Rudy Giuliani Launched a Lynch Mob over a Ginger Mint

I find it harder to describe the details of yesterday’s January 6 Committee hearing, covering pressure Trump put on states to alter the vote, than the earlier hearings. That’s because the testimony about Trump’s bullying of those who upheld democracy — particularly election worker Shaye Moss and Arizona Speaker of the House Rusty Bowers — elicited so much emotion. This is what Trump has turned great swaths of the Republican Party into: bullies attacking those who defend democracy.

Trump’s bullies attacking anyone defending democracy

Bowers described how a mob, including an armed man wearing a 3%er militia patch, came to his house as his daughter fought a terminal illness.

Moss described how a mob descended on her granny’s house, hunting for her and her mother, Ruby Freeman. At least one member of the mob targeting those two Black women who chose to work elections betrayed self-awareness off their regressive stance: Moss testified that one of the threats targeted at her said, “Be glad it’s 2020 and not 1920.”

And Adam Schiff got Moss to explain a detail that formed the core of a video Rudy Giuliani used to summon his mob. Rudy had claimed that when Ms. Freeman passed Shaye something, it was a thumb drive to replace votes.

It was actually a ginger mint.

Schiff: In one of the videos we just watched, Mr. Giuliani accused you and your mother of passing some sort of USB drive to each other. What was your mom actually handing you on that video?

Moss: A ginger mint.

Moss testified that none of the people who had been working with her full time on elections in Fulton County, Georgia are still doing that work. They’ve all been bullied out of working to uphold democracy.

Tying the state violence to the January 6 violence

Early in the hearing, Schiff tied these threats of violence to Stop the Steal, the organization behind the purported speakers that formed the excuse to bring mobs to the January 6 attack. He explained, “As we will show, the President’s supporters heard the former President’s claims of fraud and the false allegations he made against state and local officials as a call to action.” Shortly thereafter, investigative counsel Josh Roselman showed a video from Ali Alexander predicting at a protest in November 2020, “we’ll light the whole shit on fire.”

Much later in the hearing, Schiff tied the takeover of state capitals to the January 6 riot with a picture of Jacob Chansley invading Capitols in both AZ and DC.

Chansley already pled guilty to attempting to obstruct the vote certification, and one of the overt acts he took was to leave Mike Pence this threatening note on the dais.

So one thing the hearing yesterday did was to tie the threats of violence in the states to the expressions of violence on January 6.

Showing obstruction of the vote certification, including documents

A second video described the fake electors scheme, developing several pieces of evidence that may help DOJ tie all this together in conspiracy charges.

The video included testimony from Ronna McDaniel acknowledging the RNC’s involvement. (Remember that McDaniel joined in the effort to censure Liz Cheney when she learned the committee had subpoenaed Kathy Berden, the lead Michigander on that fake certificate; Berden has close ties to McDaniel.)

Essentially he turned the call over to Mr. Eastman who then proceeded to talk about the importance of the RNC helping the campaign gather these contingent electors in case any of the legal challenges that were ongoing changed the result of any of the states. I think more just helping them reach out and assemble them. But the — my understanding is the campaign did take the lead and we just were … helping them in that role.

The video also cited Trump’s own campaign lawyers (including Justin Clark, who represented Trump in conjunction with Steve Bannon’s refusal to testify) describing that they didn’t believe the fake electors scheme was prudent if the campaign no longer had legal challenges in a given state.

In a videotaped deposition, former campaign staffer Robert Sinners described himself and other workers as, “useful idiots or rubes at that point.” When ask how he felt upon learning that Clark and Matt Morgan and other lawyers had concerns about the fake electors, Sinners explained, “I’m angry because I think in a sense, no one really cared if … if people were potentially putting themselves in jeopardy.” He went on, “I absolutely would not have” continued to participate, “had I known that the three main lawyers for the campaign that I’ve spoken to in the past and leading up were not on board.”

And electors in individual states claimed to have been duped into participating, too. Wisconsin Republican Party Chair Andrew Hitt described that, “I was told that these would only count if a court ruled in our favor.” So using them as an excuse to make challenges on January 6, “would have been using our electors, well, it would have been using our electors in ways that we weren’t told about and we wouldn’t have supported.”

In the wake of yesterday’s hearing, one of MI’s fake electors, Michele Lundgren, texted reporters to claim that they had not been permitted to read the first page of the form they signed, which made the false claims.

As the video showed the fake certificates next to the real ones, Investigative Counsel Casey Lucier explained that,

At the request of the Trump campaign, the electors from these battleground states signed documents falsely asserting that they were the duly elected electors from their state, and submitted them to the National Archives and to Vice President Pence in his capacity as President of the Senate.


But these ballots had no legal effect. In an email produced to the Select Committee, Dr. Eastman told a Trump campaign representative [Boris Epshteyn] that it did not matter that the electors had not been approved by a state authority. Quote, the fact that we have multiple slates of electors demonstrates the uncertainty of either. That should be enough. He urged that Pence act boldly and be challenged.

Documents produced to the Select Committee show that the Trump campaign took steps to ensure that the physical copies of the fake electors’ electoral votes from two states were delivered to Washington for January 6. Text messages exchanged between Republican Party officials in Wisconsin show that on January 4, the Trump campaign asked for someone to fly their fake electors documents to Washington.

A staffer for Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson texted a staffer for Vice President Pence just minutes before the beginning of the Joint Session. This staffer stated that Senator Johnson wished to hand deliver to the Vice President the fake electors votes from Michigan and Wisconsin. The Vice President’s aide unambiguously instructed them not to deliver the fake votes to the Vice President.

Lucier made it clear, though, that these fake electors were delivered to both Congress (Johnson) and the Executive Branch (the Archives).

This video lays out critical steps in a conspiracy to obstruct the vote certification, one that — because it involves a corrupt act with respect to fraudulent documents — would even meet Judge Carl Nichols’ standard for obstruction under 18 USC 1512(c)(2).

The Court therefore concludes that § 1512(c)(2) must be interpreted as limited by subsection (c)(1), and thus requires that the defendant have taken some action with respect to a document, record, or other object in order to corruptly obstruct, impede or influence an official proceeding.

Understand, many of these people are awful and complicit (and bmaz will surely be by shortly to talk about what an asshole Rusty Bowers is). But with respect to the fake electors scheme, the Committee has teed up a parade of witnesses who recognize their own criminal exposure, and who are, as a result, already rushing to blame Trump for all of it. We know DOJ has been subpoenaing them for evidence about the lawyers involved — not just Rudy and Eastman, but also Justin Clark.

DOJ has also been asking about Boris Epshteyn. He showed up as the recipient of an email from Eastman explaining that it didn’t matter that the electors had no legal legitimacy.

As Kyle Cheney noted, the Committee released that email last month, albeit with Epshteyn’s name redacted.

The Republican Party has not just an incentive, but a existential need at this point, to blame Trump’s people for all of this, and it may do wonders not just for obtaining cooperative and cooperating witnesses, but also to change how Republicans view the January 6 investigation.

Exposing Pat Cipollone’s exceptional unwillingness to testify

Liz Cheney continued to use the hearings to shame those who aren’t cooperating with the Committee. In her opening statement, she played the video of Gabriel Sterling warning of violence, where he said, “All of you who have not said a damn word [about the threats and false claims] are complicit in this.”

Then after Schiff talked about the threat to democracy in his closing statement …

We have been blessed beyond measure to live in the world’s greatest democracy. That is a legacy to be proud of and to cherish. But it is not one to be taken for granted. That we have lived in a democracy for more than 200 years does not mean we shall do so tomorrow. We must reject violence. We must embrace our Constitution with the reverence it deserves, take our oath of office and duties as citizens seriously, informed by the knowledge of right and wrong and armed with no more than the power of our ideas and the truth, carry on this venerable experiment in self-governance.

Cheney focused on the important part played by witnesses who did what they needed to guard the Constitution, twice invoking God.

We’ve been reminded that we’re a nation of laws and we’ve been reminded by you and by Speaker Bowers and Secretary of State Raffensperger, Mr. Sterling, that our institutions don’t defend themselves. Individuals do that. And we’ve [been] reminded that it takes public servants. It takes people who have made a commitment to our system to defend our system. We have also been reminded what it means to take an oath, under God, to the Constitution. What it means to defend the Constitution. And we were reminded by Speaker Bowers that our Constitution is indeed a divinely inspired document.

That set up a marked contrast with the list of scofflaws who’ve obstructed the Committee.

To date more than 30 witnesses called before this Committee have not done what you’ve done but have invoked their Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination. Roger Stone took the Fifth. General Michael Flynn took the Fifth. John Eastman took the Fifth. Others like Steve Bannon and Peter Navarro simply refused to comply with lawful subpoenas. And they have been indicted. Mark Meadows has hidden behind President Trump’s claims of Executive Privilege and immunity from subpoena. We’re engaged now in litigation with Mr. Meadows.

Having set up that contrast, Congresswoman Cheney then spent the entire rest of her closing statement shaming Pat Cipollone for refusing thus far to testify.

The American people in our hearings have heard from Bill Barr, Jeff Rosen, Richard Donoghue, and many others who stood up and did what is right. And they will hear more of that testimony soon.

But the American people have not yet heard from Mr. Trump’s former White House counsel, Pat Cipollone. Our Committee is certain that Donald Trump does not want Mr. Cipollone to testify here. Indeed, our evidence shows that Mr. Cipollone and his office tried to do what was right. They tried to stop a number of President Trump’s plans for January 6.

Today and in our coming hearings, you will hear testimony from other Trump White House staff explaining what Mr. Cipollone said and did, including on January 6.

But we think the American people deserve to hear from Mr. Cipollone personally. He should appear before this Committee. And we are working to secure his testimony.

In the wake of this, someone “close to Cipollone” ran to Maggie Haberman and sold her a bullshit story, which she dutifully parroted uncritically.

Cheney had just laid out that the “institutional concerns” had been waived by other lawyers (and were, legally, in the case of Bill Clinton). And any privilege issue went out the window when Sean Hannity learned of the White House Counsel complaints. Plus, White House Counsel lawyer Eric Herschmann has testified at length, including about matters — such as the call Trump made to Vice President Pence shortly before the riot — involving Trump personally.

Given Cheney’s invocation of those who pled the Fifth, I wonder she suspects that Cipollone’s reluctance has less to do with his claimed excuses, and more to do with a concern that he has personal exposure.

He may! After all, he presided over Trump’s use of pardons to pay off several key players in the insurrection, including three of the people Cheney invoked to set up this contrast: Flynn, Stone, and Bannon (though I suspect Cipollone had checked out before the last of them). And these pardons — and the role of pardons in the planning for January 6 more broadly — may expose those involved, potentially including Cipollone, in the conspiracy.

Whether or not Cheney shames Cipollone into testifying, including with her appeal to religion, he may not have the same luxury of refusing when DOJ comes calling.

172 replies
  1. Peterr says:

    In a videotaped deposition, former campaign staffer Robert Sinners described himself and other workers as, “useful idiots or rubes at that point.” When ask how he felt upon learning that Clark and Matt Morgan and other lawyers had concerns about the fake electors, Sinners explained, “I’m angry because I think in a sense, no one really cared if … if people were potentially putting themselves in jeopardy.” He went on, “I absolutely would not have” continued to participate, “had I known that the three main lawyers for the campaign that I’ve spoken to in the past and leading up were not on board.”

    Joe Scarborough and George Conway were into their big “forgive and forget” mode, praising those who criticized and stood up to Trump privately and attacking those (like me) who want them held accountable for their public silence. Give me a break.

    This paragraph sums up in a nutshell why this mindset is dangerous. It’s yet another reason not to give folks like Barr all kinds of uncritical praise. Yes, Barr (unlike Cippilone) eventually came forward to the J6 committee and testified about standing up to Trump. But the absence of making a public statement *at the time* means that others continued to assume that he was still all in for Team Trump and the Big Steal.

    At least until he could sell his book.

    • Ravenclaw says:

      I find it interesting that he used the term “useful idiot,” which I think is a loose translation of a technical term in Russian intelligence jargon for a certain kind of recruited asset. (The term has been applied to Rump by those who suspect him of long-standing cooperation with their intelligence services.)

      It does look like some of the players in the grand conspiracy are trying to find off-ramps from the foundering ship. How much culpability they can escape with pleas like “they didn’t tell me, a lawyer, that what we were doing was legally dicey at best” or “I didn’t read the legal document we submitted to Congress and the National Archives before I signed it” remains to be seen. Even “useful idiots” agree to engage in criminal or seditious conspiracies, even if they think the planned outcome is something other than what it really is. (Like “they want me to be President because I’ll be a strong ally” vs. “they want to use my toxic personality to undermine American democracy and unity.)

      • Fraud Guy says:

        IIRC, the learned ones here who have discussed the potential conspiracy charges have pointed out that being part of the conspiracy, regardless if one knew of all the actions of all the participants, and even if one didn’t know of some of the illegal actions, puts one on the hook for them. That’s why Marcy was waiting, with bated breath, for the seditious conspiracy charges against the militias, because that can tie all of the leaders in to the physical actions, in addition to their (il)legal maneuvers.

        • emptywheel says:

          Oh, I don’t think I was waiting.

          So long as the obstruction charges hold (DOJ just appealed Nichols’ adverse ruling yesterday), that may be a better vehicle to get everyone in a conspiracy.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      No one, high or low, who worked for Trump was a useful idiot. They enabled and were participants in his crimes and frauds, his malfeasance, gross incompetence, and cruelty.

      • Purple Martin says:

        A few years ago I put together a “Taxonomy of People Willing to Work for Trump.” I’ll spare you the detailed descriptions, but (updated) Categories and representative examples are:

        1) CULT OF TRUMP:
        Former Trump body man, Director of the White House Presidential Personnel Office Johnny McEntee; Seditionist Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Clark.
        2) DIM & DISGRACEFUL (name credit to Max Boot):
        Fired-for-cause-from-previous-jobs White House Director of Communications/Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham; resume-padding Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliff.
        Creator of alternative facts Senior Presidential Advisor, Kellyanne Conway; Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnaney.
        Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross; Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin (also, any number of hangers-on to various Trump 2nd and 3rd-ring functionaries/family members).
        Former industry lobbyists EPA Director Andrew Wheeler (coal producer Murray Energy) and Defense Secretary Mike Esper (Raytheon).
        6) TRUE BELIEVER (holy mission):
        Attorney General Bob Barr (Theocratic Authoritarian Police State); Senior Presidential Advisor Stephen Miller (White Nationalism/Brown People Xenophobia); National Security Advisor John Bolton (Global Domination).

        And that is what Trumpists want back.

        Of course, others mix two or more (Cult Member/Grifter/True Believer Education Secretary Betsy DeVos). (Permanent) Acting White House Chief of Staff/Dead Man Walking Mick Mulvaney was a unique case—a combination of all six. There was once a seventh category—ADULT DAY-CARE SUPERVISOR—but none lasted (Mattis, Cohn, Tillerson, Kelly, McMasters, Coates).

        *btw, I don’t include non-Trumpparatchik career government professionals here—don’t blame people for hunkering down and trying to hold on to their careers, continually muttering ‘this too shall pass,’ while trying to do no harm and slow-walk the worst things that come to their desks.

        • Purple Martin says:

          Thinks he’s brighter than he really is, and in it for what he can get out of it. Combo of:

          2) DIM & DISGRACEFUL. People in way over their heads. Either lack qualifications or intelligence (or both) for the level of job Trump gave them; or do have what once would have been disqualifying incidents in their backgrounds.
          4) STRAIGHT GRIFTER. Use Trump to extract money/future value.

      • rip says:

        Simplistically, does that mean that each and every one of us should be careful (and vet) those who we may work for?

        If we’re not willing to do our own personal diligence, than we are setting ourselves up for possible liability.

        • eyesoars says:

          I know of nothing that has saved me more trouble or caused me more grief than vetting or failing to vet my employer and immediate superior.

      • Robb Rogers says:

        ‘Anyone who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities’

      • grennan says:

        Unfortunately, too many people thought of *Trump* as the “useful idiot”. McConnell. Barr. Meadows. Many of his permanent and acting Cabinet officials. Probably Jared and Ivanka. Possibly Putin. The list goes on.

    • Einlalaland says:

      Arguably, Barr’s public statement at the time was his fawning resignation letter, which indicated that the election fraud would continue to be pursued. So yeah, not a lot of integrity, and talk about Bullshit.

    • Lady4Real says:

      Honestly, as a Notary Public who swore an oath to uphold the constitution (I’m a nobody in the larger scheme of swearing The Oath), I have no legal right to sign a legal document (using my name or seal or both) without being 100% certain it (my signature) will not be used for a purpose that goes against the laws of these United States and/or beyond my authority.

      These very consequential people on the other hand, ought to be held to an even higher standard. Therefore, they should own the consequences for allowing their names and seals of their states to be used to defraud The People of the USA. They’re not more or less special nor responsible than the people they represent.

      • Lady4Real says:

        There’s more fraudsters who attended law school:

        FBI agents conducted court authorized law enforcement activity Wednesday morning at two locations, FBI officials confirmed to The Washington Post. One was the home of Brad Carver, a Georgia lawyer who allegedly signed a document claiming to be a Trump elector. The other was the Virginia home of Thomas Lane, who worked on the Trump campaign’s efforts in Arizona and New Mexico.

      • timbo says:

        Perhaps if Barr’d been looking into Twitler’s fake elector scheme with more vigor he might have found some right away?

  2. Doctor My Eyes says:

    This is a shout out to the documentarian we have heard the J6 committee hired. I have watched a lot of documentaries in my lifetime. I wasn’t thinking about the production during the hearings, but a couple of hours afterward it occurred to me that this hearing had the same effect on me as an excellent documentary. I felt deeply informed about an issue in a way mere writing can never get across, and I felt the truth on both the intellectual and the gut level. I think this is because the documentarian knew how to present this evidence. I hadn’t been thinking about the choice of shots–when to show the committee room in full, when to show the congresspeople, when to show the witnesses, when to cut to video presentations, but based on the results, I’m thinking it was all precisely choreographed. Well done. I’ll be consumed by this for days. In the end for me, it was deeply, deeply disturbing.

    • LizzyMom says:

      I agree. The narrated film docs provide an excellent overview of background material and set the stage for the testimony being delivered by the witnesses by providing the context necessary to fully understand the import of what the witnesses are telling us. This is an incredibly effective way of helping people (especially the non-junkies) get a real feel for the complexity of the situation. In particular, seeing the threads of the conspiracy starting weeks or months in advance of Jan 6 is as enlightening as it is shocking and appalling.

      This was an excellent move on the part of the committee. (I also like the fact that they have had the young researchers doing the narration.)

    • emptywheel says:

      Agree. And one minor thing that I’ve found really effective is that the camera angle is ALWAYS different for each of the witnesses (there were even two cameras in Barr’s deposition, or perhaps different angles for both his appearances). That makes it feel more “live,” except in Jared and Ivanka’s case, where the frame of their videos make it look like police lineups.

      • Rayne says:

        I wondered about the decision to video Barr from an angle looking down on him rather than from the side. He looks small which feels deliberate. Delicious.

        • Rayne says:

          The way he sprawled back in his chair was an expression of power, too. But looking down on him with what I believe are his attorneys at his side, he looks small and his disrespect for the interrogation process expressed with his entire body looks pathetic.

        • emptywheel says:

          That’s what I was talking about. Manspreading. Wouldn’t want to sit next to the man on a plane. Even ignoring I’d get into a screaming fight with him.

        • Rayne says:

          LOL we have slightly different definitions of ‘manspreading’. His leaned-back upper body sprawl is classic Big Ape Taking Up Room To Look More Powerful (wish I could remember where I read about this – Desmond Morris?) combined with childish human element, You Can’t Make Me Do This I Don’t Wanna. I’m sure there’s what I think of as manspreading below the table, the Look My Massive Balls Need Air Or I Can’t Think. Definitely merits the sharp ‘accidental’ elbow of disapproval in shared public space.

        • emptywheel says:

          Ah. Okay. He’s doubly guilty then.

          Yick. His body language is as bad as the rest of him.

        • P J Evans says:

          My sis-in-law has used that lean-back position in meetings. She says it’s effective in getting people to pay attention to her. (Doesn’t hurt that she’s also about 5ft8.)

        • Ginevra diBenci says:

          OMG, Rayne, did you *have to* make me picture the Barr-balls?!?

          And when I say picture, I mean with every sense. Except maybe sound.

        • rip says:

          You’re sort of fat-shaming Billie Barr. Big thighed men need to have an expansive range. I won’t say anything about protecting mushrooms, etc.

        • grennan says:

          Lest we forget, one of Barr’s immediate predecessors was acting AG Matthew Whitaker, whose most recent venture had been trying to sell his ‘Big Guy’ toilet seats.

    • Tom says:

      The two to two-and-a-half hour length of each hearing (about the average length of a movie these days) is time enough to provide lots of detailed information to viewers/listeners but not so much that they can’t absorb it all. At the end of each hearing you’re left ready and waiting to learn more from the next one. At least, that’s been my reaction.

  3. Jenny says:

    “I don’t want to be a winner by cheating.” Rusty Bowers, Republican Speaker of the Arizona House testified at hearing reading from his diary.

    • bmaz says:

      Bowers is an absolutely horrible wretch. This is the only decent thing I have ever seen. Don’t make a hero out of that jerk, his policies are crippling Arizona.

        • bmaz says:

          Lol, I could have written a whole post on that guy. He is not a good one. I feel seen! In fairness, I had already started many hours ago in the hearing thread.

        • emptywheel says:

          In fact, I DID see you complaining. So I was guaranteed to be right.

          But I figured even last night we’d get an earful about him.

          That’s alright! We really need to find a posture where we can vehemently disagree with these people (as I do with Mike Shirkey here in MI) but be grateful they gave democracy one more chance in 2021.

        • Coffae says:

          Every time these guys admitted to voting for Trump, I was hoping someone (in the committee or a reporter) would ask a silly thing of them, “Would they still vote for him (or one of his minions) if he were to run again?”

        • Rugger9 says:

          Aw, c’mon, do a whole post. It will be cathartic and remind us that these aren’t angels or heroes. It’s more like they were cornered into behaving rationally.

          Now, if Brnovich testifies, I think that will be something to see (or Ward or Fann). Still not angelic.

        • rip says:

          Ditto your suggestion about a post on Bowers. He’s one hell of a conflicted character.

          But maybe just because of this, perhaps he should be left in peace – as much as possible.

        • Kathleen says:

          BMaz hope you write a whole post about Bowers. He had me convinced that he is an honorable Republican patriot. He was shaking from his core. Trump and his thugs clearly focused hard on breaking people. Seemed authentic. He convinced me he was so committed to upholding his oath to the constitution, whatever that exactly means.

          Polar opposite discussions going on in the main stream media about whether the characters “Trump fascist” as Joe Scarborough calls them, who tried like hell to help overthrow the election and people like Bowers who sounds as if he helped lay the groundwork for Trump and his thugs believing they could get away with stealing the election. Whether people who helped lay the ground work for the insurrectionist some are now having “death bed conversions ” in some ways.

          Reid, Jason Johnson, Chris Hayes etc hammering on those who have gone along with Trump (Barr etc) now trying to clean their twisted records up.

          This morning (Wed) Scarborough, Conway, Elise Jordan essentially saying we should celebrate people’s “come to Jesus” (yes they said things like this, this morning) shifting stances. Conway said we should not “hammer” those who went along that are now coming out.. Where Reid, Jason Johnson, Hayes support calling out those who have been complicit and not allow them to try to hide what they have already done.

          I am totally on the bus of people with calling them out, while acknowledging they finally decided to do the right thing.mostly to save their own asses

        • Lester Noyes says:

          I hope that at least one or two of them go down the Jennifer Rubin [Washington Post] path. She definitely USED to be a conservative Republican but you wouldn’t know it now – she hates Trump and all his enablers & apologists.

        • Makeitso says:

          He told the AP he would vote for Trump in 24 if Trump ran. He is no hero. He is only upset there wasn’t enough “evidence’ to complete the coup.

        • Kathleen says:

          Yes aware of what Bower has said about being willing to vote for Trump again. Sad and shocking that he or anyone else who has witnessed and experienced the ruthless ways of Trump and his thugs up close would spend any time even considering that they would vote for Trump again, let alone do it. Gets close to being diagnosed as a mental illness.

        • bmaz says:

          It is not just Trump. Bowers is a religious zealot fascist and Trumps policies are good for that irrespective of the 1/6 insurrection.

        • rattlemullet says:

          As well as he should! Did I read he would vote for him in 2024, puts him in the same league a Ted Cruz and that is about as low in life as you can possibly go. The trump scum terrorized his family as his daughter lay dying. I will never understand how anyone could support trump, he is the epitome of the worst in humanity!

      • Raven Eye says:

        Perhaps a little bit of: “I’ve got my own plans for Arizona. The LAST thing I need is some smart-ass lawyer from New–York–City coming down here messing things up.”

      • Bittersweet says:

        So, did Bowers testify in order to try and redeem himself, not from MAGA sins, but rather to ‘splain to the MAGAs that his “deeply held faith in God” just barely beat out his deeply held love for His Lordship Trump, (whom he would still vote for). If ONLY, Rudy had given the “list of names” to him he would have done as he was told. Please, please don’t continue to demonize me, and terrorize my home. After all, I believe in God! (Besides,…I’m white)
        He wasn’t testifying to do a good thing for the Democracy, rather he was defending his “regrettable” decision to not put himself in legal jeopardy for TFG.

        • bmaz says:

          Hey girl, how you guys been?!? I don’t know. Just know Bowers overall is not a good guy. There are people all over the state here saying the same thing last night and today.

      • Greg Hunter says:

        Rusty Bowers and Bill Barr are both doing “gods work” but each come from a different tradition and different power structure. A devout Catholic’s belief that they are the older tradition and have power far beyond the Constitution. This crew will lie and justify anything to fulfill their idea of god.

        The Protestant/Evangelical/LDS tradition has the same mentality but they realize that only the freedoms that the Constitution guarantees enabled them to “have the freedom” to be as powerfully anti progressive as the Catholics.

        LDS/Evangelicals may get a little nervous with so many Catholics on the SCOTUS. Once this crew has set the pin toward Christianity, they will soon start parsing the “faithful”.

        Catholicism is a top down religion, while the LDS/Evangelical is a bottom up. Catholics are told what the bible means, while LDS/Evangelicals are encouraged to read and interpret the bible themselves. IMHO this creates a different mindset in the believers.

    • Fraud Guy says:

      Gerrymandering, voter suppression, and dark money are fine; I just draw the line at cheating!

    • Hoping4Better_Times says:

      Bowers has said he would vote for trump again. Huh? If he has all these high moral principles, how can he vote (again) for an amoral liar who plotted a coup?

      • punaise says:

        from a comment at TPM:

        The question I had yesterday about what Arizona Rusty Bowers would do now that he’s seen how crass and criminal Republicans can be seems to have an answer:

        A quote from today’s Guardian newspaper:

        “If he is the nominee, if he was up against Biden, I’d vote for him again,” Bowers told the Associated Press in an interview. 1 “Simply because what he did the first time, before Covid, was so good for the county. In my view it was great.”

        • punaise says:

          …and don’t get me started on how people use “faith” to very different / contradictory ends, based on situational morals/ethics.

        • Molly Pitcher says:

          Regarding his tremulous comment about the Constitution being the work of God, I checked and Bowers is LDS. So, yes, in that faith the US Constitution is a gift from God. If he hadn’t upheld the Constitution over TFG, he was in danger of being called before a counsel of Elders (assuming he is not one himself) and being put on double secret probation for eternity.

        • bmaz says:

          Dunno if he is an elder, but a forever Mormon. Even left home in Mesa to go to BYU, before coming back.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Stopped clocks are right twice a day, too, but they still don’t reliably tell time.

  4. wetzel says:

    I read this which you wrote. The Republican Party has not just an incentive, but a existential need at this point, to blame Trump’s people for all of this. I am thinking we will let them do this, scapegoat Trump, Eastman, Guiliani, etc, because we still have to live in the same country with these people.

    One thing I am taking away from the hearings is that the only Republicans able to resist Trump’s were those who could see they were being hung out because their office had staff legal services. The Republican Party is already operating sociologically like a fascist society. The campaign staffers say they were ‘just following orders’.

    • Ruthie says:

      Allowing the Republican Party to distance itself from J6 will be difficult given how many members of Congress supported the attempt, with 147 voting to overturn the election results even after the insurrection.

      While I accept that conservatives need a way out the MAGA cult, I’m not convinced that’s possible without more turmoil. The Frankenstein’s monster of the Republican base is on the rampage; they’re driving the fascist turn of their party as much as, if not more than, its leaders. McCarthy and McConnell both spoke out against J6 initially only to backtrack when it became clear that apostasy wouldn’t be tolerated.

      It’s not enough to scapegoat the leaders of the coup plot. The fascistic leanings of the Republican Party and it’s base needs to be laid bare, and discredited so thoroughly that Ron DeSantis or his like can’t just slide into the Trump-shaped hole.

  5. Feminist homemaker says:

    Bowers, in an interview with AP on Monday, the day before his testimony, said he would still vote for Trump! He, like so many other Trump fans, have a deep need to shield Trump from blame, only the supporters did bad, apparently. That is not a trustworthy, reasonable person. Such a huge disappointment, made more so by how desperate many of us are to see evidence of reasonableness and decency among those on the other political side. I wonder if he would say the same now after having sat next to Raffensburger and heard the replay of Trump on that call, and after the testimonies of Lady Ruby and Shaye Moss and Gabriel Sterling. It seems Bowers thinks Trump had no duty himself to send the evidence to him when Giuliani did not nor the duty to speak out against the violence of his supporters as Sterling asked him to do! Nothing decent about those thoughts.

    • Carolyn says:

      Thanks for this attempt to explain how politicians like Bowers, who have been so abused at the hands of Trump and his minions, can still defend their vote for him in 2020 and/or can see themselves voting GOP or even MAGA in 2024. I wondered about Raffensperger in this regard too and if he addressed the subject in his book.

      I don’t know if it will ever make sense except that the supposed old guard GOPers are a cult almost to the extent as is MAGA. They have indoctrinated themselves since repeal of the fairness doctrine in 1987 with RW media, but also seem to have a tolerance for political violence that runs counter to any appreciation for a functional democracy and society.

  6. Badger Robert says:

    John Dean pled guilty and did time. That is what decency requires. Anyone still pretending it was all just a game is still part of the conspiracy.

    • bmaz says:

      Meh, John Dean was in on all the criming until they all got caught, then immediately turned into a snitch to save his own ass, and has made huge bank ever since off of doing so. His “decency” saved him major prison time and made him fabulously wealthy.

        • bmaz says:

          No, I have always thought Dean was a dubious piece of work and not really the “hero” he has made himself out to be.

        • Kathleen says:

          Going to be interesting to see how successful the Trump devotees will be at rebranding themselves. aWho in the mainstream media will allow them to do so.

          So many Iraq war hawks (Kristol etc) have been successful at rebranding themselves on MSNBC. So many host on MSNBC have completely gone along with the spin.

        • MB says:

          Is the source of that 70,000 number representative only of cable broadcast numbers?

          Lots of people have cut the cord from cable and watch MSNBC clips on YouTube and the view numbers on YT are much higher. For example, here are the numbers for the most-watched clips for each name-brand show yesterday (6/22):

          Morning Joe: 486,000
          Deadline: 686,000
          The Beat: 616,000
          All In: 65,000
          Mehdi Hassan Show: 91,000
          Reidout: 399,000
          Last Word: 92,000
          11th Hour: 144,000
          Rachel Maddow: 321,000

          I’m sure these numbers don’t hold a candle to CNN and Fox numbers or make much of a difference as to their overall “influence”…

        • bmaz says:

          Oops, that was only as to the key 25-54 demographic. I still maintain they are not influencing squat.

        • Kathleen says:

          “Going to be interesting to see how successful the Trump devotees will be at rebranding themselves. Who in the mainstream media will allow them to do so”

          This question referring to all in MSM. New York Times, WaPo, CNN, Fox etc etc. Who will allow the efforts to rebrand (those who went along with Trump for so long Barr etc) through without questions?

          Only used MSNBC as an example of promoting Iraq war hawks as analyst etc without question.

        • bmaz says:

          Dean only “flipped” to save his own ass, not out of decency.

          Honestly were I his atty back then, I’d have told him to be the early bird getting the worm too. But that is not particularly heroic.

        • Alan Charbonneau says:

          Yep, not a hero.

          FYI-Today is supposed to be the day for Sidney Powell’s disbarment hearing. I don’t see any news about it in the last few days, but Reuters a week ago (June 15) had this news release:

          Pro-Trump lawyer Powell has called bar’s case “baseless”
          Hearing set for June 22 in Dallas state court
          Bar’s case among several against lawyers who challenged 2020 election

          I’m surprised there is no recent news, not about the hearing or if it was postponed or anything.

          https://www.reuters (dot) com/legal/legalindustry/texas-bar-fights-sidney-powells-bid-toss-ethics-case-2022-06-15/

        • bmaz says:

          Bars do not always make any of this easily public, but you’d think somebody was following up.

        • bmaz says:

          I dunno about TX, but that doesn’t sound right. Wonder if there were preliminary findings and that is an appeal? Never heard of a jury trial on a bar complaint in the first instance. Of course, this is Texas, so who knows. Thanks!

      • Peterr says:

        And he also enjoyed a great Christmas feast while in custody:

        Christmas Eve, 1974

        Holabird was astir on Christmas Eve. Our top hit man was baking cookies and bread; he had learned the skill in another prison. A multimillionaire heroin dealer from South America was in charge of preparing a turkey dinner for about two thirds of the principals. A spirited and talented Italian crew of Mafia men was busy preparing a lasagna feast for the others, who planned to eat a separate Italian Christmas dinner in the ping-pong room, which they had decorated by draping sheets over the table and the holes in the walls. I helped decorate the tree in the main dining area, picking up an extra chore when one of the Latin heroin traffickers couldn’t read the instructions on how to put up the cardboard angels.

        (From the revised edition of Blind Ambition)

        • Peterr says:

          Note that this was at a government “safe house,” and all these folks but John (who had been convicted by then) were in government protection to keep them safe while they were spilling their guts to the FBI.

          First time I read this, I laughed by head off at my imagined parallels with Arlo Guthrie’s “Alice’s Restaurant” where Our Hero goes over to the Group W bench where those rejected by the draft board were sent – the killers and rapists and others who were not moral enough to go kill women and children in Vietnam . . . .

          Mafioso (pointing to each resident in turn): He’s in for distributing hundreds of millions of dollars worth of heroin, he’s a hit man with a LOT of experience, I handled the protection rackets for more than two decades, and these guys were my very persuasive compatriots who deal with the customer service end of things. What are you in for?

          Dean: Covering up a third rate burglary . . .

        • Fraud Guy says:

          …and they all moved away from me in the dining room.

          Dean: “And obstruction of justice.”

          And they all came back, shook my hand, and we had a great time at the dinner…

      • grennan says:

        His bucks also come from the settlement he and the publishers of “Silent Coup” agreed to out of court.

        Those in college during the Nixon administration may remember the lucrative bar bet: “Who’s older, John Dean or Mick Jagger?”

  7. Pete T says:

    Would somebody explain to me how you pass a USB port around? Generally they are are attached to larger computers or maybe hubs. Not only is Giuliani a criminal he’s a moronic criminal, but we already knew that. He just keeps proving it.

  8. S.Chepaitis says:

    In 2012 the Arizona State legislature sued the people of Arizona with the intent of dismantling the independent redistricting commission which had been enacted by ballot initiative in 2000. I have been very interested in this case due to my involvement in trying to reform PA’s redistricting process. PA, by the way, has no provision for a citizen ballot initiative.

    The AZ case has always struck me as one of the most dastardly acts that a state legislature could commit, actively attacking the very people they are elected to represent. SCOTUS ultimately dismissed their suit, ruling that the people are the legislature and the actual legislative body simply represents them (this would not have been the result today). I was especially disturbed by Scalia’s dissent in the case as he, in very fascistic language, asserted that the people of the state had no right to challenge the elected legislature’s authority.

    Since I am not an Arizonan, I am wondering what, if any, involvement Mr. Bowers would have had in this case. I cannot imagine that he supported the people’s will over that of his own party, but if anyone has insight on this, I would appreciate hearing it. Thanks

  9. harpie says:

    SCHIFF: Mr. Bowers, I understand that after the election — and I don’t know whether this is the conversation the former President is referring to [in TRUMP’s new “statement”] — but after the election you received a phone call from President Trump and Rudy Giuliani in which they discussed the result of the Presidential election in Arizona. If you would, tell us about that call and whether the former President or Mr. Giuliani raised allegations of election fraud. […]

    According to BOWERS, this phone call took place “on a Sunday”.
    The first SUNDAY after the election was 11/8/20, then 11/15/20, etc.

    […] SCHIFF: And what was [GIULIANI’s] second ask?
    BOWERS: I — I said to what end? To what end the hearing? He said, well, we have heard by an official high up in the Republican legislature that there is a legal theory or a legal ability in Arizona that you can remove the — the electors of President Biden and replace them. And we would — we would like to have the legitimate opportunity through the committee to come to that end and — and remove that. And I said that’s — that’s something I’ve — that’s totally new to me. I’ve never heard of any such thing. And he pressed that point. And I said, look, you are asking me to do something that is counter to my oath when I swore to the Constitution to uphold it, and I also swore to the Constitution and the laws of the state of Arizona. […]

    In light of that, I was reminded of this:
    Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court justice, pressed Ariz. lawmakers to help reverse Trump’s loss, emails show Emma Brown May 20, 2022

    […] The emails, sent by Ginni Thomas to a pair of lawmakers [BOWERS and BOLICK] on Nov. 9, 2020, argued that legislators needed to intervene because the vote had been marred by fraud. […] Thomas urged the lawmakers to “stand strong in the face of political and media pressure.” She told the lawmakers the responsibility to choose electors was “yours and yours alone” and said they have “power to fight back against fraud.”

  10. earlofhuntingdon says:

    John Eastman argued that it didn’t matter whether the fake electors were legit – in fact, they were ginned up by Trump supporters outside of the vote certification process. Their mere existence, Eastman argued, was sufficient to create a “legitimate” question about the real vote tally and, therefore, to not include them until further notice.

    Makes me wonder if Eastman was the author of Trump’s extortion of Ukraine, which was to withhold authorized aid until it launched a fake investigation of Hunter Biden, just for the headlines. Makes me wonder, too, why it’s taken California more than ten months to disbar him.

    • P J Evans says:

      Eastman sounds like he went to FB School of Law. (I know he didn’t, but that’s the level of reasoning here: fake electoral votes to create a “question” about the election.)

    • gulageten says:

      That is plausible, especially if my memory is correct that he also authored the birther piece re. VP (candidate) Harris in Newsweek.

      • Ginevra diBenci says:

        He did. It was his Trump audition piece, like Barr’s theory of executive powers re: “Russia Hoax.”

  11. punaise says:

    I rarely frequent (it’s kind of a mess of a site), but they have some good writers. Of course, there is dear Digby, who cross-posts her feature pieces at Hullaballoo.

    Beyond Jan. 6: Trump’s mob violence is now the standard GOP model
    Trump encouraged his followers to use threats and intimidation to force political acquiescence over democracy

    Also, Amanda Marcotte:

    The Big Lie was Always about racism

    Shaye Moss’ ordeal and the Texas GOP platform: Trump’s Big Lie was always about white supremacy
    The Big Lie, like Trump’s birtherism, reflects his refusal to accept that people of color are legitimate Americans

    “… it was painfully obvious. Trump and Giuliani wanted their victims to be Black women because their conspiracy theories about a “stolen” election are all about tickling the lizard brain racism of the GOP base. “

  12. bawiggans says:

    I am curious to know if there were slates of Trump electors pre-designated should he have been declared the winner in the usual way elections are won and, if so, what happened to them after he lost in the states where fake slates were later assembled?

    • P J Evans says:

      My understanding is that when you vote for president, you’re actually voting for a slate of electors pledge to that candidate. So there were legit slates for the former guy in all the states, but they only legally counted if they were from a state he won.

      • Greg Hunter says:

        The EC was constructed in a time before communication, so the electors “could” change the vote for president if required. Since mass communication has become the norm, states have cleaned up that possibility by passing laws requiring to cast the vote for the person they are electing.

        I am still of the opinion that we should return to Madison’s original (Originalist) idea, repeal the 17th and have the House and Senate pick the President. It would be a better system and would ensure no need for term limits.

        • Greg Hunter says:

          Oh come on….it would result in more turnover in Congress and more scrutiny on all the elected officials. Besides a lot less money spent on the election of President….I think Madison had it right at least for the time….17th Amendment election of Senators without popular election of the President is a travesty……

    • grennan says:

      None of the real electors — the ones who would have met had tfg won in their state — seem to have been willing to fake their way through. Several appear to have been so teed off that they took action (complaining to their state party) against the fakes, although this is still murky.

      All but one of the states are winner take all electoral votes (I think it’s MO but it may be NE that splits them), so in most states in most previous elections, the loser’s electors have no role after the state’s popular vote is verified/certified.

      One of the small indicators that this scheme was way, way beyond “normal” is that the real electors wouldn’t sign on.

      • Sue 'em Queequeg says:

        Also Maine, though it’s not a straight split: two electoral votes for winner of the state as a whole, plus one for winner of each house district. In practice it has only resulted in a split twice, but those two times were the two most recent presidential elections.

  13. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Rudy Giuliani didn’t care whether it was a ginger mint or mint julep. He lied about whatever was passed in order to falsely justify his launching a lynch mob for his own ends. That’s Rudy, Trump, and the Republican Party. For them, all consequences are unavoidable collateral damage. In fact, it is all entirely avoidable.

    • Rayne says:


      Separately, at least some of the would-be Trump electors in Michigan also received subpoenas on Wednesday, according to a person who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation.


  14. FiestyBlueBird says:

    From Time Magazine:

    “In the fall, the committee plans to release a written report which will include some findings that won’t be covered in any of the hearings. The panel is looking for a professional writer who can turn that document into a narrative thriller, much like the 9/11 Commission Report, which quickly became a best-seller.”

    Who would be better than Marcy Wheeler, Marcy?

      • What Constitution? says:

        There, there, now, bmaz. If you keep mercilessly criticizing a legislative and oversight committee hearing for not being a grand or petit jury proceeding, people might start calling you a curmudgeon. Oh wait, you’ve claimed that moniker for yourself all along. These hearings are and have been far from useless, a shitshow or any of the innumerable other descriptors in your thesaurus. We can all agree Trump hasn’t yet been convicted of anything, but there are other things that have emerged and could follow from this, though I can’t go there because Rayne says 100 words and this is it.

        • bmaz says:

          Yeah, well, if these petulant holy Committee members want to do something useful, they can turn over their transcripts to the only entity that can make any effect out of them. Which is the one thing they refuse to do, and now are going to keep shoving their end date off because they love the spotlight. They kind of make me sick. Until then, they are preening assholes. And I have learned extremely little “emerging” information that was not known before, it just was not put in a scripted and staged infomercial.

        • Troutwaxer says:

          If you really think the committee’s not having an effect, check out the cover of this week’s Globe, a tabloid in the fine tradition of the Nationally Enquiring Midnight Sun, available at fine markets and pharmacies in a lovely silver rack right next to the Hohos!

        • Troutwaxer says:

          Are you sure about that? The headline reads, “Explosive TV hearings expose betrayal, LIES & treachery!* Trumps INSANE CAPITOL HILL COUP!”**

          I might buy one just to see what they’ve gotten right/wrong.

          * Not Treason.

          ** The letters in “Trumps INSANE CAPITOL HILL COUP” are two inches tall.

        • timbo says:

          If you can find them, crave on the Caramel Hohos, vastly superior to the Peanut Butter Hohos. I was lucky enough to run across the Caramels at a Grocery Outlet here in California in 2020, during the height of the pandemic, for the insanely reasonable price of $1 per box.

        • PeterG says:

          Respect many of your positions and passions, bmaz. Your interpretations of the hearings and their intention are fascinatingly harsh.

          Any effect? The legal effects sure, but the committee’s aims occur more complex. We need a record of the scope & scale of what went down. It seems the hearings are capturing that and synthesizing important bits. Perhaps the flame from the dance between the committee and DOJ will invite some of these narcissists to burn themselves.

        • bmaz says:

          Completely fair!

          I am dubious, but I look at things through a different lens than most. Is it a harsh lens? Maybe so! I could love it a lot more if they were supplementing the DOJ effort and not crapping on it.

        • bmaz says:

          Heh. What Constitution knows exactly where to find me if more characters and words are needed!

    • elcajon64 says:

      Infotainment. I guess this is where TIME thinks we are.

      When I worked at a good-sized daily newspaper as the marketing coordinator, I would get semi-salty at people who couldn’t tell editorial from news from advertising. Now it feels like ANY engagement is worth getting.

      Welcome to my very first old guy yelling at clouds rant. Glad I could share it with you all.

      • rip says:

        There are a lot more of you/us out there that are getting involved in this new medium. It can be frustrating but also invigorating. Hard to capture the essence but good to get the individual opinions.

        I do appreciate some level of curmudgeonly moderation from our host and extraordinary gatekeepers.

        Please continue to participate.

  15. Rugger9 says:

    OT but potentially pretty big, and will force choices upon Ivanka. The J6SC has the Holder films, and according to the NYT (summarized here from DKos so you can dodge paywalls) Ivanka at the time wasn’t trying to tell her dad it was over like she did in her deposition, quite the opposite. However, the Congressional deposition was under oath which ought to have consequences.

  16. GonzoDon says:

    I am not a lawyer, but …. aren’t Ruby Freeman and her family in a remarkably strong position to file a multi-million-dollar defamation lawsuit against Rudy Giuliani (and maybe others), given all the harm his wanton lies clearly caused to her and her family? I can’t imagine how one could just waltz away from the behavior of intentionally and specifically targeting an innocent family with such knowingly baseless accusations, yet not incur any responsibility for the consequences.

    But then, I’m not a member of the privileged political and economic class that seems to routinely get away with this kind of behavior … behavior that the rest of us, I suspect, would not get away with.

    So: what do you lawyer types think of Miss Ruby’s options? If you were Rudy Giuliani, would you be sweating copious amounts of hair dye right about now in anticipation of this legal vulnerability?

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