“Conspiracy Shit Beamed Down from the Mothership:” The Prehistory of Trump’s Ellipse Lies


In Jack Smith’s statement announcing the Trump indictment yesterday, he emphasized how Trump’s lies “fueled” the attack on the Capitol.

The attack on our nation’s capital on January 6, 2021, was an unprecedented assault on the seat of American democracy. As described in the indictment, it was fueled by lies. Lies by the defendant targeted at obstructing a bedrock function of the U.S. government, the nation’s process of collecting, counting, and certifying the results of the presidential election.

The men and women of law enforcement who defended the U.S. Capitol on January 6 are heroes. They’re patriots, and they are the very best of us. They did not just defend a building or the people sheltering in it. They put their lives on the line to defend who we are as a country and as a people. They defended the very institutions and principles that define the United States.

For each sub-section in the section of the indictment that lays out Trump’s pressure on states, the indictment shows how Trump repeated false claims on January 6 that he had been told were false. While the indictment doesn’t cite the actual language that would appear in Trump’s Ellipse speech, it invokes these five lies (it doesn’t include the lies he told about Nevada):

In the state of Arizona, over 36,000 ballots were illegally cast by non-citizens. Two thousand ballots were returned with no address. [cited here]

[snip]

Over 10,300 ballots in Georgia were cast by individuals whose names and dates of birth match Georgia residents who died in 2020 and prior to the election. [cited here]

[snip]

That’s Detroit. One hundred and seventy-four thousand ballots were counted without being tied to an actual registered voter. Nobody knows where they came from. [cited here]

[snip]

There were over 205,000 more ballots counted in Pennsylvania. Think of this, you had 205,000 more ballots than you had voters. That means you had two. Where did they come from? You know where they came from? Somebody’s imagination, whatever they needed. [cited here; also cited in January 4 meeting with Pence]

[snip]

In Wisconsin, corrupt Democrat-run cities deployed more than 500 illegal, unmanned, unsecured drop boxes, which collected a minimum of 91,000 unlawful votes. [cited here]

With each of these lies, the indictment shows when he was told these claims were false (Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin). In several cases, the indictment also shows DOJ officials telling Trump those lies were false (Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin).

The actual citations from Trump’s Ellipse speech, which appears in the section on his pressuring of Mike Pence, focus on that — his false claims about what Pence could do (and the indictment describes Rudy Giuliani and John Eastman’s speeches as further effort to pressure Pence).

But before that, the indictment tracks the lies in the speech that Trump used to mobilize the mob.

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132 replies
  1. Bob_02AUG2023_0722h says:

    Appreciate you.

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      • LeeNLP149 says:

        I often worry about that. I am amazed at the intelligence and passion so evident in these essays, and also in the commentary that accompanies them. I am glad to be able to listen in. :)

    • Sue Romano says:

      Appreciate you too! Not unnoticed was the 45 page indictment by @soychicka, signed by Jack on p 45 for the history books

    • BRUCE F COLE says:

      Not IMO. The physical attack itself began at the ellipse rally and was designed to overthrow the Presidency (which isn’t an entity that’s contained in the capitol building), so it wasn’t just an attack on the that building. “Capital” is a broader term and more refelctive of the broader intent, in that respect.

    • Physicalist says:

      The Capitol is in our nation’s capital. So I assume the intended meaning is that the attack on the building (the Capitol) should be viewed as an attack on the seat of governance of the U.S. (the capital).

      • KayKinMD says:

        Our nation’s capital, the seat of our government, is Washington DC. DC residents don’t have voting representatives in our Federal government because DC is supposedly a federal city (this is a real bone of contention but that’s another issue). The Capitol is the seat of one branch of government, Congress. I think Mr. Smith meant to encompass the entire seat of government, Washington DC, the capital.

  2. Amicus12 says:

    In the space of a 45 page indictment, the phrase “knowingly false” appears 33 times. The word “false” appears 94 times. Kind of a theme.

    A small thought can fill a whole life. For Trump, it’s lying.

    • BRUCE F COLE says:

      What is great about this indictment is that it kicks the Big Lie directly in the teeth, and the prosecution of it will occur just as the country is facing Trump’s attempt to steal back the office of the presidency while using that very lie to do so.

      The FL classified documents case needed to be addressed first based on NatSec exigencies, but the fact that Cannon is now presiding over what promises to be a yet further extended CIPA discovery process is actually perfect with respect to where the nation’s attention needs to be focused at this moment in history.

      This trial will not be drawn out. Trump’s typical delay motions will be dispatched with surgical acuity by Smith’s team and the DC court, is my guess. Smith makes no bones about the stakes: the Big Lie needs to be aired out in court for the nation to see just how pernicious it was in fomenting the J6 assault, and how pernicious it is with respect to the upcoming choice we’re about to make, between the Constitution and terminal demagoguery. It was an assault on “who we are,” as his charging statement put it.

      Thank you Mr Smith for framing and executing this so perfectly.

      • IainUlysses says:

        I want, most of all, to know as much as possible what happened that day. The J6 committee did a good job, but it’s not the same as an indictment, where we have the facts laid out along with what that means from a criminal stand point. It hits differently.

        • Eichhörnchen says:

          More importantly, in my view, will be the under-oath testimony from Trump’s camp and the cross-examination of government witnesses by Trump’s team, also under oath.

        • ratbastahd says:

          Yes, and even though Mitch McConnell voted against impeachment (because he said Trump was no longer in office) here is what he said about Trump’s role on that fateful day:

          “There is no question — none — that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of that day. No question about it. The people who stormed this building believed they were acting on the wishes and instructions of their president. And their having that belief was a foreseeable consequence of the growing crescendo of false statements, conspiracy theories, and reckless hyperbole which the defeated president kept shouting into the largest megaphone on planet Earth.Sadly, many politicians sometimes make overheated comments or use metaphors that unhinged listeners might take literally. This was different. This was an intensifying crescendo of conspiracy theories, orchestrated by an outgoing president who seemed determined to either overturn the voters’ decision or else torch our institutions on the way out.President Trump is still liable for everything he did while he was in office, as an ordinary citizen. … He didn’t get away with anything yet — yet. We have a criminal justice system in this country. We have civil litigation. And former presidents are not immune from being accountable by either one.”

          As Lindsey Graham and all the other enablers spout their whataboutisms I sure hope this quote gets some air time with a GOP audience.

          • RealAlexi says:

            Yeah, but that’s really just McConell being a turd & a coward by passing the buck and stating the obvious. He purposely scheduled the whole thing to be after Trump left office so that he’d have a bs excuse not to impeach.

      • Tech Support says:

        Mr. Smith once again referred to pursuing a Speedy Trial in his public statement. Even putting aside questions of venue or judicial temperament, this trial doesn’t face any of the CIPA issues that the espionage case has to work through. It seems likely to me that even with the head start in Florida that this case will reach a verdict first.

        • bmaz says:

          Yeah, but he said that as to SDFL too, and then had the prosecution, on its own, move to continue (which is rare). So, we shall see in DC.

          • Molly Pitcher says:

            I have been left with the thought that he did this all deliberately so that the J6 trial could move forward and the Docs case could lumber along. The world knows that none of the crimes have been ignored, but the most important case will take precedence.

    • Zirczirc says:

      There’s no doubt that Trump lies a lot, but he tells the truth surprisingly often. He does so because he’s a narcissist. When he’s not lying he’s telling the world that of course he did xyz and that he did so because he’s Trump. There’s a part of his rotten, spoiled, entitled self that can’t believe that anyone would question anything he does. After all, he’s Donald J. Trump, and that alone should be reason enough for any of his actions. So we get this crazy mix of gaslighting and megalomania. For me, that’s a mix that should undermine any grift he attempts, and it astounds me that so many fall for it. The fact he can get around 45-47% of the electorate to support him says more about those voters than it does about him unfortunately.

      • Ray Harwick says:

        As much as I’ve read Empty Wheel (daily, for about 2 years), I’ve been reading Dr. Bandy Lee’s commentary about Trump’s mental health. She is an expert on sociopathy and worked in prisons to treat patients (and their victims) with this condition for 25 years. Lee and 26 colleagues wrote a book back in 2006 called “The Dangerous Case of Donal Trump” to raise flags about his mental health.

        It’s not mere narcissism with Trump. Narcissim overlaps sociopathy. It’s found in all sociopaths. These professional did a sociopathy assessment on Trump. The assessment maximum score is 40. They rated Trump as a 30. That places him in the top 1% of sociopaths which they say is likely genetic. One of the doctors illustrated how severe this was by saying that if parents had a son who scored a 2 or 3 on the assessment, they are likely to be considering ending his life. Sociopaths prefer to burn things down rather than submit. They have no mechanism to invoke sympathy or remorse. They world must submit to them, not them to the world.

        • bmaz says:

          Bandy Lee may be right. But she is a complete hack for rendering conclusive opinions on people she has never seen, much less evaluated. I am surprised she still has a license. Would you want Bandy Lee rendering an opinion on you based on your internet commentary? I would hope not.

          • Ray Harwick says:

            According to Lee, she used the virtually endless video resources of Trump’s long public life and career to make that assessment. She agrees that you can’t simply come to a conclusion unless you have a minimum few hours to evaluate a patient. With Trump, there are endless miles of video tape of him acting naturally, under the same circumstances professionals normally base their conclusion. And there is also his social media presence which Lee says enhances what she is able to see him do.

            Her argument against the “Goldwater Rule” is very persuasive given the level of danger Trump has the potential to ignite. The APA would like for their members to support the rule, but Lee points out she does adhere to APA guidelines which precede the Goldwater Rule. She also points at the World Medical Association Declaration, established 25 years before the Goldwater Rule, which insists that physicians need to speak up when there is a humanitarian reason to do so. That Declaration was created in response to Nazism and is consistent with her ethical view that professionals in her field have a duty to warm that is as important as any physician in any circumstance.

            Meanwhile, people will baldly say her actions are unethical. I can’t argue the ethical minutia of the entire field of psychiatry, but I certainly do appreciate that I feel warned with heightened concern and understanding that she let this particular cat out of the bag.

            • bmaz says:

              And Bandy Lee is still bullshit, and if she still has a license, it ought be in peril. Not saying her “analysis” is not right, but that is total bullshit from a licensed doctor.

              • HorsewomaninPA says:

                It is a sad day when being correct about an impending danger to society is considered unethical.

                • bmaz says:

                  No, she is a licensed medical professional. That ought have higher standards. And are supposed to. Trust me I understand people hate Trump. Me too. But it is absolute shit that people are so willing to skirt standards to get at him.

              • Ray Harwick says:

                I dunno. I’d have to see what ethics charges they would bring up. Now that I’ve read so much about sociopathy because of her warning, the thing that sticks in my mind is how sociopaths are described as the type of people who will “burn it all down” to get what they want. January 6 was the ultimate burn-it-down act of Trump’s life. I can’t image how he could surpass that. I wondered if we’d all end up fighting in the streets and I feared for the safety of my sick and elderly husband and my daughter knowing there’s little to nothing I could do to protect them.

                For the same reason I read Empty Wheel everyday, I read blogs by people whom I call “great explainers”. For me, Dr. Lee is almost the default explainer in the area of her expertise since the entire discipline of psychology seems to have nothing to say. I fear we are worse off for that silence.

      • RealAlexi says:

        “Never believe that anti-Semites are completely unaware of the absurdity of their replies. They know that their remarks are frivolous, open to challenge. But they are amusing themselves, for it is their adversary who is obliged to use words responsibly, since he believes in words. The anti-Semites have the right to play. They even like to play with discourse for, by giving ridiculous reasons, they discredit the seriousness of their interlocutors.

        They delight in acting in bad faith, since they seek not to persuade by sound argument but to intimidate and disconcert. If you press them too closely, they will abruptly fall silent, loftily indicating by some phrase that the time for argument is past.”
        ― Jean-Paul Sartre

        This is how I generally think it is up with the MAGA Trumpers. Just switch “anti-semites” to MAGATards.

      • Konny_2022 says:

        And “fraudulent” appears 63 times, thereof 38 times in combinatin with “elector(s),” whereas “fake” is used only 3 times (plus 2 times in a quote). That alone is, to my mind, proof of the seriousness of the indictment, after the overuse of “fake” since 2016.

  3. Peterr says:

    The quote in the headline grabbed me when I first read the indictment. While Smith attributes it to “a Senior Campaign Advisor,” from earlier public reporting we know that it comes from Jason Miller, and it captures the GOP leadership response to the big lie in a nutshell. “We know the Big Lie is crap, but we’ll get behind you anyway.”

    • David F. Snyder says:

      The wording insinuates more: a military, physically aggressive response delivered by agents.

    • harpie says:

      Here’s that article, originally on Salon:

      Legal scholar: Report suggests DOJ about to indict Trump’s “whole criminal gang” for conspiracy New Jan. 6 probe details reveal “evidence of wire fraud,” law professor says https://www.salon.com/2023/06/27/legal-scholar-report-suggests-doj-about-to-indict-trumps-whole-criminal-gang-for-conspiracy/ GABRIELLA FERRIGINE JUNE 27, 2023 3:29PM (EDT)

      […] Following the 2020 election, an advertising firm created three spots for the ex-president’s fundraising, titled, “Stop the Steal,” “Overwhelming,” and “On Tape,” according to the report. However, when Trump campaign lawyers reviewed the ads, they became worried about potentially false information contained within them, sources told the outlet.

      “The campaign’s own legal team and data experts cannot verify the bullshit being beamed down from the mothership,” Trump advisor Jason Miller wrote to Larry Weitzner, an executive at the firm manufacturing Trump’s campaign ads, at the time. Miller added Trump’s legal team was “0 for 32,” a seeming reference to the number of times the attorneys had tried and failed to challenge election results in court.

      The correspondence between Miller and Weitzner is one of the numerous pieces of evidence that prosecutors have produced to show that MAGA allies were aware of the dubious nature of Trump’s claims. Smith’s team has issued subpoenas in connection to the ads as they endeavor to glean further information. […]

      Here’s Weitzner’s J6 Committee transcript:
      https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/GPO-J6-TRANSCRIPT-CTRL0000060755/pdf/GPO-J6-TRANSCRIPT-CTRL0000060755.pdf

    • harpie says:

      From Witzner’s transcript:

      [pdf6/106] Q Can you tell us generally when those efforts began post-election to create ads after the election? […]

      But I was contacted about trying to produce ads that raised — about the chaotic election in 2020 and was told to, you know, just work on [pdf7/106] some scripts. But I believe the first time it started was December, right?
      Mr. Engle. December 8th. [12/8/20]
      Mr. Weitzner. December 8th, yeah.

      • harpie says:

        A little further along in the transcript:

        Q Uh-huh. And if we scroll up here, Mr. Miller responds, and he says — he offers some thoughts, including: Call to action feels milquetoast and needs to be beefed up, but I admittedly don’t know how best to do it.
        So is it fair to say that Mr. Miller is, again, as with Mr. Kushner and Mr. Trump, he also wants the ads to engender like a more inflamed response? Is that fair?

        A Yes.

  4. ThomasJ7777 says:

    I was surprised by the absence of some possible charges, like “seditious conspiracy” and “racketeering” and “wire fraud” and “forgery”.

    At first, I thought this indictment was about the coup plot, and that there would be additional indictments for the 1) fake elector scheme, and the 2) insurrection, and the 3) big lie wire fraud racketeering scheme, and the 4) perjury subornation and witness tampering, and the 5) money laundering and campaign finance felonies

    BUT it seems like this indictment covers conduct that is related to the coup plot and 1-3 above.

    If there are more indictments coming, then I hope more individuals are charged.

    I didn’t predict Smith’s tactics. He went right after the ringleader without slowly building up from the bottom. I think this is in the interest of justice because otherwise Jack Smith would be still working his way to the middlemen while Trump was unscathed and free to continue lying about everything.

    Not allowing Trump to get away with continuing to defraud the whole country willfully and without consequence might finally destroy Trump.

    Let’s hope for a trial in January 2024.

    • gruntfuttock says:

      ‘He went right after the ringleader without slowly building up from the bottom. I think this is in the interest of justice because otherwise Jack Smith would be still working his way to the middlemen while Trump was unscathed and free to continue lying about everything.’

      And free to pardon himself and his co-conspirators if he wins the next election. Smith knows he needs to get to the core of this rotten apple and time is a-ticking. Cannon might try to help Trump (but maybe has learned her lesson?); Chutkin is less likely to do so, and there’s none of that top secret stuff to complicate matters here. Smith is looking for a speedy trial, I hope he gets it.

  5. Lurks123 says:

    I saw David Urban on CNN seemingly baffled that half (sic) the country supports Trump and his lies.
    It’s so f***ing infuriating. Trump’s success has been built on the words of the scores of enablers like him.
    “The only thing necessary for evil to triumph in the world is that good men do nothing”. And they did worse than nothing.

    • scroogemcduck says:

      Pence came out with a strong statement against Trump yesterday. Aside from that, the Republican response has been to jump to his defence, or stay silent. Trump’s supposed closest challenger, De Santis, mumbled something that Trump should be able to relocate the case out of DC to a district of his choosing.

      Where have the principled Republicans gone?

        • Rugger_9 says:

          Indeed, the principled and civic minded GOP members have been systematically purged out by primary voters who want red meat. It’s been going on for a very long time, really accelerating after Reagan took office. One can see how rabid the MAGA voters have become in the rallies when they shout down otherwise extremely ‘conservative’ politicians who dared to leave the approved orthodoxy behind such as 2020 election denials.

          • notjonathon says:

            As an antique person who was a long-hair in the 1960’s, I can assure you that Nixon’s victories were due to this very same base.
            Off topic: How old am I? I feel strange when people refer to the turn of the century as 2000-2001.

      • KSKAZ_02AUG2023_1300h says:

        Asa Hutchinson! He has consistently spoken out against Trump and did so yesterday on multiple media outlets.

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      • John Thomas says:

        Apologizing in advance if I offend anyone with my snark, but “principled Republicans” has become nothing more than an oxymoronic joke.

        Their “family values” schtick lies in ruins; their “patriotism” has been overshadowed by Christian nationalism; their USA first has been replaced by a “me first” attitude.

        Right-wingers have metastasized into a cancer on the American body politic.

        I sincerely thank Marcy, Rayne, bmaz, and the countless other regular contributors for helping make sense of this effed up nation we call our home.

        I just wish we could persuade our mean, crazy relatives to move (on as one-way ticket) to an autocratically governed country so that they might appreciate what they once had.

        I’ll go back to my corner and be quiet now.

    • BRUCE F COLE says:

      And this indictment and the trial that flows from it will do just the opposite, and at just the right historical point in time.

  6. Upisdown says:

    David Berkowitz believed his neighbor’s dog demanded the blood of pretty young girls from him. Which was a perfectly lawful belief until Berkowitz took steps to deliver. As has been pointed out since the indictment broke: it’s not the belief, it’s the conduct.

    If Trump wants to pretend that he’s Son of Sam and mount an insanity defense, that defense may be more useful than attempting a First Amendment defense. Either way, he should never be president again.

    • Rugger_9 says:

      I was listening to some legal bobblehead on the CBS national feed opine that ‘no laws prohibited the speech’ which must be news to SC Smith. As noted above by EW, the Ellipse speech incitement to attack the Capitol is not part of the indictment. It’s probably the first gambit to distract away from the actual charges like the ‘collusion’ legal fiction was designed to distract away from the conspiracy with the Russians in 2016.

      • P’villain says:

        Paragraphs 3 and 4 of the indictment anticipate and address the “criminalizing free speech” attacks.

      • BobBobCon says:

        Thomas Edsall in today’s NY Times has an absolutely idiotic piece which conflates general concerns with Trump’s lies into a supposedly valid debate over First Amendment issues in this particular case.

        While 1A issues can’t be ruled out entirely, Edsall acts like there is some kind of vague cloud surrounding the indictment, and that this is somehow a sign of liberals shrinking from commitments to free speech.

        He refuses to engage in the specifics of this case because he has become committed to his narrative that liberals are as bad as the right. If he acknowledged the extent to which Smith laid out his case that this was in fact criminal behavior, his entire thesis would be undercut, so Edsall just retreats into the vapors.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Of all the fellowships and awards the nearly 82 year-old Edsall received over his career in journalism, one stands out: his more than seven years as a fellow at the Hoover Institute, five of them since 2003.

        • Stephen Calhoun says:

          Consider that “vague clouds” and the sort are requisites of fascism. Our country is midstream in the othering of a majority of the country by a minority, the MAGA base. The binary is simple and tense.

          Another requisite is that some “principled” conservatives will have little problem voting for an (anti-conservative) autocrat-wannabee.

          imo

          bravo Mr. Smith, Marcy and the EW crew and commenters

  7. BRUCE F COLE says:

    One of the other great things Smith did in his indictment statement is to encourage everyone to read the indictment. That’s a tip to those of us who want this cancer excized from our body politic: tell all your friends and family to read the indictment. It’s scathing and surgical, pulling no punches and leaving no doubt.

    DeSantis yesterday offerred a mealy-mouth semi-disparagement of the indictment, prefacing it (naturally) with “I haven’t read the indictment yet.” What a fool of a jerk.

    I’m composing a letter to my extended family (some MAGA included) inviting them to read it, with the link. I would encourage all of us to do the same.

    • bgThenNow says:

      I agree. Also his comment about “innocent until proven guilty,” I thought were two big takeaways. That he went hard after the big lie is really the underpinning.

    • sohelpmedogs says:

      That’s a great idea.
      The J6 Committee did an excellent job.
      The SC is doing a sterling job, which we will of course follow with keen interest and comment upon here, but our main task for the next 15 months is to get out the good vote.

          • RitaRita says:

            There is a lot of ground between “daylighting” and teeing up an indictment with sufficient credible evidence that can be introduced at trial.

            Emptywheel readers over the past years have read articles detailing the discovery process and numerous pitfalls, including technological and legal challenges to gaining access to evidence.

          • bmaz says:

            Lol, the J6 Committee interfered with the DOJ investigation more than they helped it. Very little of what they did is in a form that would be admissible into a trial. All the victory laps Schiff, Lofgren et. al are taking is laughable bullshit.

            • P’villain says:

              I drove to an unfamiliar place yesterday. I used a map I’d been given, but my successful trip is in no way attributable to the map, because the map didn’t drive me there.

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            You have no way of knowing that. The J6 Committee often talked openly about its work, but not much about failing to share it in a timely way with the DoJ. But the DoJ can’t do that until it decides to indict.

            • bmaz says:

              And the vaunted J6 Committee actually stated they were not sharing. Were afraid DOJ might leak. Which is quite the ironic sick joke.

              • BRUCE F COLE says:

                Amen. It was all territorial imperative.

                Garland, otoh, should have appointed an SC much sooner. Much much sooner.

                • hstancat says:

                  Garland appointed SC within a couple days after Trump declared he was running for election. What would you have used for a predicate to invoke SC statute before that declaration?

        • Ralph H white says:

          That wasn’t the gist of what Adam Schiff, and Jamie Raskin had to say last night, or on a couple of shows lately the lead investigator for the committee. Now maybe they had a personal motivation to make that case, but just about every commentator and democratic spokesperson I’ve heard address the indictment cites Jan. 6 as a prime influence on Smith’s investigation. IMO, at the very least, the committees work allowed Smith a substantial headstart in his efforts and allows for a trial much sooner than would have been the case without the committee. One person’s overhype is another’s justifiable credit where it’s due.

          • bmaz says:

            Bullshit. The Committee produced almost zero directly admissible evidence, and got in the way of the DOJ. I don’t care what Schiff and Raskin self servingingly claim or say.

    • Tech Support says:

      I’ll freely admit to being someone who rarely reads the full legal documents that are discussed here, but I’ve read this one and it is crisp. Strunk and White are kicking back shots with Hemmingway over this one.

    • Rayne says:

      Wow. I’m shocked that asshat Turley waited this long to pipe up with whataboutism. Yeah, that’s all he’s good for, pushing right-wing propaganda.

    • Rugger_9 says:

      Turley: chronically contrarian giant ass. I would not be surprised to find out that in addition to 20 t-shirts he has “hey, you kids get off of my lawn” playing on a continuous loop at his house.

  8. Frank Probst says:

    Not sure if it’s been mentioned yet, but the “Georgia” section specifically calls out the false statements made against the two Georgia election workers. I’m fairly certain that these are the two women about whom Giuliani just admitted to making false statements. I’m assuming Giuliani had some idea that something like this was coming, and the admission was to somehow “get ahead” of the information in the indictment.

    Could this be the case, or am I totally misunderstanding how this works?

    • emptywheel says:

      No. That’s correct. Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss. Moss testified before J6C, if you recall. Almost the only non-Republicans who testified.

    • SteveBev says:

      Giuliani admission is re defamation of the mother and daughter election workers is hedged

      Giuliani said in the filing that he was making the concession “solely for purposes of this litigation” and “without admitting to the truth of the allegations.”
      … court document said Giuliani wants “to avoid unnecessary expenses in litigating what he believes to be unnecessary disputes.”

      Michael Gottlieb, a lawyer for Moss and Freeman, said in a statement that Giuliani’s filing concedes that Freeman and Moss did their jobs as election workers “in full compliance with the law; and the allegations of election fraud he and former President Trump made against them have been false since day one.”

      Per Reuters report

      There is this nugget which raises possibly interesting questions about the his version links between that case and federal investigations of Giuliani:

      ‘Freeman and Moss are seeking sanctions against Giuliani, alleging he failed to preserve important evidence. Giuliani’s attorney Bob Costello denied those claims in court papers on Tuesday, saying that issues raised by the plaintiffs about the quality of the evidence stemmed from the handling of electronic devices seized by federal authorities in a separate probe, in which no charges were brought.’

        • SteveBev says:

          Yes indeed – threadbare cover for his capitulation, which raises the question: who he was trying to kid?

          It suggests to me that perhaps he was still trying to cling on to whatever remains of his connections to Trump world.

    • Tech Support says:

      Given Giuliani’s proffer meeting and his clear designation as “Co-Conspirator 1,” I think it’s reasonable to speculate that he did what he needed to do to avoid being charged in this indictment, and that his recent statements and strategy in the civil case are intended to minimize the collateral damage of of his cooperation.

  9. klynn says:

    No contribution to content from my comment, just a big, “THANK YOU!” for using one of my favorite quotes in the indictment for the title of this post. Sheer perfection EW!

  10. Rugger_9 says:

    Remembering that SC Smith signaled he’s not done, and what is already known (and vetted) about the J6 plotting and Russian hanky-panky, a whole lot of GOP leadership types are probably talking to their lawyers too. Defendant-1 already is moving to throw Rudy G and John E under the bus, and will not stop there to save his hide if he thinks it’s necessary.

  11. Critter7 says:

    If the indictment said anything about the 2 outside firms that the Trump Campaign hired to sleuth out actual election fraud but came up dry – Berkeley Research Group and Simpatico, Ken Block – I didn’t see it.

    I find that curious since the indictment is alleging that the conspirators knew the fraud allegations were lies.

    • klynn says:

      Ah, such a great blast from the past!

      And I agree!

      Thinking of that post – man time flies but some things never change!

    • Greenhouse says:

      Oh yes, you do know how much I love that title. That was the first article I read from MTW and the Next Hurrah. I Haven’t strayed since, hurray!!!

  12. ChicagoDD says:

    I haven’t posted in a bit, if my username is wrong pls lmk, sorry Rayne if that is the case; I’ll notate it for future. Question as IANAL: What would DJT’s options be to appeal any verdict/outcome he doesn’t favor to SCOTUS? Could these miscreants be his ultimate backstop?

      • ChicagoDD says:

        And could that include potentially overturning potential state charges/trials/outcomes (GA, NY) as well as these Fed charges? Not clear on purviews/domains.

        • bmaz says:

          A convicted person is pretty much always entitled to appeal, whether in federal or state court. But each appeal is separate and only as to the counts actually convicted on. There are instances where that right can be waived, have not seen that here yet.

          • ChicagoDD says:

            Thx much – maybe I need to clarify part of my Q: If convicted on state-specific charges in, say, GA, does the highest level of appeal available exist and end solely IN Georgia proper, or does SCOTUS then function as an umbrella/superset in the hierarchy of potential appeal (making Thomas/Alito/Brett/all the Goodfellows the “deciders”)?

          • Robot-seventeen says:

            I assume in Federal matters the appeal can be dropped by DoJ (Marc Whitaker, future AG for instance) and nullify any convictions? No need to pardon then.

              • Robot-seventeen says:

                So effectively potential State convictions from Bragg and Willis may be the only ones that stick if Republicans win the Presidency. Would that be an opportunity to test the OLC memo or is that irrelevant for State prosecutions (assuming a Trump win – which I find possible but very unlikely)?

                • theartistvvv says:

                  State convictions could potentially become federal appeals.

                  The OLC memo applies to fed, only.

  13. P’villain says:

    Trump’s main defense seems likely to be that he believed his own BS. As Dr. Wheeler points out, this indictment does a good job of making that defense look absurd.

    • RitaRita says:

      SC Smith anticipated this. On page 7, the indictment states “…deliberately disregarded the truth…”.

      Would Trump take the stand to make this assertion?

    • Rugger_9 says:

      SC Smith has seen it all before over in the Hague, but is also too professional to roll his eyes over the gauche attempt to dodge the accountability. I’m sure his other defendants did it better in their cases.

  14. Richieboy says:

    A quote I thought would get more attention is when Trump said to Pence, “You’re too honest,” after Pence’s continuing refusal to play ball with the certification scheme. That was a jaw dropper for me. It strips away any pretense that Trump believed what he was saying publicly. I thought we’d see it in the headlines today.

    • BRUCE F COLE says:

      Excellent point, and one that Pence himself would be making if he were a candidate of any substance or consequence.

      • Tech Support says:

        To mix metaphors with a little Harry Potter, those three words are the “Golden Snitch” of the Pence testimony. I don’t know if they will actually try get Pence to take the stand, but it would be glorious to have him repeat that out loud in front of a jury.

    • nord dakota says:

      Saw Oppenheimer, started thinking about Roy Cohn and McCarthyism and then Fred and Donald Trump. Seems Roy has cast a very long shadow.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        He was the engine behind McCarthy, but what patron were behind them both is a more interesting question.

        • Norskeflamthrower says:

          “…what patron(s) were behind them both is a more interesting question.”

          It is indeed much more interesting and if you look long enough and hard enough you will find connections that go back to the ’30s and America First and folks like Prescott Bush. Look up Smedley Butler.

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            You mean twice recipient of the Medal of Honor, Marine Corps general, safety director of Philadelphia during Prohibition, exposer of the Business Plot, and the author of War is a Racket? That Smedley Butler? I’ll look him up, thanks.

          • Molly Pitcher says:

            Thank you very much for the tip regarding Smedley Butler and Prescott Bush. It is remarkable, and too similar to current events for comfort.

            My Grand Father and Great Uncle both served in the Connecticut Assembly around the time Prescott Bush was in the US Senate, and there was always political talk at the holidays. I know this is the genesis for my interest in Government and politics. I wish I had been old enough to understand more of what I had heard.

            For anyone interested here is a easily readable telling of the tale.
            https://yesterdaysamerica.com/smedley-butler-and-the-1930s-plot-to-overthrow-the-president/

          • tinaotinao says:

            Huh, I just told my lawyer brother to look him up yesterday to make clear how long the corporatist have been trying to overthrow our government. Thanks Norskeflamthrower and to Molly Pitcher too. I sent her link to him.

  15. RitaRita says:

    I appreciate that the Special Counsel noted that the purpose of exhorting the crowd to go to the Capitol was to attempt to obstruct the proceedings. When I heard Trump on Jan. 6th tell the crowd to march to the Capitol to cheer on Members of Congress, I thought of those old Westerns where the slick, smooth talking bad guy exhorted the mob to go to the courtroom or the jail. Trump wasn’t necessarily inciting violence. But he was inciting interference.

    And I like the fact that the attempt to deprive people of the effectiveness of their vote was generalized.

  16. dadidoc1 says:

    If Donald Trump is convicted of one or more of these conspiracy charges, would he and his co-conspirators then be subject to prosecution for the deaths related to the insurrection and is it even necessary to wait until he’s convicted before charging?

      • SteveinMA says:

        So while I agree with the Earl that no one will nor should go there, I thought that the death penalty could result from a conviction under 18 USC 241 if a death resulted from an act committed in violation of 241. Now Count 4 (the 241 charge) seems to incorporate acts on January 6, so the deaths on January 6 could be construed as stemming from violations of 241. A bridge too far? Probably.

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