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House January 6 Committee: Public Hearings – Day 7

This post and comment thread are dedicated to the House January 6 Committee hearings scheduled to begin Tuesday July 12, 2022 at 1:00 p.m. ET.

Please take all comments unrelated to the hearings to a different thread.

The hearings will stream on:

House J6 Committee’s website: https://january6th.house.gov/news/watch-live

House J6 Committee’s YouTube page: https://youtu.be/rrUa0hfG6Lo

C-SPAN’s House J6 hearing page: https://www.c-span.org/video/?521495-1/seventh-hearing-investigation-capitol-attack

C-SPAN’s YouTube page: https://youtu.be/8XNWsLAM1bI

Check PBS for your local affiliate’s stream: https://www.pbs.org/ (see upper right corner)

PBS Newshour stream: https://youtu.be/spJR5Y5_f4c

Twitter is expected to carry multiple live streams (NBC, PBS, Washington Post, Reuters, CSPAN, Bloomberg): https://twitter.com/i/events/1546507157033455617

Broadcast and cable network coverage TBD, check your local broadcast affiliate or cable provider’s lineup.

Twitter accounts live tweeting the hearing:

Marcy’s Twitter thread: https://twitter.com/emptywheel/status/1546903190574071808

Brandi Buchman-DailyKos: https://twitter.com/Brandi_Buchman/status/1546816187996278786

Scott MacFarlane-CBS: https://twitter.com/MacFarlaneNews/status/1546901636249010176

Laura Rozen: https://twitter.com/lrozen/status/1546902778508877827

If you know of any other credible source tweeting the coverage, please share a link in comments.

The witnesses scheduled for today’s hearing are:

Jason Van Tatenhove, former media director for the Oath Keepers

Stephen Ayres, defendant charged and convicted for disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds

There may be other witnesses; some may be present only as video clips. Today’s hearing is expected to focus on relationship between messaging by Donald Trump and the reaction of white nationalist groups Oath Keepers and Proud Boys who were key to breaching the Capitol Building on January 6.

~ ~ ~

Any updates will appear at the bottom of this post; please bear with any content burps as this page may be edited as the day progresses.

Again, this post is dedicated to the House January 6 Committee  and topics addressed in testimony and evidence produced during the hearing.

All other discussion should be in threads under the appropriate post with open discussion under the most recent Trash Talk.

To new readers and commenters: welcome to emptywheel. New commenters, please use a unique name to differentiate yourself; use the same username each time you comment.

Comment policy

Community guidelines

If you are leaving a comment, please be concise; 100 words is the optimum length.

If you are sharing active links your comment may be delayed by auto-moderation.

If contributors and moderators seem slow, it’s because they’re dealing with higher than usual volume of comments including trolling.

Caution: moderators will have much lower tolerance for trolling.

~ ~ ~

Long-time community member harpie isn’t available to participate in the thread here today, but she left two Twitter threads to read in preparation for today’s hearing.

First, from Capitol Hunters:

Second, from J.J. McNab:

Three Things: Something Truck-ed This Way Comes

[NB: Check the byline, thanks. /~Rayne]

If you’re not white you’re not surprised at expressions of hate in our society. There are frequent demonstrations in the form of microaggressions white folks often miss.

Sometimes they’re more obvious, like racist tagging on buildings or even more obvious like the noose once left in a friend’s front yard tree, or direct confrontation experienced by another friend and their family who trapped in their car by racists yelling at them and beating on their vehicle. Many of these expressions never make the local news and might not even be reported to police for fear of making things worse.

But overt signs of hate, the kind to which even white people notice and take exception, didn’t appear as frequently in the news until Donald Trump took the White House.

Now increasingly everyone can see the wretchedness out in the open, waving its stars and bars, screaming hateful epithets at persons who aren’t cis-het white.

Like the insurrectionists waving Confederate flags outside and in the Capitol building on January 6, 2021.

Like the neo-Nazis’ demonstration in Orlando, Florida this past February.

And then the usual Republican DARVO response – Deny, Attack, and Reverse Victim and Offender – when confronted with these hateful expressions.

In February, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ aide Christina Pushaw accused the Democrats of being neo-Nazis followed by DeSantis playing victim by accusing Democrats of smearing him about the neo-Nazis.

Yet nothing about DeSantis’ office’s response discouraged another future demonstration with attacks on passersby.

The hate’s all out there in the open – and it’s escalating.

It’s no longer restraining itself to minorities, either; it may also be a component of hybrid warfare intent on demoralizing a substantive number of Americans while embedding and normalizing itself in our communities.

~ 3 ~

On Saturday evening December 4, 2021, a white nationalist group — the Patriot Front (PF) — gathered in Washington DC and paraded in numbers along the Mall before hopping into U-Haul trucks and driving away.

The group is a spin-off from Vanguard America which took part in the hate rally in Charlottesville VA in 2017.

PF has had numerous pop-up events; the Anti-Defamation League has documented their activity across the country from propaganda to rallies. The December 4 event was in the same vein.

There were many calls to avoid giving this fascist organization any air time, and more calls to ridicule them as unserious.

… This weekend in Washington, a ridiculous white supremacist boys club called Patriot Front dressed up in matching outfits to make themselves look like menacing middle managers of an electronics store. They got their white nationalist flags and their little shields and their khakis and their shin guards and they marched from the Lincoln Memorial down the national mall in what was supposed to be a white supremacist show of force in the nation`s capital. …

(source: Rachel Maddow, MSNBC )

But the December 4 event should have given us pause, especially 11 months after the January 6 Capitol Building insurrection.

— PF didn’t have a permit for their demonstration;

— They amassed a large number of participants in a short time with little-to-no advance notice to the public;

— They used at least one smoke bomb during their demonstration;

— Their rally took place in the same area the insurrectionists gathered and traveled from the January 6 speeches at the Ellipse to the Capitol Building;

— Police presence was a fraction of the number of PF rally attendees, with many on bikes;

— It was difficult to tell whether police were protecting or monitoring PF attendees.

Not only were folks left of center insisting PF’s rally not be treated as a valid expression of dissent, but they encouraged laughing at their normcore appearance which included not only khaki pants and ball caps but white neck gaiter masks.

Where have we seen so many white men wearing white fabric masks over their faces not to prevent infection but to hide identity while displaying a unified identity?

The December 4 event and other earlier PF events like this one may have looked performative, like costume players merely dressing as contemporary fascists, but the entire effort made a point and may have been proof-of-concept for some other future effort.

In other words, what’s to stop another group which is armed from beginning an assault on Washington DC in exactly the same way?

Enclosed box trucks show up, their contents not visible to anyone on the street including law enforcement; the occupants jump out wearing similar outfits and shields but this time concealing firearms and other weapons; they march to their intended destination and deploy a smoke bomb at first to mask another explosive device or to mask their weapons.

On December 4 they made it clear they could do this.

I’d have been less worried about these normcore shock troops but persons with more expertise have likewise expressed concern.

~ 2 ~

All of the above I wrote months ago, beginning a draft in December after the PF event in D.C., revising the draft after yet another PF rally on January 8, 2022 when PF participated in the March for Life anti-abortion rally in Chicago IL.

Clearly I should have published what I had at the time, ahead of yesterday’s arrest of 31 PF members in Coeur d’Alene ID for conspiracy to riot at a scheduled Pride parade.

Though Coeur d’Alene police were in contact with federal law enforcement, it was CADPD which handled the arrest and charging of the PF members.

Only one person of the 31 arrested was from Idaho; the rest were from across the U.S. — Washington, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Colorado, South Dakota, Illinois, Wyoming, Virginia, and Arkansas — though the bulk were from West and Midwest states.

Like the December 4, 2021 PF rally in DC, CADPD found PF brought riot gear, one smoke grenade, shin guards and shields.

No firearms have been mentioned in any reports, but this event could have been bad had PF arrived and violence triggered if locals were carrying weapons.

There have been no federal charges, yet; it’s not clear if any federal laws were broken. Traveling across state lines might be a factor.

It’d be easy to brush this off as just another stunt by cosplayers on a sunny summer Saturday afternoon, except the number of events like this and the corresponding propaganda by PF have exploded.

(source: ADL report: White Supremacist Propaganda Spikes in 2020)

More than 80% of that uptick was PF’s work. Where are they going with this besides demoralizing much of the country?

~ 1 ~

There’s been some confusion in left-of-center social media about Patriot Front and the Proud Boys, some mistaking one for the other. They are different groups with overlapping if not identical ideologies.

Patriot Front

Proud Boys

Launched: 2017 (spun off from Vanguard) Launched: 2016
Ideology:

  • Patriot Front is a white supremacist group whose members maintain that their ancestors conquered America and bequeathed it to them, and no one else.
  • Patriot Front justifies its ideology of hate and intolerance under the guise of preserving the ethnic and cultural origins of its members’ European ancestors.

(source: ADL’s backgrounder)

Ideology:

  • The Proud Boys are a right-wing extremist group with a violent agenda. They are primarily misogynistic, Islamophobic, transphobic and anti-immigration. Some members espouse white supremacist and antisemitic ideologies and/or engage with white supremacist groups.

(source: ADL’s backgrounder)

Their xenophobia, antisemitism, and misogyny are their primary shared attributes along with racism to varying degrees.

We’ve now seen what the Proud Boys have been willing to do which Patriot Front have not yet engaged in — participation in events which can become violent. Yesterday’s Pride parade in Coeur d’Alene could have become a crossover event had Team PF not been arrested ahead of their destination.

What’s problematic, though, is the slack Proud Boys have been allowed. They’ve been treated like other civic and community organizations when their core ideology is hate. Buhl, Idaho allowed the Proud Boys to participate in a parade last summer:

The Times-News reports that Proud Boys members were among about 100 floats in the Sagebrush Days parade that went through the center of town.

The Buhl Chamber of Commerce runs the parade but wouldn’t comment specifically about the Proud Boys taking part.

“At this time the Buhl Chamber (of) Commerce will not feed into any negative propaganda,” the group said in a statement to the newspaper. “The Buhl 2021 Sagebrush Days parade saw 90 plus entries who celebrated in a courteous and civil manner. The Buhl Chamber takes pride in welcoming all participants, while giving them the opportunity to celebrate our great nation.”

“will not feed into any negative propaganda” meaning what, they weren’t going to allow anyone to bash Buhl’s Chamber of Commerce, or they weren’t going to let anyone bash the Proud Boys?

So long as Buhl allows the Proud Boys to participate in a community event, there’s no daylight between Buhl and the Proud Boys.

Ditto for Scotland, South Dakota which had agreed to allow the Proud Boys to host a street dance in their town though the Proud Boys backed out due to unspecified security concerns.

Both communities have validated and legitimized a hate group by allowing them equal footing with the rest of their community.

Would they have done so with Patriot Front had they taken the same approach as the Proud Boys rather than showing up in a U-Haul panel van after publishing comments online which could be construed as an expressed intent to riot?

Are these two hate groups testing the waters to see where they can establish a foothold and grow their organizations? Or has there been something more hateful in the offing?

Why yes, there was — where PF was stopped from harassing a Pride event in Idaho, the Proud Boys had already stormed a public library to halt a Drag Queen story hour in San Lorenzo, California, scaring families with children by shouting hate-filled diatribes at attendees.

Alameda County sheriff’s department escorted the Proud Boys out of the venue.

Between the two groups at these two different locations on the same day, they now know they can get away with their harassment if they restrain themselves to smaller numbers and target families with children, or attack larger groups if they use more operations security.

~ 0 ~

When I first set out months ago to write about PF, I had also wanted to discuss harassment of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and the truck convoys. Both are examples of the spread of overt expressions of hate, the first being racist and the second being socio-economic. Whatever was driving the attacks on HBCUs and the convoys has eased for now. I wouldn’t be one bit surprised if foreign influence operations were the primary drivers.

However we have plenty to focus on immediately with the domestic influence operations these two hate groups are engaged in which must be stopped.

PF, by the way, still has an active Twitter account and a Twitter account used as a follow hub.

House January 6 Committee: Public Hearings – Day 1 [UPDATE-1]

[NB: Any updates will be published at the bottom of this post. /~Rayne]

This post and comment thread are dedicated to the House January 6 Committee hearings scheduled to begin Thursday June 9, 2022, at 8:00 p.m. ET.

Please take all comments unrelated to the hearings to a different thread.

The hearings will stream on:

House J6 Committee’s website: https://january6th.house.gov/news/watch-live

House J6 Committee’s YouTube page: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZ0yNe3cFx4

C-SPAN’s House J6 hearing page: https://www.c-span.org/video/?520282-1/open-testimony-january-6-committee

C-SPAN’s YouTube page: https://www.youtube.com/c/C-SPAN/featured

Check PBS for your local affiliate’s stream: https://www.pbs.org/ (see upper right corner)

Twitter is carrying multiple live streams (NBC, PBS, Washington Post, Reuters, CSPAN, Bloomberg): https://twitter.com/i/events/1533876297926991877

MSNBC will carry coverage on their cable network with coverage beginning at 7:00 p.m. ET as well as on MSNBC’s Maddow Show podcast feed. Details at this link.

ABC, NBC, CBS will carry the hearings live on broadcast and CNN will carry on its cable network.

Fox News is not carrying this on their main network. Their weeknight programming including Tucker Carlson’s screed will continue as usual and will likely carry counterprogramming.

Twitter accounts live tweeting the hearing tonight:

Brandi Buchman-DailyKos: https://twitter.com/Brandi_Buchman/status/1535034512639512576

Scott MacFarlane-CBS: https://twitter.com/MacFarlaneNews/status/1535050143879266306

Chris Geidner-Grid News: https://twitter.com/chrisgeidner/status/1535052708922937345

JustSecurity’s team live tweeting: https://twitter.com/just_security/status/1534955708881457154

If you know of any other credible source tweeting the coverage, please share a link in comments.

Marcy will not be live tweeting as the hearing begins 2:00 a.m. IST/1:00 a.m. UTC/GMT. She’ll have a post Friday morning Eastern Time. Do make sure to read her hearing prep post, though.

An agenda for this evening’s hearing has not been published on the committee’s website.

~ ~ ~

Any updates will appear at the bottom of this post; please bear with any content burps as this page may be edited as the evening progresses.

Again, this post is dedicated to the House January 6 Committee  and topics addressed in testimony and evidence produced during the hearing.

All other discussion should be in threads under the appropriate post with open discussion under the most recent Trash Talk.

To new readers and commenters: welcome to emptywheel. New commenters, please use a unique name to differentiate yourself; use the same username each time you comment.

Comment policy

Community guidelines

If you are leaving a comment, please be concise; 100 words is the optimum length.

If you are sharing active links your comment may be delayed by auto-moderation.

If contributors and moderators seem slow, it’s because they’re dealing with higher than usual volume of comments including trolling.

Caution: moderators will have much lower tolerance for trolling.

~ ~ ~

UPDATE-1 — 7:30 P.M. ET 10-JUN-2022 —

According to Scott MacFarlane-CBS there will be a total of six House J6 Committee hearings this month.

House J6 Committee hearing schedule (as of eve 6/10/2022):

Monday June 13 — Hearing: On the January 6th Investigation
10:00 AM | 390 Canon HOB
Host: Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack

Wednesday June 15 — Hearing: On the January 6th Investigation
10:00 AM | 390 Canon HOB
Host: Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack

Thursday June 16 — Hearing: On the January 6th Investigation
1:00 PM | 390 Canon HOB
Host: Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack

Tuesday June 21 — Hearing: On the January 6th Investigation
**10:00 AM ET | Date-Time-Place Subject to Confirmation**
Host: Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack

Thursday June 23 — Hearing: On the January 6th Investigation
**8:00 PM ET | Date-Time-Place Subject to Confirmation**
Host: Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack

Date, time, and location of the next three hearings have been published on the U.S. House of Representatives’ calendar. The last two have not yet been confirmed and published.

Roger Stone Denies Palling Around with Alleged Terrorists [on January 6]

On Sunday, the NYT had a really good piece showing that six members of the Oath Keepers that “guarded” Roger Stone on January 5 and 6 went on to participate in the insurrection. Curiously, most don’t obviously show up in the FBI BOLO pictures and the face of at least one was cut off in a larger picture of Oath Keepers, which I suspect means the FBI doesn’t want to advertise any interest they have in them.

Even before the NYT report, in response to CNN and ABC reporting on his ties to the Oath Keepers, Stone wrote a rebuttal disclaiming any tie to their actions on January 6.

The rebuttal starts and ends with lies about the Mueller investigation, claiming they found no proven link with WikiLeaks when in fact the release he talks about showed multiple ongoing investigations (that is in March 2019) into his role in the Russian CFAA hack, and then claiming he was investigated for treason, and not conspiracy.

These are the very same news outlets who failed to report that their previous claims against me – that I was aiding the Russian state or a collaborator with Wikileaks proved to be completely false according to the US Justice Dept. Those who made those accusations failed to report the court-ordered disclosure by the DOJ, the last actions of Mueller’s report in which they admitted they had no such evidence whatsoever and even if they had proven a link between me and Wikileaks, which they found no evidence of, those activities would not have been illegal.

[snip]

The very same fake news media outlets who defamed me and insisted falsely that I was guilty of treason and other high crimes and then failed to acknowledge that an unlimited $30 million-dollar investigation provided no such evidence now seek to use me a clickbait and an easy target with entirely false allegations that I had any role whatsoever in the politically stupid, destructive and illegal acts that took place at the US Capitol on January 6th.

So we should assume that in spite of Stone’s self-publicized recommitment to Catholicism, he continues to lie as blatantly as he always has.

Consider how he denies any involvement in events that have been charged — against the Oath Keepers as well as against Stone’s buddies in the Proud Boys — as a conspiracy to hinder the official proceeding of counting the certification of the Electoral College vote. One strand of his defense is that he didn’t leave the hotel on January 6 until he left for his plane (reportedly, because his speech at the rally had been cut).

These jackals in the media, who know better, again make baseless accusations against me using conjecture and “guilt by association” to imply that I was somehow involved in the illegal events of January 6th. I was not present, I knew nothing about them and denounced them on my now-defunct PARLER feed when I saw the images on TV.

The claims by these so-called journalists are categorically false as I was not present on the Ellipse, did not march to the Capitol, was not on the Hill and, like AOC was not at the Capitol that day.

In fact, other than the brief moments out in front of the Williard Hotel which CNN falsely reported I was departing from, I never left the Williard Hotel property because Hotel management prohibited congregating in the lobby due to the Mayor’s Covid 19 restrictions. Therefore I never left the hotel property on January 6th until leaving for Dulles Airport around 6:00 P.M.

[snip]

In fact, I never left the grounds of the Willard Hotel.

I stepped outside briefly when the hotel objected to anyone congregating in the lobby due to Covid-19 declarations by the Mayor.

Of course, that’s only a denial about his actions on January 6. The conspiracies charged against the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys began weeks earlier, in preparation.

He spends a good deal of time denying he knew of any wrong-doing from the Oath Keepers and — thrown in once almost as an afterthought — the Proud Boys.

CNN rushes to characterize the Oath Keepers as criminals, which I have not seen any evidence of, and to my knowledge has never been proven in any court. I reserve the right to change my opinion if anything surfaces, which I am unaware of today. Based on what I have seen to date, ABC, CNN, and all of the low-rent left-wing advocacy news/smear sites are engaged in one vicious “guilt by association” campaign of distortion and baseless conjecture.

[snip]

If the Oath Keepers are the terrorists as some in the media claim and were involved in the planning and execution, I was not aware of any such thing.

[snip]

I know of no wrongdoing by the Oathkeepers or the Proud Boys.

But he’s talking about whether they are criminals, terrorists, or engaged in wrong-doing, not if they engaged in a concerted plan to disrupt the counting of the Electoral College vote.

He does, ultimately, say that if there’s credible evidence of a conspiracy against them, they should be charged for that (in statements on Parler that have since been deleted, he condemned the violence).

If there is evidence of that and if individual members of the organization committed unlawful acts, they should be prosecuted. If new credible information surfaces that reveals a conspiracy, everyone involved in such a conspiracy should be prosecuted.

It’s that line about a conspiracy I find most curious, given thats what has been charged. In the video from January 6, someone asks him if “we have this today.” He responds, seemingly acknowledging common understanding of what “this” is, “We shall see.” That’s the kind of intent that shows up in social media that DOJ has cited in charging documents.

More interestingly, Stone admits he raised money for security for January 6 (an observation MoJo’s Dan Friedman made), but says that the people guarding him were, instead, volunteers. The Oath Keepers’ recruiting post for the day actually invoked Stone’s name in talking about their “security” function.

Just as we have done at all the previous rallies in DC since the election, Oath Keepers volunteers will be conducting PSDs for multiple high profile speakers over both days, and our teams will be either directly responsible for event security or assisting event security on both days.   We will also have roving teams out that will be on the lookout for Antifa/communist terrorists who like to attack the weak and vulnerable.  We will be providing free security escorts to any patriot who needs one, into the night.   Just be on the lookout for men wearing our Oath Keepers hats, shirts, or patches, and ask them for help, and they will help you.    Our ethos is “first ones in, last one’s out” and we will stay out as late as we have to in order to keep the vulnerable safe from Antifa street thug terrorists.

As always, while conducting security operations, we will have some of our men out in “grey man” mode, without identifiable Oath Keepers gear on.   For every Oath Keeper you see, there are at least two you don’t see.   That keeps the bad guys uncertain of how many of us there are, or where we are.

Over the years, Oath Keepers has conducted hundreds of highly successful volunteer security operations all over the nation, protecting patriots from communist terrorist assault.  From the streets of Berkely, [sic] CA (two separate rallies), to Portland, Boston, Washington DC (six times and counting), Dallas, Austin, Sacramento, etc, including providing volunteer security escorts outside twelve Trump campaign rallies, and many PSD details for high profile VIPs, such as Roger Stone, as well as many elected officials and election fraud whistle-blowers and patriot office holders.   Our men are skilled “quiet professionals” who take pride in doing their work efficiently and effectively, without drama. [my emphasis]

Remember: way back during Stone’s Stop the Steal 2016 incarnation, there were questions about the propriety of his fundraising, and the government showed at Stone’s trial that Stone was asking Rick Gates for lists and asking Steve Bannon, while he was Campaign CEO, for help getting funding from Rebekah Mercer. This time around, he explicitly raised money, but says it didn’t get spent, on what would be funds for people who ended up having a key role in the attack.

For conspiracies that started months ago, the question is not whether Roger Stone was at the Capitol swinging a baseball bat on January 6. The question is whether he entered into an agreement to disrupt the constitutionally mandated official event of counting the votes and took overt acts — before January 6 or on that day — to advance that goal.

The Soft Bigotry of Expecting the Commander in Chief to Only Tweet

Based on what source does the lawyer for Donald Trump — a client who never listened to security briefings when he used to be President — state (in an interview with Maggie Haberman, but not in his written defense) that the January 6 insurrectionists planned their attack in advance?

Mr. Schoen pointed to another potential argument that could help Mr. Trump, one not related to free speech: that at least some of the Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol planned their attack in advance, suggesting that Mr. Trump was not the inciting force.

“I have no reason to believe anyone involved with Trump was in the know,” he said of the violence that unfolded at the Capitol.

This defense doesn’t help Doug Schoen as much as he thinks. After all, the House brief lays out how, even before the Proud Boys were overtly planning for the insurrection (and meeting with Lindsey Graham and finding a spot on a tour of the White House), Trump had called on the extremist group to

During a debate on September 29, for instance, he told the Proud Boys— a violent extremist group with ties to white nationalism—to “stand back and stand by.”48

[snip]

On January 2, for example, Fox News reported on a social media declaration by Proud Boys Leader Enrique Tarrio that the Proud Boys would come to the January 6 rally prepared for violence.59 Another Proud Boys organizer said, “We are going to smell like you, move like you, and look like you. The only thing we’ll do that’s us is think like us! Jan 6th is gonna be epic.”60

As someone who has spent much of the last four weeks tracking what is publicly known about the terrorist attack, anyone following closely enough to know how the Proud Boys, especially, plotted in advance also knows that Trump was coordinating with them going back months and his rat-fucker Roger Stone was coordinating with them even longer, also knows that the mobs breaking into the Capitol timed their move closely with (among other things) Trump’s speech, and knows as well that Trump and Rudy were both coordinating with events on the Hill using the mob as a delaying tactic.

But Schoen seems to be considering talking about what someone who refused briefing knew and did not know about an attack while he was still President.

I especially find Schoen’s certainty about what an ongoing investigation shows given a fairly remarkable passage in the House trial brief. There’s an 11-paragraph section describing, “President Trump’s Dereliction of Duty During the Attack.” The first describes how Trump watched in delight.

As armed insurrectionists breached the Capitol—and as Vice President Pence, the Congress, and the Capitol Police feared for their lives—President Trump was described by those around him as “borderline enthusiastic because it meant the certification was being derailed.”141 Senior administration officials described President Trump as “delighted” and reported that he was “walking around the White House confused about why other people on his team weren’t as excited as he was as you had rioters pushing against Capitol Police trying to get into the building.”142

But it’s another five paragraphs before the House brief mentions that Trump was the Commander in Chief.

During this time, not only did President Trump fail to issue unequivocal statements ordering the insurrectionists to leave the Capitol; he also failed in his duties as Commander in Chief by not immediately taking action to protect Congress and the Capitol. This failure occurred despite multiple members of Congress, from both parties, including on national television, vehemently urging President Trump to take immediate action.

That is, the House brief focuses on what Trump did or didn’t tweet, and what victims he never called (while calling Tommy Tuberville to coordinate his delaying tactics).

But it barely mentions that Trump sat in the White House watching an attack on the Nation’s Capitol — one his lawyer now suggests he had some knowledge of — and he did literally nothing to intervene. True, there is a thoroughly unreliable Vanity Fair piece quoting Trump’s flunkies claiming that Trump made preparations the night before. But that account doesn’t match the known events, nor does it accord with the long delay in deploying the Guard troops.

In the middle of the impeachment case against Trump is a tacit admission not just that Trump did nothing as he watched a terrorist attack on the Capitol, but no one expected him to be able to do more than Tweet.

The former President’s defense claims, with no proof, that he faithfully executed his duty to protect and defend the Constitution and served to the best of his ability.

To the contrary, at all times, Donald J. Trump fully and faithfully executed his duties as President of the United States, and at all times acted to the best of his ability to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, while never engaging in any high Crimes or Misdemeanors

[snip]

It is denied he betrayed his trust as President, to the manifest injury of the people of the United States. Rather, the 45th President of the United States performed admirably in his role as president, at all times doing what he thought was in the best interests of the American people. The 45th President believes and therefore avers that in the United States, the people choose their President, and that he was properly chosen in 2016 and sworn into office in 2017, serving his term to the best of his ability in comportment with his oath of office.

Perhaps that’s right. But if that’s true, it’s a confession that when the nation’s capital came under attack, Trump was helpless to do the least demanded of him as Commander in Chief.

Yes, the case against Trump is deeply rooted in his Tweets inciting terrorists and he should be impeached based just on those and his speech. But along the way, all sides seem to admit that Trump didn’t even consider doing anything as Commander in Chief as the country was attacked.

The Mob Party

Responding to the calls for understanding coming from unctuous Republicans, I have once again made an effort to understand the freak show that is the Republican party of today. Tradition dictates a separation between the relatively normal politicians, people like Mitt Romney, Brad Raffesnperger, and Susan Collins, and the rabble we call the base of the party. This is an artificial distinction. The entire party fears and loves the base, or at least tolerates it, because the base is their sole hope for power.

There are two parts to the base: the action wing and the support wing.

The support wing is composed of two parts: Sympathizers, those who agree with the action wing but haven’t yet joined in because of age or fear of consequences; and Normies, who really can’t stand any of the rest but need their votes to gain power. Even the vulgar Trump thought his Capitol rioters were low class.

The action wing consists of three main groups, the QQQrazies, the Evangelical Militants, and the Armed Thugs. The QQQrazies are a crowd of gullible people sucked into a reality-denying mash-up of recycled blood libels created by an anonymous Q. [1] The principal lie is a fantasy lurking in the diseased parts of society and translated into less obvious anti-Semitism. The QQQrazies believe certain Democratic politicians and liberal elites drink the blood of children, or use them in some hideous satanic ritual, or keep them for sexual abuse, and that Trump is going to arrest them and either hang them in a public spectacle, or send tham to Guantanamo. Or maybe both. The idea that Trump would lift a finger for anyone besides himself is laughably stupid.

The Evangelical Militants are discussed in detail here. The Elmer Gantries from the religio/political segment of Evangelicals decided that The Almighty sent Trump to lead the way to the New Jerusalem. They authorized and directed their flocks to vote for a thrice-married, porn-star screwing, narcissistic reality TV performer, and then doubled down at every step of Trump’s increasingly obvious fascism. Then they authorized their flock to support his insurrection.

Most of these Evangelical Militants and QQQrazies are relatively harmless. They served as fodder in the Capitol Insurrection, and provided cover for the real dangers, the Armed Thugs. This group includes the Proud Boys, the 3 Percenters. the Oath Keepers, the Boogaloo Bois, and the wannabes like a the dolts on TheDonald.win, now Patriots.win. The Armed Thugs also include other militias like the people who attacked the Michigan legislature, and those who allegedly hatched plans to murder the Governor of Michigan. Trump worked to prevent law enforcement from keeping close watch on these people, insisting that right-wing terrorism was nothing compared to Antifa, whatever that is. It’s becoming clear that the Armed Thugs were the really dangerous people in the Capitol Insurrection.

The active wing of the Base is not interested in politics. They just want what they want. [2] They have no actual policy goals, and no reason to seek power, except to deny it to others.

So far, I’ve just described the Base. On its own, it’s a formless mob, capable of eruptions of violence and individual acts of terror but not an existential threat to democracy. Like any mob, it needs leadership before it becomes truly dangerous. So I turn to the organizational structure.

Trump is the Capo dei Capo, the undisputed and only leader. The mob is devoted to him, attentive to his every word, his every desire.

His Consigliere are Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz. They are both graduates of elite universities and law schools, and served in SCOTUS clerkships. Cruz earned his bona fides by kissing the ring after Trump insulted his father and his wife in ugly personal terms; he’s a weakling. Hawley never crossed Trump. He’s a self-motivated lickspittle. They create spurious arguments that serve as crutches for the weaker Republican Senators, who use them as a pretend justification for their own ring-kissing.

The muscle is provided by Lauren Boebert and Marjorie Taylor-Greene, who carry big guns and talk like gangsters about their rights and the magnificence of their Capo.

Matt Gaetz is Fredo. There are also many sub-Fredos. There’s Mo Brooks and Madison Cawthorn, who showed up at Trump’s incitement rally to scream at the mob to go forth and defend freedom against the grave danger posed by majority rule. There’s Rudy Giuliani, sweating in the role of the horse’s behind, the part with no head. There’s the Trump spawn, Don Jr and Eric, who hold coats and pretend to be real boys.

There it is folks, the Party of Lincoln has devolved into the Mob Party.
=====
[1] Apparently our vaunted spies can’t figure out who Q is.
[2] Astonishingly, 19 of the insurrectionists were elected officials according to the New York Times. Also, there were cops and military among the rioters.

The Selfie Cops: Obstructing an Official Proceeding

Yesterday, DOJ unsealed an indictment against the two selfie cops, Thomas Robertson and Jacob Fracker. The two were originally charged on January 12 — among the first to be charged — after they shared pictures of their exploits with colleagues at the Rocky Mount, VA police department, who in turn alerted the FBI.

Both are military veterans and Fracker remained in the VA National Guard when he was arrested.

The two were originally charged with two trespassing charges, 18 USC 1752 and 40 USC 5104. But the indictment adds the more serious obstruction charge DOJ has used against other more dangerous defendants, 1512(c)(2), along with an aiding and abetting charge for the same, 18 USC 2. That’s a felony that, if they’re convicted, will mean the two men will no longer be able to own guns (and probably won’t work in law enforcement anymore).

I want to look at how DOJ seems to be using that charge, because I expect more people will have it added as their case move to indictment.

The charge is an unusual application of what is normally treated as a witness tampering statute, which most people think of in conjunction with investigations and prosecutions. But the certification of the vote is every bit as much an “official proceeding” as an investigation or trial is. The standard boilerplate being used in insurrectionist charging documents establishes that the vote certification was suspended from 2:20PM, literally minutes after rioters first breached the Capitol, until shortly after 8PM.

Shortly thereafter, at approximately 2:20 p.m. members of the United States House of Representatives and United States Senate, including the President of the Senate, Vice President Mike Pence, were instructed to—and did—evacuate the chambers. Accordingly, the joint session of the United States Congress was effectively suspended until shortly after 8:00 p.m. Vice President Pence remained in the United States Capitol from the time he was evacuated from the Senate Chamber until the sessions resumed.

Up until the indictment against the cops was unsealed, DOJ had used the 1512 charge primarily with people who, in their charging documents, were shown to have done more (there were around 28 before these cops were charged with it). They include:

  • The Oath Keeper defendants
  • Many of the Proud Boy defendants
  • Some, but not all the people, who were accused of assault, damaging property, or interfering with cops
  • Those — like Gina Bisignano and Riley Williams — who were organizing traffic
  • People — like William Calhoun — whose promise of violence and intent to interfere with vote counting was explicit
  • People — like Leo Kelly — who got to the Senate or Speaker’s lobby (though not all who did were charged with 1512)

Aside from serving as a way to bring felony charges against a defendant, perhaps because the government believes the person to be a greater threat, there’s no clear rhyme or reason to this.

The primary hint of the Selfie Cops doing something like that came, after the fact, in boasts from Robertson claiming to have “attacked the government.”

“CNN and the Left are just mad because we actually attacked the government who is the problem and not some random small business … The right IN ONE DAY took the f***** U.S. Capitol. Keep poking us.” He also stated that he was “proud” of the photo in an Instagram Post that was shared to Facebook, because he was “willing to put skin in the game”

But it is also the case that the initial complaints seemed to function as a kind of triage, a way to get participants in the insurrection into the legal system to allow more focused investigation of them. Undoubtedly, the FBI continued to investigate after the initial charges.

And such an investigation — especially for people whose initial arrest didn’t rely on search warrants and who were arrested before the shape of the attack became more clear — might reveal evidence that these two cops had something more in common with the others charged with 1512, such as explicit plans to shut down the vote count or ties to a militia organization. And unlike the arrest affidavits, which put so much evidence in a few pages, we shouldn’t expect to see any of that evidence for a charge in an indictment until a litigation leading up to a trial. Indeed, that may be why DOJ feels free to include the charge in order to raise the stakes on the prosecution: because they can do so without having to tip their hand to other coup conspirators.

I expect we’ll see more 1512 charges, which will separate the people DOJ is truly concerned about from those who stupidly trespassed in support of their idol Donald Trump.

Update: DOJ did the same thing with Richard “Bigo” Barnett. In his case, he’s facing enhancements on some of these charges because he had a stun gun walking stick with him.

The Press Continues to Help Billy Barr Whitewash His Complicity in January 6

Among the things Bill Barr did in his second tour as Attorney General were to:

In short, over an extended period, Bill Barr laid the groundwork for the two-month effort to undermine the election that culminated in a coup attempt. The outcome of Barr’s actions — the disparate treatment by the department of Trump supporters, the empowerment of right wing terrorists, the continued influence of Powell and Rudy —  was foreseeable. Nevertheless, Barr persisted with those policies that laid the groundwork for the January 6 insurrection.

In spite of that record, Barr continues to find journalists willing to spin a fairytale completely inconsistent with this record, one of Barr standing up to Trump as he pursued this path.

Consider this account of Bill Barr’s decision to quit from Jonathan Swan.

It provides a dramatic account of how Barr denounced Trump’s conspiracy theories — all rooted in claims about the delayed counting of mail-in ballots that Barr had stoked for months.

The president’s theories about a stolen election, Barr told Trump, were “bullshit.”

White House counsel Pat Cipollone and a few other aides in the room were shocked Barr had come out and said it — although they knew it was true.

It describes Barr’s frustration with Trump’s demands about the Durham investigation without mentioning that Barr repeatedly fed those expectations.

He was sick of Trump making public statements and having others do so to whip up pressure against U.S. Attorney John Durham to bring more prosecutions or to put out a report on the Russia investigation before the election.

It also allows Barr to call Rudy and Sidney “clownish,” without mentioning that those very same clowns had gotten Barr to squander the credibility of DOJ on similarly outlandish conspiracy theories, including but not limited to the Mike Flynn prosecution.

For good measure, the attorney general threw in a warning that the new legal team Trump was betting his future on was “clownish.”

[snip]

The president had become too manic for even his most loyal allies, listening increasingly to the conspiracy theorists who echoed his own views and offered an illusion, an alternate reality.

[snip]

But Barr’s respite ended after Election Day, as Trump teamed up with an array of conspiracy theorists to amplify preposterous theories of election interference, arguing that Biden and the Chinese Communist Party, among others, had stolen the election from him.

It presents the conflict over using the military to quell summer protests, without mentioning Barr’s own role in militarizing the response (to say nothing of treating BLM more harshly than right wing terrorists).

By the late summer of 2020, Trump and Barr were regularly skirmishing over how to handle the rising Black Lives Matter protests sparked by the death of George Floyd while in police custody. As the national movement unfurled, some protests had given way to violence and looting. Trump wanted the U.S. government to crack down hard on the unrest.

The president wanted to invoke the Insurrection Act and send the military into U.S. cities. He wanted troops in the street.

[snip]

Besides, Barr asked, what was the endgame for adding the military to the mix? Federal forces could end up stranded in a city like Portland indefinitely.

Trump grew more and more frustrated, but Barr pushed back harder, standing his ground in front of everyone in the room. He was ready, willing and able to be strong, he said. But, he added, we also have to be thoughtful.

In short, this dramatic profile presents a fictional character, wise old Attorney General Bill Barr, who stood up against the President’s worst instincts, wisely resisting the urge to politicize investigations, trump up claims of voter fraud, chase the theories of Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani, and back a violent crackdown against Trump’s opponents.

Except that profile is entirely fictional. That Bill Barr is a myth carefully crafted with the help of obliging reporters.

The reality is that over two years of not just tolerating these efforts, but usually taking affirmative steps to foster them, Billy Barr helped to create this monster, even though he was one of the people with the obligation to stop it.

With his corruption as Attorney General Bill Barr fostered this monster. He should get no credit for skipping out before the predictable outcomes of his own actions blew up on January 6.

Rudy Giuliani and Jack Posobiec Claim a False Flag

Yesterday, the FBI arrested John Sullivan, one of the guys who took video showing Ashli Babbitt’s shooting in the January 6 insurrection. As the arrest affidavit describes, in an interview the day after the riot, Sullivan claimed he had been acting as a journalist at the riot.

SULLIVAN claimed to be an activist and journalist that filmed protests and riots, but admitted that he did not have any press credentials.

[snip]

23. At various times in his statements to law enforcement, to others inside the U.S. Capitol that were recorded in his video, and to news outlets, SULLIVAN has claimed he was at the U.S. Capitol only to document and report. In addition, your affiant is aware that, at various times, SULLIVAN has claimed to be a journalist. He has admitted, however, that he has no press credentials and the investigation has not revealed any connection between SULLIVAN and any journalistic organizations.

The affidavit describes that, at some protest in DC, Sullivan made anti-Trump comments.

The United States obtained a video of SULLIVAN, posted on YouTube, in which, while attending a protest in Washington, D.C., SULLIVAN can be seen telling a crowd, over a microphone, “we about to burn this shit down,” “we got to rip Trump out of office . . . fucking pull him out of that shit . . . we ain’t waiting until the next election . . . we about to go get that motherfucker.” SULLIVAN then can be seen leading the crowd in a chant of, “it’s time for a revolution.”1

But it quotes from a video he shared with the FBI repeatedly speaking of “we,” including himself in the mob. On several occasions, Sullivan convinced police to stand down (including in front of the Speaker’s Lobby, just before Babbitt was shot). And it provides evidence that Sullivan broke a window in one of the offices.

h. At one point in the video, SULLIVAN enters an office within the U.S. Capitol, as seen in the screenshot below. Once inside the office, SULLIVAN approaches a window, also seen in the screenshot below, and states, “We did this shit. We took this shit.”

i. While at the window, a knocking noise is heard off-screen. The camera then pans to show more of the window and a broken pane can be seen that was not broken on SULLIVAN’s approach to the window:

SULLIVAN can then be heard saying, “I broke it. My bad, my apologies. Well they already broke a window, so, you know, I didn’t know I hit it that hard. No one got that on camera.” SULLIVAN then exits the office.

Sullivan is charged with violent entry of Congress and impeding police officers during a civil disorder. He is not charged with breaking the window.

Even before his arrest, left wing activists had described concerns in that community, going back some time, that Sullivan was a provocateur working with others, including his brother James, who has ties to the Proud Boys and runs a pro-Trump organization.

But shortly after Sullivan’s arrest was reported, right wing propagandist Jack Posobiec pounced on his arrest, claiming it showed that BLM was behind the attacks and and that Sullivan’s actions led to Babbitt’s death (remember these screen caps have GMT, so subtract 5 for ET).

Then, in the middle of the night Rudy’s time, he posted a text from what appears to be John’s brother James.

Rudy presents this as proof that the riot was conducted by Antifa. But it instead seems to show that John’s brother (the phone number is in Utah, where they’re from) claimed to be, “working with the FBI,” had gotten his “agent” and three others out of trouble (Rudy did not show when he received this text, so it may have predated John’s arrest). It also showed that Sullivan seemed to have ties with someone named Kash, who might be Patel, the Devin Nunes flunky who got installed as DOD’s Chief of Staff. Patel would likely have had a key role in ensuring the National Guard delayed any response to the riot last week.

A Nazi sympathizer and the President’s lawyer seemed prepared to speak from the script that Donald Trump seems to have written the day before the riot, when he moved towards naming Antifa a terrorist organization. The OANN propagandist and chief purveyor of fraudulent claims about the election are attempting to use the arrest of John Sullivan to claim that their own people did not plan out this coup attempt.

In the process, however, Rudy Giuliani may have tied the President and the Proud Boys, and the Pentagon together in the plot. And Rudy’s calls to Tommy Tuberville after people had already died, that ties people n Congress to the attempts to assassinate members of Congress.

Update: I’ve been persuaded that “Kash” is someone else who was detained after the raid, so deleted references to Kash Patel. That person, Kash Kelly, is probably a convicted gang member awaiting his sentencing.

Update: Corrected that the anti-Trump comments may not have been at this protest.

Roger Stone’s Call for Donald Trump to Steal the Election Simply Continues His Efforts from 2016

As Media Matters reported the other day, on an InfoWars appearance the other day, the President’s rat-fucker, Roger Stone, called for Donald Trump to seize ballots in Democratic parts of Nevada claiming voter fraud, send federal forces to disrupt the election, and invoke the Insurrection act to start arresting his opponents.

During his September 10 appearance on The Alex Jones Show, Stone declared that the only legitimate outcome to the 2020 election would be a Trump victory. He made this assertion on the basis of his entirely unfounded claim that early voting has been marred by widespread voter fraud.

Stone argued that “the ballots in Nevada on election night should be seized by federal marshalls and taken from the state” because “they are completely corrupted” and falsely said that “we can prove voter fraud in the absentees right now.” He specifically called for Trump to have absentee ballots seized in Clark County, Nevada, an area that leans Democratic. Stone went on to claim that “the votes from Nevada should not be counted; they are already flooded with illegals” and baselessly suggested that former Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) should be arrested and that Trump should consider nationalizing Nevada’s state police force.

Beyond Nevada, Stone recommended that Trump consider several actions to retain his power. Stone recommended that Trump appoint former Rep. Bob Barr (R-GA) as a special counsel “with the specific task of forming an Election Day operation using the FBI, federal marshals, and Republican state officials across the country to be prepared to file legal objections and if necessary to physically stand in the way of criminal activity.”

Stone also urged Trump to consider declaring “martial law” or invoking the Insurrection Act and then using his powers to arrest Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Apple CEO Tim Cook, “the Clintons” and “anybody else who can be proven to be involved in illegal activity.”

While MMFA notes that Stone was instrumental in setting up the Brooks Brothers riot in 2000, it doesn’t note how Stone’s calls simply continue his efforts from 2016.

Roger Stone spent significant time in 2016 — particularly in the first half of August, the same period when he appears to have gotten advance knowledge of WikiLeaks’ upcoming leaks — predicting the election would be rigged against Donald Trump.

Closer to the election, Stone’s efforts to use “exit pollers” (which, this year, he wants to federalize) to suppress minority voters mirrored efforts made by Guccifer 2.0 (and, we’ve since learned, Maria Butina and Sergei Kislyak).

Stone’s voter suppression effort is not surprising. It’s the kind of thing the rat-fucker has been doing his entire life.

Except it’s of particular interest in 2016 because of the specific form it took. That’s because two aspects of Stone’s voter suppression efforts paralleled Russian efforts. For example, even as Stone was recruiting thousands of “exit pollers” to intimidate people of color, Guccifer 2.0 was promising to register as an election observer, in part because of the “holes and vulnerabilities” in the software of the machines.

INFO FROM INSIDE THE FEC: THE DEMOCRATS MAY RIG THE ELECTIONS

I’d like to warn you that the Democrats may rig the elections on November 8. This may be possible because of the software installed in the FEC networks by the large IT companies.

As I’ve already said, their software is of poor quality, with many holes and vulnerabilities.

I have registered in the FEC electronic system as an independent election observer; so I will monitor that the elections are held honestly.

I also call on other hackers to join me, monitor the elections from inside and inform the U.S. society about the facts of electoral fraud.

More interesting still, the GRU indictment makes it clear that GRU’s information operation hackers were probing county electoral websites in swing states as late as October 28.

In or around October 2016, KOVALEV and his co-conspirators further targeted state and county offices responsible for administering the 2016 U.S. elections. For example, on or about October 28, 2016, KOVALEV and his co-conspirators visited the websites of certain counties in Georgia, Iowa, and Florida to identify vulnerabilities.

Whether or not GRU ever intended to alter the vote, Russia’s propagandists were providing the digital “proof” that Republicans might point to to sustain their claims that Democrats had rigged the election.

That is, it’s not just that Roger Stone did what Roger Stone always does, cheat, in really cynical ways.

It’s also that Stone’s efforts closely paralleled those of Russian intelligence operatives, as they worked hard to get Trump elected.

And that curious parallel raises the stakes for Stone on this election.

That’s because, as of April, there were court filings targeting Roger Stone that invoked conspiracy and Foreign Agent charges that remained substantially redacted, presumably because the investigation was ongoing. The most recent BuzzFeed FOIA release (which leaves unredacted or redacts under privacy claims materials that in past releases were redacted for ongoing investigations) seems to reflect that any ongoing investigation has been finished or killed by Billy Barr. That’s not surprising, given that Barr’s intervention in Stone’s sentencing led the four prosecutors who had been working the case to resign. But it also means that if Trump is replaced by someone unwilling to save him from prison time, lapsed investigations (with statutes of limitation that extend at least until 2021) might become active again.

Roger Stone has already shown a willingness to sell out this country to get his friend Donald Trump elected. And since 2016, he has grown closer to sanctioned white supremacist groups sowing violence. Now, his freedom likely depends on finding a way to help Trump eke out another win. And Roger the rat-fucker has been training to thwart democracy his entire adult life.