognitive ability, he ‘commit[ted] crimes under circumstances that made it well-nigh impossible for him to know or to feel that he [was] doing wrong”

        What Empathy?.

        Baby seals?

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          I disagree with some of Arendt’s characterization. I think it more likely that Eichmann knew what he did were crimes. The dissociation comes in thinking he would never be liable for them, because he was only following orders. If he was doing the latter, he could never be liable for the former. A lot of people following and enabling Trump – from Trump and his patrons to small fry – have the same mental framework.

        • Rayne says:

          An authoritarian mindset — the authority figure said it was okay, authorized it, therefore it cannot be wrong to have done it.

          Not a far walk from simple toddler/preschooler thinking: Daddy said I could so I did it.

        • skua says:

          Tangent: I think I’ve seen someone arguing that Arendt’s approach to Eichmann paralleled a flawed approached towards what she refered to as Heidegger’s “Nazi phase”.
          Though I am apt to confuse Kant with Nietzsche and may be misrepresenting all.

      • harpie says:

        Ryan Goodman, wrt L. CHENEY’s question:
        10:49 AM · Dec 15, 2021

        Key words: “or inaction”

        “Whether Donald J. Trump, through action or inaction, corruptly sought to obstruct or impede Congress’s official proceeding to count electoral votes” [VIDEO]

        Aligns with crim law prof’s analysis: [link]

        Links to: The Easiest Case for the Prosecution: Trump’s Aiding and Abetting Unlawful Occupation of the Capitol
        Albert W. Alschuler October 25, 2021

        […] Failing to prevent a crime usually does not make someone an accomplice, but it is sufficient when this person had a legal duty to intervene. … The Constitution gave Trump a clear legal duty to intervene. […]

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Reuters misdescribes the reasons for Obama’s dismissal of Flynn as the head of the DIA. It says only that, “the two clashed over the general’s hardline views on countering Islamic extremism.” That’s as accurate as the typical HR rationale that a senior executive left his post “to spend more time with his family.”

      It takes a lot for the Pentagon to let go of a three-star general. It’s even harder to dismiss a senior-level intel personality. But the case against Flynn was broader than a disagreement over policy. “His tenure [at DIA] was a disaster, marred by arrogance, cluelessness, and gross mismanagement.”

      Awarded a third star, Flynn was incompetent in his new role, a loose cannon in and outside the Pentagon. He was insubordinate, and his “management style” was so chaotic, abusive, and sexist, he sent his staff into open revolt. He had poor planning and follow-through. He over-stepped his authority and failed to engage in the networking necessary to get buy-in for it. His later career confirms that assessment, as it does that his ethics and hard rightwing politics are damaging to US national interests.

      • Rayne says:

        I agree that Flynn was cut for reasons far more complicated than his “hardline views on countering Islamic extremism.” But I’m conflicted about that piece you shared — written by John Schindler, and in Kushner-owned Observer.

        Feels like whiplash.

        • Rayne says:

          Putting aside allegations of weenie wagging, it’s difficult for me to trust a guy who’s had a byline at The Federalist though I believe chunks of his critique EoH shared. And then the Observer component: Kushner was supposed to have stepped away, but do we really believe Kushner had no feedback at all about content run in an outlet he owned before January 2017 and about which the public has seen no obvious evidence of ownership transfer apart from “Jared says…”?

          All of it is so sketchy.

        • MB says:

          Schindler’s a bit of a puzzle. He hasn’t published any articles in the Observer since an article about Jeffrey Epstein published on 7/10/19. Kushner put his ownership in the Observer into a blind trust when he got the WH advisor job in November 2016, which was the same time the Observer ceased to be a print publication and became online-only. The publisher of the online version of the Observer is Kushner’s brother-in-law Joseph Meyer. The Observer actually endorsed Trump during the 2016 primaries so it’s curious as to their apparent editorial hands-off employment of Schindler, who was a counterintelligence guy. He was going after Flynn early, before all the QAnon affiliations became known…

        • Rayne says:

          Yeah, it’s like Kushner used a remote control shiv to stick it to Flynn.

          (And how blind is a trust when your brother-in-law takes over…)

        • MB says:

          All of those “crime families” tend to have each other’s backs, I’m sure. One wonders why Schindler stopped publishing in the Observer after mid-2017. Was it a mutual decision? Were they getting annoyed with the tone of his articles? Did Jared nix him from his lofty perch inside the WH with a secret tweet to his bro-in-law? I dunno…

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Agreed. I cited it because of the quote in the second para. and for convenience, because it summarized in one place the work of others, which made those points. Not all the critique came from that single source.

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