January 17, 2021 / by 

 

Three Things: Good, Better, Best News

Let’s mix things up a bit and roll around in some good news for a change, hmm?

~ 3 ~

Arrests continue in wake of January 6 Capitol insurrection and they are both pleasurable and comic.

Mothertrucking racist who waved an enemy flag inside the capitol has been arrested.

Goddamned firefighter arrested for throwing a fire extinguisher at a Capitol Police officer’s head.

Chicago man stupid enough to think he wouldn’t be caught, was caught.

Gratifying to see they are chasing all of these perps to ground. These are only a few I’ve seen in my timeline, but among some of the more egregious insurrectionists. The firefighter is only lucky he didn’t throw that extinguisher hard enough to kill the Capitol Police Officer.

~ 2 ~

Flint may get some justice; former Michigan governor Rick Snyder was charged with two misdemeanor counts of willful neglect of duty in his handling of Flint’s water crisis. Six others were charged as well; the former director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the state’s former chief medical executive were both charged with involuntary manslaughter related to the known dozen deaths of Michiganders who died from Legionnaire’s disease acquired from the city’s contaminated water.

Personally, I think Snyder’s charge is both too light and won’t stick; an entire city’s children were poisoned because he failed to execute his job faithfully, not to mention an increase in fetal deaths. Lead poisoning isn’t like getting the flu — the brain damage it causes may be permanent though the brain can be trained to compensate for some of the damage. Chances are good Snyder will weasel out of the charges because he relied on experts like the director of MDHHS and the chief medical executive.

One of my adult kids was poisoned during the period when Flint’s water was contaminated. They were fortunate their exposure was limited, but it took nearly five years to recover their health and we’re still not certain there won’t be sequelae which haven’t yet emerged. An entire city faces the same challenge, at a minimum; not all those who died of Legionnaire’s were Flint city residents, getting sick in Flint because they had to be in Flint for work or some other reason. There’s a possibility there were more Flint-related deaths which were masked by other chronic illness, but we may never know for sure.

At least these charges are the beginning of the end to the Flint water crisis. I do hope during the course of prosecution that all communications before and immediately following the cutover from Detroit’s water supply to the Flint River will be disclosed. I still suspect something happened the night of the cutover when Detroit made a last pitch to keep Flint on their water system.

~ 1 ~

A new day dawns at Democratic National Committee as Joe Biden gave Jaime Harrison the nod for DNC Chair. His experience will help change the party’s approach to southern states, complimenting the work Stacey Abrams did in Georgia.

There will be grousing from the far left about Harrison’s experience working for Podesta Group and the types of clients served. But Harrison has done what others with similar experience haven’t — organizing and getting out the vote in marginalized communities, zip code by zip code. Will he be more moderate as many Black Americans are across the south? Sure, but leave the policy and legislation to the Democratic majority in Congress; if they can pull off greater successes felt at home and in American’s wallets, the entire base will move more to the left.

We may have a chance to keep the majority and win more seats if Harrison can keep the energy high across the party. We don’t want another 2010 during which we lost an extremely narrow majority in the Senate, ushering in Mitch McConnell’s nightmarish decade of obstruction and social destruction.

~ 0 ~

What other good news is there? Apart from the fact we are now six days away from Biden’s inauguration. Share in comments.


Impeaching Donald John Trump — Again [UPDATE-3]

[NB: Check the byline. Updates will be posted at the bottom. /~Rayne]

The House is now voting on H.R. 24 to impeach Trump for high crimes and misdemeanors.

At 4:24 p.m. ET the vote stands at 228 Yea, 194 Nay, with 11 Not Voting or as-yet uncast votes.

There was a report that no GOP House member from North Carolina was present, which may boost the NV number higher than expected.

~ ~ ~

UPDATE-1 — 4:36 PM ET   — 

House members are being asked if they have voted and if any of them wants to vote. There’s no change.

H.R. 24 passes, 231 Yeas (including 10 GOP votes) to 197 Nays with 5 Not Voting.

Donald John Trump has been impeached a second time during his term, this time for High Crimes and Misdemeanors.

~ ~ ~

UPDATE-2 — 4:50 PM ET —

In comments below I said I’d like to know how many phone calls there were from the White House to GOP reps over the last 24 hours.

Rep. Jason Crow told MSNBC, “I had a lot of conversations with my Republican colleagues. … A couple of them broke down in tears … saying that they are afraid for their lives if they vote for this impeachment.”

Sure sounds like the White House may have extorted Nays from GOP representatives considering the level of fear Crow shared.

In other words, even as the House was preparing to vote to impeach Trump for High Crimes and Misdemeanors, he may well have been committing more crimes.

House whip Steny Hoyer committed to sending H.R. 24 immediately to the Senate for action. What happens next is on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has been making noises which sound supportive of conviction — but this is McConnell, who has so far done nothing during the last four years to the benefit of the country and in defense of the Constitution, sucking up instead to Trump or the corporate donor class.

Who will McConnell suck up to with this resolution? Will he ignore the clear and present danger Trump poses to national security every moment he remains in power between now and noon ET on January 20?

~ ~ ~

UPDATE-3 — 2:25 AM ET 14-JAN-2021 —

The final vote count was 232-197, with the following GOP representatives voting for impeachment:

Adam Kinzinger (IL)
Liz Cheney (WY)
John Katko (NY)
Fred Upton (MI)
Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA)
Dan Newhouse (WA)
Peter Meijer (MI)
Anthony Gonzalez (OH)
Tom Rice (SC)
David Valadao (CA)

Nice that two were from my state, Michigan, and one of the two a freshman; still, Michigan had five Trump-y GOP representatives who voted No.

These members did not vote:

Kay Granger (TX)
Andy Harris (MD)
Greg Murphy (NC)
Daniel Webster (FL)

All four are GOP representatives.

This past weekend Senate Majority Leader toyed around with GOP donors — or perhaps with Trump — indicating he had left Team Trump’s camp.

McConnell spoke to major Republican donors last weekend to assess their thinking about Trump and was told that they believed Trump had clearly crossed a line, the strategist said. McConnell told them he was finished with Trump, according to the consultant.

After the impeachment vote McConnell issued this statement saying the earliest he can start a trial is next week.

It’s not like there’s a clear and present danger to national security in the White House which has encouraged the assassination of the Vice President and members of Congress including the next couple of people in the line of presidential succession.

I wonder what McConnell received in exchange for refusing to move to an emergency session to take up the trial.

I’d also like to know what the big GOP donors think of McConnell’s foot dragging. The number of corporate PACs which have said they won’t donate to seditionist members of Congress has grown and includes Fortune 100 companies; how do they feel about McConnell leaving national security hanging as it is for another week?

House Speaker Pelosi named the impeachment managers Tuesday; the nine House members are a good lineup of attorneys including litigators, public defenders, and prosecutors:

Jamie Raskin (MD), lead
Diana DeGette (CO)
David Cicilline (RI)
Joaquin Castro (TX)
Eric Swalwell (CA)
Ted Lieu (CA)
Stacey Plaskett (VI)
Joe Neguse (CO)
Madeleine Dean (PA)

Let’s hope they make a tight and impactful case for conviction though Trump did a pretty good job all by himself, caught entirely on camera a little after noon on January 6, exhorting the rioters to show strength and march on the Capitol Building.

It’s a pity the seditionist caucus can’t be tried at the same time. Every member of Congress who aided and abetted this insurrection should be expelled; their districts and states deserve better representation from people who take their oath of office seriously, including protecting the Constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic.


Timing Matters: Impeach, Convict, Remove NOW [UPDATE-1]

[NB: Check the byline, thanks. Updates will appear at the bottom of this post. /~Rayne]

Photos taken during the insurrectionist Capitol Building breach on Wednesday showed a lot of riot tourism — “Look at me, Mom!” kind of behavior which causes reparable damage while irritating observers. The jerk sitting in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s chair with his feet on her desk is a perfect example.

But some photos showed participants who weren’t flashy, who weren’t taking selfies. They appeared intent on some objective and they were well equipped, wholly unlike the bare-chested, tattooed Qultist clown Jake Angeli.

Angeli was attention whoring.

This guy was not:

(Believe this is a cropped photo from Getty Images, shared here under Fair Use.)

Malcolm Nance noted this same person was carrying an “olive colored Blackhawk Sherpa pistol holster with a Glock 26 or 43 subcompact pistol w/hogue rubber grips, mace & Flex-cuffs” which is far from the average riot tourist’s gear. There has been speculation it’s not a Glock but a holstered taser, though the consensus appears to be that it’s a weapon.

The photo shows someone intent on doing more than a little light vandalism. They are equipped to kidnap, detain, and possibly hurt or kill someone.

They need to be identified, their situation fully investigated, and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

This isn’t something which should be blown off lightly; this person was in the Senate chamber where two of the next three in line of presidential succession — VP Mike Pence and Sen. Chuck Grassley — had been only moments before, in the same building with third-in-line, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

There were others as well who may not have been quite as well equipped but carrying some gear like plastic zip restraints, suggesting they, too, were intent on seizing members of Congress and staff.

Until an investigation is completed, we don’t know if we haven’t just looked upon an aborted kidnapping and/or assassination attempt.

We don’t know yet how the “mobile bomb factoryfound by law enforcement figured into this picture:

… The chief also confirmed that police recovered two pipe bombs at the Democratic National Committee and Republican National Committee offices. A cooler that contained molotov cocktails also was found on U.S. Capitol grounds, the chief said. Bowser said officials will review video and issue lookout alerts for people who breached the U.S. Capitol, adding that they “need to be held accountable for the carnage.”

Federal agents also are investigating a pickup truck found outside the RNC, according to two people familiar with the investigation.

The truck, parked across the street from the party offices and near the entrance to a Metro station, contained rifles and shotguns, a great deal of ammunition, and other unspecified material, these people said. Federal agents are still trying to determine if that vehicle and its contents are connected to the suspected pipe bombs found earlier, the people said. …

This could have been extremely ugly had riot members been able to occupy and control the Capitol Building through the night.

Trump should not be allowed to pardon these people if he and his associates and family had anything to do with this — like Rudy Giuliani’s incitement calling for “trial by combat” on stage before Trump supporters that day.

The only way to ensure there is no pardon granted by Trump before an investigation is complete is to remove Trump from office.

Immediately.

GOP members of Congress: You need to take this seriously and consider where you and members of your cohort stand. There may be those among them who are complicit, who may have no problem with eliminating their fellow members who aren’t as Trumpist as they are. Until a full investigation is completed there’s no way to know, and no way to protect themselves from a possible second attack-masked-by-riot.

And there’s a second event in the offing. It’s right there in all the chatter online about the January 6 mob.

Impeach, convict, remove Trump NOW, because it’s critical to protecting the continuity of our government under the Constitution about which you swore an oath to defend.

It’s also your skin in the game.

Consider how this scenario looks to others and whether the damage would have been limited to Democratic members of Congress alone.

Next time Congress and the VP might not be so lucky. Remove luck from the equation by removing the source of incitement NOW.

~  ~ ~

UPDATE-1 — 5:10 PM ET —

The Washington Post released video showing the lead up to and the shooting of rioter Ashli Babbit. At least one member of Congress, Rep. Sean Maloney (D-NY-18), is visible at the beginning of the video before they are removed to a secure location and the rioters breach the door.

Impeachment still has traction if slow. Another set of articles of impeachment have been released, this time charging Incitement to Insurrection instead of Abuse of Power. Sorry, I don’t have time right now to type out a transcript, sharing a tweet with screen shots for now.

Pence entered the White House but apparently didn’t speak to Trump, and Sen. Lisa Murkowski is the first GOP senator to demand Trump resign, questioning her own future with the GOP.

One can only hope the news dump zone is kind to us.


Second Impeachment Ahead: Articles Have Been Drafted [UPDATE-3]

[NB: Update(s) at the bottom of this post. /~Rayne]

Representatives David Cicilline, Ted Lieu, and Jamie Raskin have drafted articles of impeachment against Trump which are now circulating among House members.

Here’s a transcript:

         Resolved, That Donald John Trump, President of the
United States, is impeached for high crimes and mis-
demeanors and that the following articles of impeachment
be exhibited to the United States Senate.

Article of impeachment exhibited by the House of
Representatives of the United States of America in the
name of itself and of the people of the United States of
America, against Donald John Trump, President of the
United States of America, in maintenance and support of
its impeachment against him for high crimes and mis-
demeanors.

ARTICLE I: ABUSE OF POWER

          The Constitution provides that the House of Rep-
resentatives “shall have the sole Power of Impeachment”
and that the President “shall be removed from Office on
Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or
other high Crimes and Misdemeanors”. In his conduct of
the office of President of the United States—and in viola-
tion of his constitutional oath faithfully to execute the of-
fice of President of the United States and, to the best of
his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution
of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional
duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed—
Donald J. Trump engaged in high Crimes and Mis-
demeanors by willfully inciting violence against the Gov-
ernment of the United States, in that:

On January 6, 2021, pursuant to the Twelfth
Amendment of the United States Constitution, the Vice
President of the United States, the House of Representa-
tives, and the Senate met at the United States Capitol
for a Joint Session of Congress to count the votes of the
Electoral College. Shortly before the Joint Session com-
menced, President Trump addressed a crowd of his polit-
ical supporters nearby. There, he reiterated false claims
that “we won this election, and we won it by a landslide”.
He also willfully made statements that encouraged—and
foreseeably resulted in—imminent lawless action at the
Capitol. Incited by President Trump, a mob unlawfully
breached the Capitol, injured law enforcement personnel,
menaced Members of Congress and the Vice President,
interfered with the Joint Session’s solemn constitutional
duty to certify the election results, and engaged in violent,
deadly, destructive, and seditious acts.

President Trump’s conduct on January 6m 2021 was
consistent with his prior efforts to subvert and obstruct
the certification of the results of the 2020 presidential
election. Those prior efforts include, but are not limited
to, a phone call on January 2, 2021, in which President
Trump urged Georgia Secretary of State Brad
Raffensperger to “find” enough votes to overturn the
Georgia presidential election results and threatened Mr.
Raffensperger if he failed to do so.

In all of this, President Trump gravely endangered
the security of the United States and its institutions of
government. He threatened the integrity of the democratic
system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power,
and imperiled a coordinate branch of government. He
thereby betrayed his trust as President, to the manifest
injury of the people of the United States.

Wherefore President Trump, by such conduct, has
demonstrated that he will remain a threat to national se-
curity, democracy, and the Constitution if allowed to re-
main in office, and has acted in a manner grossly incom-
patible with self-governance and the rule of law. President
Trump thus warrants impeachment and trial, removal
from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any of-
fice of honor, trust, or profit under the United States.

It’s narrow in scope, doesn’t require investigation and subsequent hearings, because the act of incitement occurred in public and was recorded on video, distributed over broadcast and cable television as well as the internet.

The inclusion of the phone call to Georgia’s Secretary of State illustrates in most minimal fashion a pattern of behavior and intent.

These articles aren’t the only approach being taken to remove Trump. Earlier today both Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Nancy Pelosi called VP Mike Pence to ask for the invocation of the 25th Amendment:

They’ve since made public statements reiterating their demand for the 25th Amendment, and for impeachment leading to removal if the 25th isn’t invoked.

NBC reported earlier that Trump is fragile and feeling betrayed:

Fuck that. Trump is not the United States; Congress is not elected to fluff one delicate snowflake’s dementia-addled ego.

The United States, however, is now fragile, made so by the gross failings of a malignant narcissist in decline, who has spawned an attack on his own country with seditious incitement.

It’s time for Mike Pence to honor his oath to defend the Constitution by invoking the 25th Amendment.

If Pence should fail the republic yet again, it’s time for Congress to impeach, convict, and remove Trump before he does any further damage to this fragile democracy.

~ ~ ~

UPDATE-1 — 8:20 PM ET —

This is not good. It’s been wholly predictable to those who’ve assumed Trump suffers from a progressive neurological disorder like frontotemporal dementia on top of his malignant narcissism — but still not good.

It’s also increasingly urgent.

We need to hold Trump’s cabinet members accountable — including the “principal officers” of departments like the Acting Director in cases where the Director has left the government — for not demanding the invocation of the 25th Amendment. Pence may be resisting invocation but he’s not the only person responsible for its application and execution.

And if Pence and the cabinet aren’t going to address this, then it’s up to Congress to remove Trump from the ability to hurt this country.

All of them — Pence, the cabinet members and principal officers, members of Congress — have sworn an oath to the Constitution. It’s time to protect and defend it by removing Trump from office immediately.

Call your representative and ask them to support articles of impeachment because Trump has incited seditious behavior against the U.S. and he is acting increasingly unstable.

Call your senators and ask them to convict and remove Trump from office upon the presentation of the articles of impeachment from the House because Trump has incited seditious behavior against the U.S. and he is acting increasingly unstable.

Congressional switchboard: (202) 224-3121 — or use Resist.bot.

Time’s of the essence. Go. Leave word in comments if you’d care to share your experience.

~ ~ ~

UPDATE-2 — 10:42 PM ET —

Update on status of impeachment:

House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler supports impeachment and wants it to go directly to the House floor:

Head count is mounting.

The number 200 without context means doodley squat. We need two very specific numbers.

We need 218 House votes, or one more than half of 435. (This may be lower because there are two seats still open IIRC.)

We need 67 Senate votes, or two-thirds of the total 100 seats.

If you manage to reach your representative or senators, ask where they stand on impeaching Trump. Then ask them to support it if they don’t, or thank them if they do.

I hope we have the numbers by morning. What could go wrong the longer Congress drags its feet is incalculable.

~ ~ ~

UPDATE-3 — 12:52 AM ET 08-JAN-2021 —

Two cabinet members, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, have tendered their resignations. Chao’s exit is effective January 11; I haven’t checked DeVos’s exit date. Her resignation could have been effective immediately. Former White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney resigned from his role as Special Envoy for Northern Ireland. Four national security aides quit.

A police officer has died of injuries sustained during the Capitol Building riot. That’s more dead police than the entirety of George Floyd/BLM protests during the summer of 2020.

A family member acknowledged the death of a 34-year-old woman who participated in the Capitol Building riot but was crushed to death. She was likely one of the three accidental deaths tallied so far.

Displeased cabinet and staff members, dead police and mob member…not good, but there was something worse afoot.

Read this entire Twitter thread. And then recall the conspiracy against Michigan’s Gov. Whitmer.

Several accounts on Twitter have noted the rioters could be sorted into two groups: the tourist mob who did sightseeing and some vandalism, and some crypto-paramilitary persons who were prepared to do more than simply take selfies and smash furniture. They came armed with knives and zip ties and may have had more weapons on their persons. They were better masked than most of the tourist rioters.

There have been videos shared which appear to show Capitol Police actively encouraging the mob. Off-duty officers may not only have participated in the rioting but aided the paramilitary participants.

And there have been repeated remarks about coming back on the 19th — “I’d do it again, and I’d have a gas mask next time.

We should not forget there were two IEDs found, one at each of the RNC and DNC offices, as well as a suspicious vehicle which has been characterized as mobile bomb factory.

There were elements inside the rioters who wanted to do more damage and possibly seize and hurt members of Congress along with VP Pence.

We don’t know if they left any preparatory materials behind or whether law enforcement did an adequate sweep considering how poorly prepared they were for the breach of the Capitol Building by rioters.

Trump must be impeached before he can encourage worse. His statement this evening suggests he is willing to encourage more seditious acts, like those at statehouses across the country yesterday while a mob rioted inside the Capitol Building.


Insurrection Be Damned: Congress’s Session Resumed

Let me say up front I’m mentally and emotionally fried. Watching idiotic Trumpist traitors trashing the Capitol Building while depriving a majority of the country of their elected representatives’ honest services just plain sucks.

It’s theft conducted under our noses. Not of an election, because the election is done and the results are known, having been certified by all 50 states and a lack of evidence of voter fraud produced in at least 59 lawsuits contesting the election.

No, the theft was of our time and energy today, our faith in government, and the effort of our elected officials who we are paying to perform specific tasks today as outlined in the Constitution. These poorly-educated, overgrown, mouth-breathing brats stole from us because they are unable to get their way, because they’ve been unwilling to organize and persuade other Americans to join their cause and elect their candidate.

But after their pointless tantrum incited by their equally idiotic leader, they’ve fled the Capitol Building. It’s been swept by the FBI and Congress has resumed their work under Article II, Section 1:

The Electors shall meet in their respective States, and vote by Ballot for two Persons, of whom one at least shall not be an Inhabitant of the same State with themselves. And they shall make a List of all the Persons voted for, and of the Number of Votes for each; which List they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the Seat of the Government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate. The President of the Senate shall, in the Presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the Certificates, and the Votes shall then be counted. The Person having the greatest Number of Votes shall be the President, if such Number be a Majority of the whole Number of Electors appointed; and if there be more than one who have such Majority, and have an equal Number of Votes, then the House of Representatives shall immediately chuse by Ballot one of them for President; and if no Person have a Majority, then from the five highest on the List the said House shall in like Manner chuse the President. But in chusing the President, the Votes shall be taken by States, the Representation from each State having one Vote; A quorum for this Purpose shall consist of a Member or Members from two thirds of the States, and a Majority of all the States shall be necessary to a Choice. In every Case, after the Choice of the President, the Person having the greatest Number of Votes of the Electors shall be the Vice President. But if there should remain two or more who have equal Votes, the Senate shall chuse from them by Ballot the Vice President.

The Senate has now voted to certify the election results for a number of states. Of the original 13 senators who planned to vote against certification, only six refused to certify the election conducted in Arizona.

They are Senators Cruz (R-TX), Hawley (R-MO), Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Kennedy (R-LA), Marshall (R-KS), and Tuberville (R-AL). Many on Twitter are calling them the “Seditious Six.” There may be more joining their ranks as the Senate continues to debate and certify more state election results.

The House is still in debate; there are some doozies offered up from the likes of Matt Gaetz who in his floor speech claimed Antifa had stormed the Capitol Building today.

I do hope Gaetz calls the family of the Trump supporter who was shot and killed today at the Capitol to explain his conspiracy theory. Maybe he can justify her death.

~ ~ ~

Rumors continue that administration officials are looking into invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump due to his inability to do his job. Trump had refused earlier to call up federal resourced to push back the mob and protect Congress; Pence eventually ordered the National Guard to deploy. This may have convinced the unnamed officials more action should be taken but as of an 11:14 p.m. report in The Hill, VP Pence had yet to be approached about the 25th.

The National Association of Manufacturers had already sent a letter encouraging Pence to use the 25th Amendment. The House Judiciary Committee Democrats sent a letter to Pence asking him to pursue the 25th Amendment. It’s doubtful this is enough pressure to persuade Pence and a necessary critical mass of cabinet secretaries or acting heads of cabinet level functions to take action.

Two governors have called for Trump’s removal, and both Twitter and Facebook have placed Trump’s social media accounts on short-term suspension due to his tweeting inciting content violating terms of service. Facebook-owned Instagram, Google’s YouTube, and Snapchat have also removed some of Trump’s inciting content and/or placed his account in suspension.

And of course there are calls for impeachment, many from the Democratic Congressional Caucus. Speaker Pelosi probably won’t budge until she believes a clear majority in the Senate would vote to convict and remove Trump if Pelosi were able to rally the House to impeach.

~  ~  ~

So the House slogs on into the night toward certification of the election. It’s not clear what time exactly the vote will take place, only that Pelosi is committed to working through the night to make it happen.

We’ll continue to feel frustrated like former Obama administration official Ben Rhodes, who said, “If you don’t impeach and remove a President for staging a coup, what’s the point of impeachment.”

We’ll continue to be annoyed by the minimization of Trump’s sedition by moderate Democrats like Sen. Carper:

But we aren’t going to give up. We are a majority who believe in this democracy, many of us in spite of how badly it has treated us and our forebears under white supremacy.

We’re going to remember while we wait that as angry as this situation makes us — watching white supremacists trash the Capitol while noting how little action law enforcement has taken against them — there are Americans who are completely invested in keeping our democracy for us.

From the Black Americans of the Capitol janitorial staff who cleaned up after the seditionist mob left the building:

To the journalists who continued to work in lockdown and in some cases arrested by Capitol Police while they were trying to report on the story unfolding, while allowing those who participated in rebellion and insurrection today to leave Capitol grounds:

And those Congressional staffers who kept it all together:

Especially the cool-headed Senate staffer who remember to grab the ballots from the Senate floor before the mob entered, preventing them from being burned.

Fingers crossed here that the republic still stands in the morning.

~ ~ ~

Oh, one more thing: newly-elected representative Derrick Evans should be expelled from the House:

See 14th Amendment of the Constitution, Section 3:

Section 3
No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

Kick his ass out the door. He doesn’t believe in the Constitution and already failed the oath of office.

~ ~ ~

UPDATE — 1:25 AM ET —

Okay, I lied…I’m still up and glued to my desktop, watching the House.

Please let this be it, the end in sight.


Sedition in Progress: U.S. Senate in Lockdown [UPDATE-9]

[NB: Updates will appear at the bottom of this post. /~Rayne]

Trump-supporting protesters breached the U.S. Capitol building where the joint session of Congress had been underway.

The Senate has been gaveled out and members of Congress evacuated along with VP Mike Pence.

The protesters have now halted and delayed the execution of Article II Section 1 of the Constitution, during which Congress turns over to the President of the Senate — the Vice President of the United States — the certified results of the elections in each of their states for ceremonial acknowledgment of the presidential election’s results.

In short, Trump supporters are engaged in rebellion, insurrection, and seditious conspiracy inside the U.S. Capitol building.

This coup attempt isn’t over.

 

UPDATE-1 — 2:53 PM ET —

Secret Service whisking Pence off the chamber floor here:

Press were asked to secure doors. What the hell does that say about security?

Trump incited this and he’s encouraging it with neglect. There’s no sign Trump has done anything to call up additional security personnel like former AG Bill Barr did this summer to protect Trump during his ridiculous photo op.

 

UPDATE-2 — 3:01 PM ET —

The joint session was still in debate as the video above shows. The session was gaveled out about 2:15 PM ET.

And then Trump tweeted this:

When Congress reconvenes it should immediately move to impeach and then remove Trump from office.

He has failed to uphold his oath of office by obstructing the Constitutional duties of Congress and its President Pro Tempore, by inciting rebellion, insurrection, and sedition.

 

UPDATE-3 — 3:37 PM ET —

Weapons were drawn.

There’s a report of a person shot.

And Ivanka is doing her performative head-patting. (click on date+time in Acosta’s tweet to open)

Put a leash on your demented and lawless father, sweetheart. Anything less is just idle chatter.

Spencer Ackerman’s not getting any response to questions about law enforcement response.

Sure would be nice to know if former AG Bill Barr knew this was coming and quit when he did because of it.

Basically Trump quit without giving notice.

Just finish the job, Congress — impeach and remove his ass.

 

UPDATE-4 — 3:57 PM ET —

Trump has allegedly ordered up the National Guard to respond to the violence in the Capitol. But it’s still pretty rocky inside.

What an absolute disgrace, utterly embarrassing. This is a BBC reporter from India sharing this on Twitter.

 

UPDATE-5 — 4:20 PM ET —

Quite a few people are making similar observations about the response to protesters breaching the capitol building.

Gee, what could possibly be the difference? Whatever it is, it’s visible from abroad.

Yup. The violence we saw this summer was police-driven, not BLM.

 

UPDATE-6 — 4:30 PM ET —

This is some weapons-grade stupid, both the PC left up unsecured, and the idiot intruding in the office taking pictures of this intrusion. (click to open image)

 

UPDATE-7 — 4:46 PM ET —

So Popehat asked…

And lo, there were uninvited Confederates in the White House.


UPDATE-8 — 5:40 PM ET —

There. Are. Bullet. Holes.

Jesus Christ.

At least the FBI SWAT team is now in the building, though specific location details aren’t being shared.

I guess we’re back to watching for the joint session to re-gavel into order though it will only happen after the building has been cleared. There have been claims members of the mob will continue hide out and remain in the building as long as possible.

 

UPDATE-9 — 6:08 PM ET —

From Yahoo News:

By the time the president strengthened his calls for cooperation with the police, his protesters, many of whom were armed and had not passed through a metal detector, had already broken through a police barricade and entered the Capitol’s Statuary Hall. An improvised explosive device was found on the Capitol grounds, NBC News reported, and at least two IED’s were discovered on the 300 and 400 block of Canal St., according to a law enforcement document obtained by Yahoo News.

In his statement to the public this afternoon, Joe Biden said today’s events “borders on sedition.”

What Trump did with his continuing incitement, including his most recent statement to his supporters, was sedition. No toeing the border. He incited rebellion and insurrection to delay and obstruct Constitutional duties of Congress.

As a result of this lawlessness, someone has died.

Congress, impeach and remove Trump before he can do any more damage. Again, he’s literally not doing his job.

Why did Pence have to give the order after having been whisked off the Senate floor??

Updates will be appended here at the bottom of this post.


‘I Just Want to Find 11,780 Votes’

We’re waiting for the state of Georgia to finish counting ballots for the Ossoff vs. Loeffler and the Warnock vs. Perdue U.S. Senate races. I’m sure The New York Times’ needle monitor has been bombarded with traffic. A number of pollsters are calling the races but I’m not going to pay them heed yet.

I’m too afraid of getting my hopes up too high given how many attempts Team Trump and the GOP have made to subvert U.S. elections.

While waiting for the final tallies, I want to look at the transcript from the audio recording of the teleconference between Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Raffensperger, particularly this excerpt:

TRUMP: … And why can’t we have professionals do it instead of rank amateurs who will never find anything and don’t want to find anything? They don’t want to find, you know they don’t want to find anything. Someday you’ll tell me the reason why, because I don’t understand your reasoning, but someday you’ll tell me the reason why. But why don’t you want to find?

I don’t know about you but it sounds like Trump is implying with the right persons permitted access to the ballots, the votes Trump needs to win Georgia would be “found.”

He’s implied he wants a fixer team to resolve his “missing votes” problem since Raffensperger can’t or won’t — how mobster-like, how corrupt.

There’s just so much raw, naked criminality in this one phone call, beyond numerous lies Trump made.

There’s solicitation of a crime — he clearly says he wants to “find” 11,780 votes, a number representing at least one more than the margin by which Joe Biden won Georgia. Trump’s insistent on this point, using the word “find” 23 times over the course of the conversation compared to his Chief of Staff Mark Meadows who says “find” twice but in context of an agreement, and attorney Cleta Mitchell who says “find” once while asking about FBI and Georgia Bureau of Investigation findings.

There’s extortion —  a threat of prosecution and other less specific injury implied against Raffensperger and GA SOS counsel Ryan Germany if the desired votes aren’t “found.”

I’m not the lawyer here at emptywheel, but it looks to me like Trump may have violated federal voting and election law 52 U.S. Code 20511 with his interference in a federal election, depriving or defrauding the residents of a State of a fair and impartially conducted election process.

Trump may have violated Georgia election law 21-2-604, Criminal solicitation to commit election fraud; a presidential pardon won’t weasel him out of this one if GA attorney general Chris Carr or Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis find there’s adequate reason to investigate and prosecute Trump.

Former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti and Moms Demand Action activist Patti Vasquez discussed the tape with MSNBC Legal Analyst Joyce White Vance, former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama in their On Topic podcast. Vance pointed out there was an effort to put “lipstick on the pig,” dressing up the phone call as if there was a legitimate lawsuit about which Trump and his campaign were seeking a settlement with the state of Georgia. But Vance had found no active suit.

Why this effort, including the appearance of an attorney — Cleta Mitchell of lawfirm Foley & Lardner — who wasn’t really Trump’s attorney nor his campaign’s attorney, but compromised enough by her presence during the phone call that her employment was terminated on Monday by Foley & Lardner? This looks deceptive as heck.

Why was White House Chief of Staff Meadows involved at all, discussing an implied agreement in the offing? Yet another Hatch Act violation by a Trump staffer we’re supposed to swallow like a TicTac?

What really bothers me is the practiced ease with which Trump just rolled through this call. We know he tried to pressure Ukraine’s president into investigating Hunter Biden to produce evidence of malfeasance by both Hunter and his father Joe Biden while Biden was VP during the Obama administration. The approach was similar though Trump used bait in the form of aid rather than a threat of prosecution as he did with Raffensperger and Germany. We have yet to see a word-for-word transcript of the 2019 Ukraine call, having instead a memo providing most of the context. Would the full transcript buried in a classified file system sound more like the Trump-Raffensperger call?

How many other calls like this past Saturday’s has Trump made? How many in-person visits making similar solicitation and extortive attempts as well?

Did he use the same technique during that one golf game with Lindsey Graham after which Graham suddenly did an about-face toward Trump, becoming his lap dog?

Let’s not forget that same lap dog also called Raffensperger about finding votes for Trump. Did his call sound like Trump’s except Graham didn’t tweet about it afterward?

I hope we’re going to hear from other states soon whether they, too, were pressured to “find” votes.

And I hope each state pursues an investigation and prosecution where appropriate.


Through Turkey Giblets to the Stars

Sorry about the lack of a Thanksgiving Day post until now. I’ve had my hands stuck up the backside of a 19-pound turkey much of this morning when not busy with chopping, peeling, cooking everything to accompany this unexpected behemoth. My family pod is here and trying to help with the feast but as always it seems the challenges expand to meet the people present.

Like the 5-pound bag of sugar which more closely resembled a giant sugar cube.

Or discovering the turkey still solid like a pink fleshy iceberg.

Or beloved spouse deciding to get a jump on sales and buying 10-pounds of hamburger which must be shaped in to patties and frozen right now, in the middle of the circus in my kitchen.

But I’m thankful to have all of this hubbub today generated by my pod — myself, my spouse, my two kids — all of us healthy, masked, and together for this holiday.

~ ~ ~

Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.
― Winston Churchill

We have an opportunity to kick a fascist autocrat to the curb, thanks to the tireless efforts of people like Stacey Abrams in Georgia, and Ben Wikler in Wisconsin. Thank you to all the new voters they and others like them encouraged to register and vote, all those neophytes who saw the threat for what it was, who see the promise committing to vote can bring. We owe the chance to save Americans’ lives and America’s democracy to these folks.

~ ~ ~

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.
― John F. Kennedy

Never separate the life you live from the words you speak.
― Paul Wellstone

Going forward it’s on us all to repair the damage of this last four years, to remedy base blemishes built upon over time, to scrape away the palimpsest of colonialism and contemporary racism, misogyny, and xenophobia, starting anew with better, inclusive materials.

May our efforts mirror our best intentions as we strive toward a more perfect union.

~ ~ ~

Sometimes our light goes out but is blown into flame by another human being. Each of us owes deepest thanks to those who have rekindled this light.
― Albert Schweitzer

We’ve had some very dark passages and tough times. We are grateful to those who give us reason to continue to work for social justice and economic democracy for all. We are thankful for you, our community.

~ ~ ~

Per aspera ad astra. Gratias tibi.


Three Things: About Emily W. Murphy, GSA Administrator

By now most of you know that the General Services Administration (GSA) still hasn’t signed the the ascertainment determination letter which allows President-elect Biden’s transition team to begin its work within the government to effect an orderly change over to the new administration from the outgoing Trump administration.

The lack of such a letter authorizing access to government resources by the transition team obstructs government funding for transition team salaries, allocation of offices, background checks and other vetting of cabinet level and other nominees.

In 2000 the dispute over Florida’s votes and electors caused the GSA to sign the ascertainment determination later than previous transitions; the delay has been blamed as a factor leading up to the 9/11 attack.

Lack of a signed ascertainment determination now may also prevent the new administration from beginning work immediately on further development and implementation of plans to stem COVID. This may cost Americans’ health and lives.

There’s no good excuse for Murphy not to have signed this letter already since Biden had passed the necessary 270 votes as of November 7.

~ 3 ~

It’s important to keep Murphy’s education and work history in mind with regard to her failure to sign the the ascertainment determination.

Murphy worked for three different chairs of the United States House Committee on Small Business; she also worked in the Small Business Administration, and as Chief Acquisition Officer for the GSA. She’s been around long enough to understand how transitions between administrations work.

Murphy can’t blame the status of the last states’ or lawsuits against states like Michigan, Nevada, and Pennsylvania for her decision to delay the letter. She’s an attorney with a J.D. from University of Virginia School of Law; she can certainly read and understand the cases filed contesting the votes. All were evidence-free or fact-free, or just plain frivolous even to non-attorneys.

She’s fully aware that Trump didn’t have a leg to stand on with regard to the +20 suits filed.

She’s also capable of understanding that the 2000 election cannot be used as an excuse for delaying the transition because the distribution of electoral votes was entirely different then — Florida was a must-win for both candidates. The 2020 election did not pan out that way at all.

Murphy’s refusal to sign the the ascertainment determination must be seen as a deliberate act.

~ 2 ~

Murphy has had an ongoing problem with the lease of the U.S. Postal Office building to Trump Hotels. While she inherited this problem from the previous administrator who bailed out of the role on Inauguration Day 2017 while leaving the issue open, Murphy has failed to resolve the obvious conflict of interest from the time she was appointed in September 2017 until now.

Again, Murphy is an attorney. She should know better.

Worse, Murphy may have misled — pick a euphemism here — the House about this situation while testifying under oath.

Adding insult to injury, Murphy refused to answer questions about the FBI’s headquarters relocation and Trump’s possible involvement. She didn’t claim executive privilege — this might be the lone point during her GSA tenure where she actually applied her law degree — but she flat out said she would “decline to discuss conversations that I may or may not have had with the president or his advisers.

You may also have read Marcy’s post about Mike Flynn’s “wiped” phone; how odd that just two particular individuals who were subjects of an investigation had their GSA-issued phones wiped while the investigation was ongoing.

Again, Murphy’s an attorney. She should understand readily what 18 U.S. Code § 1505 Obstruction of proceedings before departments, agencies, and committees means; she’s perfectly capable of looking up 18 U.S. Code § 1519 Destruction, alteration, or falsification of records in Federal investigations and bankruptcy.

~ 1 ~

The potential for loss of American lives to COVID which might be preventable if the Biden administration can move quickly places an emphasis on speed. Failing to act in a reasonable amount of time could be fatal to Americans who are denied assistance from their federal government because a government functionary refused to do the right thing.

It’s enough to make one wonder if Murphy is a contender for charges of Honest Services fraud (18 U.S. Code § 1346 Definition of “scheme or artifice to defraud”). You may recall that Barb McQuade wrote about the possibility that Trump could be charged with Honest Services fraud with regard to his denial of funding for military aid already committed in the 2019 budget. In Murphy’s case she is denying American citizens the right to timely response from the incoming presidency, at a possible cost of American lives.

If the Biden-Harris administration delivers on a truly independent Department of Justice, Murphy should be worried.

Especially since she’s an attorney who should know better.

Hope she’s applied her J.D. to covering her butt when it comes to some no-bid contracts funded under the CARES Act related to COVID, though we have to ask ourselves if Murphy’s obstructive behavior is intended not only to hurt the Biden-Harris transition, damage the public, and buy Trump more time to undermine American’s faith in democracy, but protect Murphy’s own ass.

~ 0 ~

There have been increasing complaints over the last week about Murphy’s intransigence and calls for her cooperation and compliance with the transition, including an ask by Joe Biden to sign the ascertainment determination letter because the transition is stymied in its effort to work on COVID to save lives.

Murphy, though, is having her imaged buffed though one would imagine this will be about as successful as shining a turd since she’s continuing to neglect her oath to uphold and defend the Constitution, not kiss Trump’s pasty ass.

Nobody cares how you feel, Murphy, when their family members are suffering and dying for lack of federal aid which could be provided promptly by a more effective Biden-Harris administration.

The House has finally decided it needs to hear from Murphy about the holdup:

This follows her silence in response to a letter dated November 9 from House Dems asking why she was styming the transition. I sure hope they ask how someone who graduated from law school and worked as an attorney hasn’t been able to work out from the last 45 transitions how the GSA should already have worked to ensure a peaceful transition of power.

Especially since Murphy has already been putting out feelers for a new job. How odd she hasn’t yet been fired for this when Director of the Presidential Personnel Office Johnny McEntee has been terminating any federal employee who “who show disloyalty by job hunting.”

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) has begun an investigation into Murphy’s footdragging:

Pretty sure they’re not going to like what they find because they’ve already been getting the runaround:

… For the last six months, the GSA and other government agencies have shown a total lack of transparency when it came to following a mandated timeline on presidential transition materials. In June amidst the raging coronavirus pandemic, the agencies failed to include any mention of how the transition would account for the ongoing pandemic, which CREW launched an investigation into. CREW also previously requested presidential transition documents from six agencies, and sued for them after receiving a woefully inadequate response. …

The longer she waits, the worse it’s going to get for her. Murphy’s best bet is to sign the ascertainment determination, unplug from all telecommunications and social media, take an immediate leave of absence for mental health, and go job hunting.


It Didn’t Go Away: COVID, COVID, COVID

Remember Trump’s gaslighting the American public, telling them COVID would simply go away after the election because it was just a hoax?

Right.

It’s still here. By Thanksgiving COVID will have taken more than a quarter million American lives if it continues to kill at a rate of 1,000 more per day.

This is the real hoax, playing out in front of use: Donald Trump is not a leader but a killer who has persistently tried to persuade us we’re imagining these deaths as anything more than a campaign ploy.

The campaign’s over and the cases and deaths are still mounting.

Fortunately we have a president-elect who is taking the pandemic seriously. Biden-Harris transition team has already issued a plan for combating COVID: BuildBackBetter.com/Priorities/COVID-19

While the plan is more of an executive summary at this point, work is already beginning on details:

Doctors Rick Bright, Atul Gawande, Luciana Borio, and Michael Osterholm are expected to be named advisers for Biden’s COVID-19 team.

This is what leadership and competency looks like when American lives are on the line. If nothing is done between now and Inauguration Day, at least another 73,000 Americans will die from COVID. It looks like Biden-Harris are taking this seriously and not treating it like a hoax.

There’s one big wrinkle, though, not of Biden-Harris’s making.

A single person at the General Services Administration is holding up the formal transition process — a Trump appointee who has previously refused to answer the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s questions regarding Trump’s D.C. hotel which operates out of the old U.S. Post Office building.

States are going to suffer for the foot dragging by this lone obstructionist, GSA administrator Emily Murphy, protecting Trump. Red states will be hurt in particular since they are suffering the greatest proportional numbers of COVID cases, in part due to Trump’s campaign rallies. These ten states currently lead in number of cases per million residents:

North Dakota — 79408 cases per million
South Dakota — 67231
Iowa — 49899
Wisconsin — 49356
Utah — 47075
Idaho — 46191
Nebraska — 44716
Florida — 44281
Tennessee — 42816
Mississippi — 42534

When weighed against each states’ population, some of these numbers are obscene. South Dakota’s Gov. Kristi Noem’s weak-sauce advocacy for personal responsibility in lieu of a mask mandate in the face of the Sturgis Motor Cycle Rally during August demonstrated she isn’t capable of leading and protecting her state.

Utah announced Sunday night it’s implementing new restrictions including mandatory masks Monday:

Whether Utahns comply may depend on whether they believe what they are being told by both the state and federal government. At least Gov. Herbert sees ‘masks optional’ or personal responsibility doesn’t work.

For their sakes and their lives, let’s hope Utahns don’t wait for GSA’s Emily Murphy to do her goddamned job. Right now she’s endangering American lives.

Copyright © 2021 emptywheel. All rights reserved.
Originally Posted @ https://www.emptywheel.net/author/rayne/