Pat Cipollone Predicted the Obstruction and ConFraudUS Prosecutions

This morning, for the second time in two weeks, Liz Cheney called out former White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, by name, to cooperate with the January 6 Committee.

Yesterday’s testimony from Cassidy Hutchinson revealed one reason why his testimony would be so important. He predicted — on January 3 or 4th — that Trump might be prosecuted under the very same crimes DOJ has been charging for well over a year: conspiracy to defraud the United States and obstruction of the vote certification.

Cheney: We understand, Ms. Hutchinson, that you also spoke to Mr. Cipollone on the morning of the Sixth, as you were about to go to the rally on the Ellipse. And Mr. Cipollone said something to you like, “make sure the movement to the Capitol does not happen.” Is that correct?

Hutchinson: That’s correct. I saw Mr. Cipollone right before I walked out onto West Exec that morning and Mr. Cipollone said something to the effect of, “Please make sure we don’t go up to the Capitol, Cassidy. Keep in touch with me. We’re going to get charged with every crime imaginable if we make that movement happen.”

Cheney: And do you remember which crimes Mr. Cipollone was concerned with?

Hutchinson: In the days leading up to the sixth, we had conversations about obstructing justice of defrauding the electoral count.

Cheney: Let’s hear about some of those concerns that you mentioned earlier in one of your interviews with us.

{video clip}

Hutchinson: … having a private conversation with Pat on the after noon of third or fourth, um, that Pat was concerned it would look like we were obstructing justice, or obstructing the electoral college count. I apologize for probably not being very firm with my legal terms here.

Or rather, Cipollone didn’t predict Trump would be charged with ConFraudUS and obstruction. He predicted “we” would, presumably including himself and even Hutchinson.

Here I’ve thought I was ahead of the curve by predicting — last August — that if Trump were prosecuted, it would be for those crimes. It turns out that Trump’s White House Counsel was way ahead of me, predicting the same even before the insurrection!

Cipollone’s recognition of this legal exposure is important for a number of reasons. First, it validates DOJ’s approach — and does so in advance of the DC Circuit’s consideration of DOJ’s appeal of Carl Nichols’ outlier opinion rejecting such an application.

Those are also the crimes named in the warrant served on Jeffrey Clark last week.

But Cipollone’s awareness of this exposure also may explain why Cipollone has been reluctant to testify (though it’s possible he has testified with DOJ and simply doesn’t want that to be public). Hutchinson laid out a number of things that Cipollone did on January 6 that made it clear he was not willingly going along with Trump’s actions, most notably his efforts to get Trump to call off his mob before Trump re-ignited them with his 2:24 text attacking Mike Pence again. If there was a conspiracy to obstruct the vote certification, he took overt acts to leave that conspiracy before and during the conspiracy on January 6.

By that point, however, it may have been too late for Cipollone to avoid all exposure to Trump’s corrupt actions. That’s because Cipollone would have been involved in the pardons of those — Cheney focused on Roger Stone and Mike Flynn last night, but Bernie Kerik and Paul Manafort also got pardons — who would go on to play key roles in Trump’s insurrection. (I assume Cipollone was not involved in the Bannon pardon that came after the attack, and I noted in real time that Cipollone likely prevented a bunch of other pardons that would have made obstruction more likely.) That is, Cipollone might have exposure for obstruction for actions already taken by January 3 or 4 when he explained this legal exposure to Hutchinson.

Even Bill Barr said that rewarding false testimony with a pardon would be obstruction. And Roger Stone, Mike Flynn, and Paul Manafort all delivered on that quid pro quo.

For all Liz Cheney’s specific exhortations, Cipollone may know better than to testify to Congress. Because without testifying to DOJ, first, that may cause him more legal trouble than his current (presumed) silence.

Update: As a number of people in comments noted, the Committee has formally subpoenaed Cipollone.

113 replies
  1. Peterr says:

    I’ve been thinking that Cipollone may already have been interviewed by DOJ, especially with the recent seizure of Clark and Eastman’s phones. There is no way you are investigating them and you don’t talk to the WH Counsel.

    If so, I wonder if the DOJ told him “don’t talk about this, to protect our ongoing investigation” and he is therefore rebuffing the J6 committee.

    • Belyn says:

      I heard somewhere on the tube that he sat down for an informal interview. I don’t know what that involves.

      • eyesoars says:

        That sounds like the one thing that someone in his position would never do: talk to the DOJ or FBI (or the J6 committee under oath) without having all four corners of an agreement on potential criminal liability fully nailed down.

  2. Dave_MB says:

    Pat Cippolone should know that his obligation is to the office of the presidency and not the president who is the current occupant. There’s no way he could have stayed that long without a moderate amount of ‘loyalty’ to Trump.

    • timbo says:

      His ultimate legal obligation is to the Constitution, not the Office of President. Have to agree that he must have had to do and say a lot of awful things to stay in Twitler’s White House as long as he did…

  3. Drew says:

    Cipollone is a competent attorney and as such anticipates exposure, even if he will later argue that the exposing acts were justified & ok. I understood the “we” in his statements as corporate (almost Royal, in this case) referring to the administration as a whole and primarily to Trump. Their job was to protect the administration & particularly the boss.

    “it may have been too late for Cipollone to avoid all exposure to Trump’s corrupt actions.”

    I know you’re referring to the specific January 6 crimes of Trump, and criminal indictability, but NO ONE in the Trump administration was free of exposure and implication in Trump’s corrupt actions. Specifically in the case of Cipollone, his main resume item for his entire life is serving as the conduit for the Federalist Society taking over the courts. And while there’s a certain level of corruption in just doing their bidding, I’m specifically thinking of the entire Brett Kavanaugh confirmation process. Cipollone was responsible for vetting BK and when the terrible stuff came out, Cipollone was involved in the FBI non-investigation–there’s every reason to think that there was interference in the work of the FBI from “someone in the White House” i.e. Cipollone.

    Trump insists on everyone around him doing some corrupt things so he can control them. It’s only people who didn’t really come to his attention that had any freedom from that. (Thus Donoghue was at several removes and ended up as Deputy AG because Barr couldn’t figure another way to get him out of EDNY where is non-corruption was a bigger problem–his presence in the administration was an accident). It takes a lot of courage for someone like Hutchinson to step out of that, even though her immersion in the corruption of Trumpworld was only on the edges.

    • rip says:

      “Cipollone, his main resume item for his entire life is serving as the conduit for the Federalist Society taking over the courts”.

      I just wanted to emphasize this statement. Fealty to some other organization rather than the oath to the US government.

  4. CD Wilsher says:

    “Even Bill Barr said that rewarding false testimony with a pardon would be obstruction. And Roger Stone, Mike Flynn, and Paul Manafort all delivered on that quid pro quo.”

    What’s funny is that George HW Bush pardoned Cap Weinberger so that Weinberger wouldn’t implicate him in Iran /Contra, and the AG at the time was (checks notes) Bill Barr.

    • Peterr says:

      That’s why Trump brought in Bill Barr to be AG, and why Trump threw his lunch at the wall when Barr didn’t help him out the same way.

  5. Doctor My Eyes says:

    It seems reasonable to think Cippolone was already aware of being in dangerous legal territory which he had assumed would remain low-key and of too little interest to prosecute. That seems a reasonable context for his remarks to Hutchinson about not letting Trump go to the Capitol. He was likely less concerned with committing criminal acts than with being caught committing criminal acts.

    It’s amazing that this 20-something woman was the person he pled with to prevent crazy behavior by the idiots in charge. It’s incredible how much power she had. The secretary keeps a cool head while the bosses strut around spouting wild-ass nonsense.

    • Super Dave says:

      In my 40+ year career as a professional engineer, working in many corporate office environments, one thing I learned and practiced: never piss off the clerks.

      • Shawn K Younkin says:

        Never piss off clerks in an office, never piss office nurses in hospitals. 😂😂😂😂

        • P J Evans says:

          Never piss off the boss’s secretary. (Department chair, manager, whatever the title: be nice to their secretary!)

      • Rand Careaga says:

        A corollary—something I learned as an undergraduate half a century ago—there’s always someone in the organization who can make the bureaucratic obstacle go away, and practically speaking, it’s generally not the one with the exalted title. You need that waiver? Don’t work the dean, work the dean’s secretary.

        • grennan says:

          In magazine and software publishing, we used to call that position “the smartest person in the outfit”, re advertisers, printers, diverse suppliers, travel agents, etc. But this title was absolutely never shared with any of the non-smartest folks at a company.

          As David Steinberg said: a client is five guys who share a brain. Said it about advertising, some corp. attorneys agree.

        • Midtowngirl says:

          Maybe. But speaking from experience, everyone loves a good IT Support tech – including the accountants!

          • ChrisH says:

            Oh yeah. Having spent a few years as a corporate IT tech, I got used to people venting as they usually only call when something goes horribly wrong. That’s fine, most of the time. The assholes, though, you learn the difference! Those names get round support staff – usually not only IT, but facilities/finance/etc – and they tend to find themselves having to do everything PAINFULLY by the book. And, obviously, will be the last person in the queue on that round of desk visits….

            Just be nice to folks who actually do stuff for you. It’s not that hard!

      • Tom says:

        In my own 40-year career working in management and frontline positions in the social services field, I always made a point of letting the admin. staff know that I appreciated their efforts to make my job easier. I also treated the admin. staff of other agencies the same way. When you called for a person at another organization, it often made the difference between being automatically shunted to voicemail or having the secretary say, “She’s got someone with her right now, but I’ll see if I can interrupt her.”

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          My alma mater once hired a new president, a big deal at a small school. The first thing he did was not to hold a meet-and-greet with the faculty, staff, or wealthy alums. He held a house party for college workers and their spouses: maintenance staff, janitors, cooks, cleaners, guards, groundskeepers. (That those were still college employees tells you how long ago it was.) He knew what made daily life hum. Always admired him for that.

          Those days are gone. The college president is now a mini-CEO, as the board intends, with a chief of staff and spokespeople. Vice presidents, assistants, and deanlets proliferate like crabgrass. The org chart and job descriptions resemble an automotive giant’s, and note the bodies and budgets each person has under helm. The dean of students, whose primary job was once student care, itself a heavy workload, has status because she’s also in charge of the coffee and book shops, their XX staff, and minuscule budgets. Corporatocracy run rampant.

          • Pete T says:

            And so, in very large part, we have college/university tuition running way ahead of any reasonable comparison including, but not limited to, inflation.

            If only curriculum and graduation results justified the increased cost of tuition, room-n-board, etc.

          • John Paul Jones says:

            Same story at the college I’m most familiar with. The Board trying to turn faculty into employees, with no governance rights, outsourcing stuff, etc., etc. A while back they had a giant committee, with hot and cold running consultants, to try and craft a “vision” for the college. Took two years. First line of the vision statement reads: “We believe students are our first priority.” To which my instinctive response was – it’s a conditional statement, and that to realistically clarify we should add – “But we’re not sure; can we get back to you on that?”

            • earlofhuntingdon says:

              If colleges cut their use of “consultants” in half, along with halving the number of VPs, deans, and deanlets, with MBAs instead of PhDs, tuition might be cut in half. But that would require rejecting the corporate business model – affectionately known as the John Silber model (after the infamous president of BU) – that neoliberals have imposed on non-profits, and which is now considered a part of the atmosphere they breathe.

              That model mandates raising tuition to maximize the role of student loans. Cutting tuition or giving better value for money are not part of the model. It does include treating faculty as a variable cost that should be cut and disempowered, as an irritant to the goal of unrestricted executive authority. A college president who does not treat faculty the way Starbucks treats unions is not fit for purpose.

                • earlofhuntingdon says:

                  You may have misread. It’s the deans and deanlets with the MBAs that should be made redundant. They are an immense cost and administrative burden, and often act as inside “consultants.”

                  They are rewarded for stating the obvious and inventing mission statements – propaganda for the board – as vacuous as, “Students are our first priority,” which usually translates as, “our principal revenue stream,” but which does not mean the principal reason we exist and the prime beneficiary of our work.

                  • Ravenclaw says:

                    Yes, thanks. As an academic, I deeply resent the intrusion of MBA types into our little world. They accuse us of being “medieval,” forgetting that medieval civilization lasted for centuries and that there are virtually no for-profit corporations that have lasted as long as the average university. Even my relatively obscure school is closing in on its first century, and the big one down the street is older than the United States government.

              • Paulumba says:

                A professorial friend once suggested outsourcing such managerial (those MBA types) positions to countries with low pay rates.

          • DrDoom says:

            Having spent a career in medical academia, I feel qualified to comment on this tangent. The ultimate point of all these trends in academia is to squelch academic freedom and transform faculty into glorified serfs. Many university administrations are free of any accountability to either students or faculty. In medical faculties, there is a lot of pressure on faculty to generate revenue, and faculty earnings fund all the admin perqs. Medical academia is a morass of opaque cross-subsidization, intentionally kept that way to provide admin cover. Other university segments don’t have similar revenue generation potential, so the students get soaked. John Paul Jones’ comment is consistent with my experience. I had an admin role for a while, and what the bosses wanted from me was that I crack the whip to get the faculty to see more patients for less money. They did not care about quality, except as it impacted rankings.

          • posaune says:

            My first semester at Columbia GSAPP, tuition was $9,995 (1988). My last semester in 1993, tuition was $19,995. Doubled. Stafford loans went from $5K/year to $7.5K/ year, and tuition more than followed. I was lucky in that I realized that it was financially advantageous to take an almost double course load (with the inevitable incomplete saved for summer work), so that I could shave off a semester (or two). Of course, the next year, they changed the rules on that.

      • Badger Robert says:

        Asking the Clerk of Courts to keep some flowers for you until you get back or forgetting a box of candy at their desk never hurts.

        • vvv says:

          Where I practice (someday I’ll get it right!) was this thing called, “Greylord” …

    • Tom says:

      I’m not so sure it’s a matter of Ms. Hutchinson having power so much as it is a case of male White House staff being unwilling to confront other male White House staff directly. It’s like Trump wanting to fire someone but delegating the task to a staff member instead of doing the deed himself.

    • Doctor My Eyes says:

      To put a finer point on Cippolone’s remark, he didn’t say they would be committing said crimes, he said they would be charged, which is likely the difference he saw between a very public march and the behind-the-scenes crap he was willing to do for Trump and the GOP.

      • Ravenclaw says:

        Agreed. A smart, ambitious young aide whose talents were recognized. Sure, being good-looking helps with these guys, but she wouldn’t have been promoted (it sounded like she’s had 2-3 promotions in a very short span of time) unless she had something of real value to offer. Not the same category as a long-serving, obedient pink-collar worker, though the others are quite right in saying that they, too, are crucial to every organization.

  6. Badger Robert says:

    I noticed Ms. Hutchinson saying that when I was watching live. Attorney Cippolone was a conspirator who was trying to save himself. He and Ms. Hutchinson facilitated some actions, while trying to bend the coup attempt away from other actions.
    The people who have knowledge of a conspiracy will be conspirators. Getting their knowledge is extremely important.

  7. bawiggans says:

    Cippolone: Sure, I’ll come talk to you; for the same kind of designer immunity Ollie got. Otherwise, not interested.

    • Belyn says:

      Apparently he did come in for an informal interview. My questions:
      Would that informal interview be under oath?
      Would he have legal counsel with him.
      Would it be recorded / transcribed?

      My guesses would be not under oath, yes legal counsel, and possibly recorded.

    • Peterr says:

      J6: Sorry to hear that. but I guess we will just have to announce that in our next hearing, since everyone is so anxious to hear from you. How does this sound? “Mr. Cippolone agreed to appear, but only if he got immunity. Think about that for a minute, if you please. Mr. Guiliani asks for a pardon, Mr. Meadows asks for a pardon, members of Congress asked for a pardon, and now Mr. Cipplone asks for immunity. It sure sounds like a bunch of peas in a pod to us.”

      PC: Uh . . .

      J6: And who knows – the DOJ might just invite you to speak with them. But I wouldn’t worry about that too much. You can always plead the Fifth. You know, like Michael Flynn, who couldn’t even bring himself to say whether he believes in the peaceful transfer of power from one president to the next. And look how well that is turning out for him.

      • bmaz says:

        I’d think DOJ would have to issue a target letter to Cippolone, at which point he would be insane to not take the Fifth.

        • Peterr says:

          From a legal perspective, absolutely.

          Seeking immunity is a good legal move, and might have given Cippolone the space to maneuver, but after Walsh and North, that ain’t gonna happen. So now he’s got to decide between testifying or pleading the Fifth.

          As I have followed the testimony referring to him, and his attempts to rein in the conspirators, taking the Fifth for not wanting to talk about trying to shut down a conspiracy will be a bitter pill, as it will appear to place him in the same bowl as the folks seeking pardons and the folks like Bannon and Stone who got them.

            • vvv says:

              In IL, a plea of the Fifth can be used against you in civil Court; it’s more or less like a rebuttable presumption – allows an adverse inference. (I had a client plead it twice last week in response to a request to admit; I had him him plea it about 50 times earlier this year in a local guv’mint OIG dep.)

              I believe that a plea of “Take V” (I’m a Brubeck fan) can be used against you in a Bar complaint, as well.

        • Willis Warren says:

          How would immunity work, or would it not be offered? I can’t help but think this doesn’t get done without Meadows

            • Peterr says:

              I have no doubts that no immunity will be offered.

              The way it works is that the committee and the lawyer for the witness enter into an agreement that states that in exchange for true testimony and full cooperation, nothing the witness says can be used in court against that witness. When the Iran/Contra congressional inquiry granted this to Oliver North, Independent Counsel Lawrence Walsh hit the roof. He had to build a huge work around to try to prove that whatever he was going to use against North came from other sources than North’s testimony. At trial, he got a conviction, but on appeal the panel ruled that Walsh’s team had not proven that their work was independent of North’s congressional testimony.

              That episode created a huge amount of distrust and anger between career DOJ folks and the denizens of Capitol Hill. That has since diminished, but it still makes DOJ nervous when Congress has an investigation like this. In this case, though, it appears that Bennie Thompson assured the DOJ that they would not grant immunity for testimony – or at least would not do so without DOJ’s consent.

              No one wants to re-fight that battle, as the only folks who win are the criminals.

              • boba says:

                North also got lucky when the DoD declined to investigate. The DoD would have ignored all the Congressional testimony and still be able to charge and convict him for the unauthorized destruction of classified material.

  8. Doctor My Eyes says:

    I like Mark Sumner’s reporting a lot. His response to Trump-world wailing this morning is on point:

    But none of those Trump apologists seem to be going after the statements that Hutchinson made concerning her own direct experience. None of them are hurrying to have House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy sit down to testify about the phone call he made to Hutchinson while Trump was on stage at the rally on the Ellipse. None of them are encouraging Pat Cipollone to step forward and explain why he and so many others did not want Trump going to the Capitol. None of them are telling Mark Meadows to get up there and explain how his former aide is wrong. None of them are challenging Hutchinson about the observations she personally made, day after day, both before and after the election.

  9. Savage Librarian says:

    Down Pat [1/31/20]

    Mitch got the pitch down Pat,
    straight to and from their autocrat,
    When Murkowski came to bat,
    she pretended it wasn’t all that.

    The coaches are all in on the scam,
    Bad faith hits another grand slam,
    They don’t care we know it’s a sham,
    They say aloud they don’t give a damn.

    The base’s loaded for another steal,
    A grand bargain with a sunk deal,
    Even the grifters called it surreal,
    sitting next to the Presidential Seal.

    Cheating just to walk a hall
    that allegedly is owned by all,
    Thr GOP’s written on the wall:
    “We gladly cause our republic to fall.”

    Turkish candy and Russian delights
    mean more to them than our rights,
    Republicans hide behind dirty fights:
    Last to leave, turn off the lights.

  10. Rugger9 says:

    Regarding the 20-25 minute Meadows call with the car door shut, did that period overlap with the call to ‘Tuberville’ on Mike Lee’s phone? I could see Meadows coordinating between Stone and Lee on the burner, with Lee fibbing about whether he was the true recipient. We know Lee was in the planning for J6 as a subject matter ‘expert’ (self-proclaimed).

    • harpie says:

      MEADOWS was talking on the phone in the car while they were all at the Ellipse, while TRUMP was speaking, I think.

      TRUMP spoke from 11:57 AM to 1:10 PM.
      The LEE/TUBERVILLE call was at 2:26 PM.

      • Rugger9 says:

        OK, thanks.

        As far as Cipollone’s reluctance goes, maybe he’ll change his mind now that Eastman lost again trying to block his communications from the J6SC. At some point Pat will see that the gig is up and that testifying is the only way out now that keeps him out of jail. FWIW, Hutchinson’s testimony did paint Pat C in as favorable a light as he could have hoped for so maybe he’ll muck his cards now.

        • harpie says:

          I think your point is good, and have been trying to get my act together listing the times/locations MEADOWS was said to be glued to his phone[s] and comparing that to other things we know were going on…I may get to it some time this year…lol.

    • Sandor says:

      From a comment above (9:45am):

      “I’m not so sure it’s a matter of Ms. Hutchinson having power so much as it is a case of male White House staff being unwilling to confront other male White House staff directly. ”

      As for her being forced to wait outside the car and watch those minutes tick by, it would be interesting, I think, for her testimony to have included information about how she felt (about her role as messenger, about having to wait outside and being rebuffed several times) and about the inferences that certainly she was making for what was happening while she waited (Who was Meadows talking to? What was the likely topic of conversation?).

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Hutchinson’s feelings are irrelevant. What’s relevant is what she personally saw and heard.

        • Doctor My Eyes says:

          Hutchinson’ greatest strength was her dispassionate relaying of information. Whatever the psychology behind it, she seemed to be the one person in the WH not motivated moment to moment by pure self-interest. The nation is fortunate such a person was in a position to observe what she has reported.

          • FL Resister says:

            Cassidy Hutchinson, regardless of her personal political views, demonstrated the public service ethos that civil service employees display who put government organization mission above self interest. And there are a lot of them which is how the good ones last.

            She appears to be a person for whom adherence to policy and principle go hand in hand.
            Could explain why Ms. Hutchinson said she was “disgusted” after she had slowly realized how Congress had been set up with Mark Meadows’ and Donald Trump’s permission.

          • Sandor says:

            Doctor: One of the things that I was most struck by is her reaction during her chat with Rudy on the way to his car when he asked if she was excited about January 6. She described how what he told her about the impending J6 made her feel scared. Why? She was afraid for the country.

  11. greenbird says:

    i like reading emptywheel posts.
    i always grin so big bc i feel so smart after.
    (’tis illusion but i’ll take it.)
    like enjoying the gentle float in a small sandy stream,
    nothing but happy birds and bugs.
    welp, gotta take muh meds now … anna nap …

  12. Makeitso says:

    Roger Stone, a longtime ally of Donald Trump, said that the former president could announce his reelection bid as soon as next week.RS

    And then Garland cannot indict due to DOJ protocol. Trump is no fool about saving himself. If he sense any possibility of indictment, he announces.

    Game over.

    • bmaz says:

      No, that is patently a false statement. Not even close to true. The DOJ protocol is ambiguous and says only that prosecutors are encouraged to contact the Public Integrity Section of the Criminal Division for further guidance regarding “the timing of charges or overt investigative steps near the time of a primary or general election.” It will be nearly two years before that could even possibly be in play. Don’t make people here stupid.

      • Makeitso says:

        You are the one being disingenuous. DOJ protocol about being non-political has been announced, surveyed, and talked about ad nauseum. Comey broke the protocol. Why? No one truly knows. There is no way this DOJ goes after Trump if he announces.They will not break protocol again As Laurence Tribe said today:

        A word to the wise: I definitely don’t favor leaks from DOJ, but the sooner it becomes publicly clear that the criminal investigation has reached Trump, the harder it’ll be for him, by officially announcing his candidacy, to claim that his indictment would be a political act.

        And you know Trump will tell his cult that exactly. And then there will be violence. Garland will try to avoid that at all costs.

        • bmaz says:

          You are lying through your freaking teeth, and clearly do not have a clue what you are talking about. Should you engage in this any further, your comments will not be approved.

          Nobody should listen to “Makeitso” for one second on this or related topics.

          • Badger Robert says:

            Its not a game. So the objectionable post ends with a false metaphor. If it was a game, it would be like chess, and capturing all the enemy’s pieces other than the king is also important. Which is why Ms. Wheeler’s post identities attorney Cipollone as a knight that is trapped on the board.
            If is like chess, if the player maneuvers one of her pawns across the board, I believe she gets to replace the pawn with her highest piece captured by
            the opponent. In the case of Ms. Hutchinson, that appears to be what has happened.
            As always, thanks to Ms. Wheeler for her efforts in trying to keep us informed.

        • Rayne says:

          It’d be nice if instead of pissing off bmaz with an unsubstantiated claim topped with an ad hominem you’d actually produced the OLC memo which says political candidates for POTUS may not be indicted.

          But I think instead you’ve poured yourself a nice hot cup of STFU.

            • Rayne says:

              You know, the point was that a particular commenter made zero effort to do that research which they could have done by themselves instead of flouncing in here to stir up shit.

              They also conveniently forgot as soon as Trump announces his candidacy, his papers better be filed with the FEC and all subsequent financial reporting completed accurately, on a timely basis, with adequate disclosure required by law or he opens up yet another avenue of investigation and prosecution under campaign finance. Which might also cause a few wrinkles with his fundraising since November 2020.

                  • LeeNLP says:

                    Weeding is a critical part of gardening. Bmaz’s generous application of shovel, hoe and pruning sheers (and the occasional backhoe) in these discussions is critical to the quality of the insights and discussions shared here.

                    I consider all youse people who make this site what it is to be national treasures.

                    • bmaz says:

                      Don’t do much active gardening. Our Joshua trees, which have existed on this land forever, long before us and long before this house, are dying though. It is a tragedy playing out.

              • bmaz says:

                Exactly. I am still not convinced they will indict Trump, but the odds seem to maybe be increasing. But the forbearance issue will not be the reason if they don’t.

  13. earlofhuntingdon says:

    To join the chorus, Hutchinson, a young vulnerable staffer, in effect, put her life on the line and testified under oath in open session against the former president. If the MSM wants to give those who want to refute her testimony a platform, then it should correctly frame their denials rather than credulously repeat them, or tell them to come back and repeat their denials under oath. Otherwise, ignore them.

  14. NJoy says:

    Dear Dr. Wheeler and the brilliant and tough minds that produce and manage this blog,
    This is my first time commenting, but I’m a long-time reader. THANK YOU for providing such clarity. Your responses to the trolls are almost as important as the other materials posted. It creates a broader understanding of the legalities and a push back to planted disinformation and stupidity.

    • eyesoars says:

      I predict hundreds of ‘fifth’ statements should that happen. She may be evil, stupid, reactionary, and vindictive, but she’s not a complete idiot and she has a lawyer.

    • BobCon says:

      Maybe, maybe not. She may be better suited for a grand jury appearance, or being served with a search warrant at dawn, or just being told to come with agents into an SUV like Peter Navarro and if she wants to call an attorney she’ll have an opportunity, but after the fingerprinting and photographs.

      I’m not counting on the SUV trip, but I wouldn’t rule it out completely.

  15. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Cassidy Hutchinson, in her mid-20s, is a committed conservative. But she saw a lot of dangerous things happen at the highest levels of government and chose, at considerable cost to herself, to talk about them with the Committee and in public.

    On the other hand, Mark Meadows is only slightly more talented than Louie Gohmert, one of the dumbest members of Congress. No one but Donald Trump would have made him chief of staff, generally regarded as the second most important job in the White House. He was badly in over his head and needed Hutchinson and people like her to stay afloat. Hutchinson saw a lot and seems to be credibly disclosing some of it to the rest of us.

    • BobCon says:

      This is a reminder that Meadows had a legion in the press running interference for him, while Hutchinson was pretty much on her own.

      The least these people could do is correct the record and write at length how much of a freakshow Meadows is. They have the receipts, and while the standards of describing sourcing may limit their ability to name every time he was a source, there is no reason they can’t still use interviews with him from the past to fill out the record on how he twisted the truth.

      If a “source close to Trump” misled a reporter unethically on 1/5/21 or 1/7/21, expose the PR campaign and spin strategy. Let the chips fall where they may.

    • rip says:

      Apparently, Mark was very good with his thumbs. He could scroll up and down better than most. And his emojis?

      It appears he had already figured out how to put canned responses into his reply button: “Yup – working on it”, “I’ll get back to you”, “He doesn’t want to hear about this.”

    • emptywheel says:

      “only slightly more talented than Louie Gohmert”


      I mean, not inaccurate! But — having dealt with both offices on surveillance related stuff — ouch!

  16. JohnForde says:

    PBS is apparently using voice recognition software for it’s closed captioning. Unfortunately, it keeps outputting “Pat Cipollone” as “Patsy Baloney”.

  17. skua says:

    Hutchinson: “P.C. (pre-takeover of Capitol)… “We’re going to get charged with every crime imaginable if we make that movement happen.””
    With that movement having been planned, as P.C.’s awareness of it verifies, then the likelihood of a large death toll probably would have been raised at planning meetings.
    Might P.C.’s fear of “every crime imaginable” have reasonably included criminal conspiracy related to those (probably) foreseen deaths?

  18. El Grande says:

    I’ve been reading EW for about 2 years now and always read thru the comments and discussions, but this is my first post. I am perplexed about the USSS even allowing trump’s speech at the ellipse to happen once the realization of firearms in the crowd occurred. If the USSS can deny his trip to the Capitol why wouldn’t they immediately evacuate him away from this very real threat? Sure, it was thought that the crowd was probably all trumpists, but this wasn’t a known. It was a perfect opportunity for a presidential assassin to blend in with this armed mass.
    I’m also finding myself pondering more and more about the documentary that was being filmed. There are numerous indications that trump and his outlaws truly believed they were going to succeed. This leads me to believe that they were very loose around the cameras and microphones.

    • Rugger9 says:

      Cleta Mitchell as well, since neither she nor Roger will stop their efforts to steal 2022 and 2024.

  19. Savage Librarian says:

    Right to the Point

    The minute you walked in the joint
    I could see you were
    a man of conviction,
    A big offender,
    Hood lookin’, so unkind,
    Say, wouldn’t you like to know
    what’s goin’ on in my mind?

    So let me get right to the point,
    I don’t flip my lid on everyone I see,
    Big offender,
    Spend a lot less time with me!

    You never once won, won, won,
    How’s about all that graft, graft,
    It’ll all end in due time,
    We think someone should do time!

    “Shirley Bassey – Big Spender (from Sweet Charity) – Piano”

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