A few thoughts about January 6, 2021

SilentPony

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Again I know he has a public persona, so that explains the smirk, but Im still left feeling like Nick Fury in Avengers. Why do I get the feeling he's the only one who wants to be here?

Edit: Never mind, figured it out. The penalty for contempt of Congress is so pathetic, there's no reason to ever cooperate with Congress. 1 month in prison and a $1000 fine. Seriously?! Jaywalking has a steeper penalty than that. He pays his fine with change from his couch, and spends a month in a tax paid hotel writing another book, and then he's out, and he never has to testify or cooperate with the investigation. Its just over. He could plead guilty today and start his sentence this afternoon and be out before Christmas having made up the fine in an hour from donations.
 
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Eacaraxe

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I was having a look at some of the redrawn constituency boundaries. They're not really any worse than has been evident in the past, of course, but they are such patently abusive manipulations it beggars belief your country can allow the practice to stand.
Does it really beggar belief with how ridiculous our system is, and how willfully ignorant and delusional the average American voter is, though?
 

Agema

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Does it really beggar belief with how ridiculous our system is, and how willfully ignorant and delusional the average American voter is, though?
Well, seeing as you put it that way, not entirely.

I feel the US system has a sort of attitude that the aim is to win, and if hustle and grift makes you the winner, it's all fine. But what hope does anyone have of ending corruption in Washington when it's endemic at home?
 

Generals

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I was having a look at some of the redrawn constituency boundaries. They're not really any worse than has been evident in the past, of course, but they are such patently abusive manipulations it beggars belief your country can allow the practice to stand.
Does it really?
Politics is a huge corrupt and opportunistic mess in most western democratic countries and people allow the practices to stand there too.
Most people seem to care more about the score of the latest Champion's league match than what their politicians are doing despite the latter having a much bigger impact on their lives.
 

XsjadoBlayde

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In the aftermath of the 2020 election, some of Donald Trump's closest allies embarked on an unprecedented effort to get the Department of Defense to chase down outlandish voter fraud conspiracy theories in hopes of helping Trump retain power, ABC News Chief Washington Correspondent Jonathan Karl writes in his new book.

In "Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show," scheduled to be released today, Karl reports that former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn and former Trump attorney Sidney Powell tried to enlist a Pentagon official to help overturn the election.

According to the book, Flynn -- who had just received an unconditional pardon from President Trump after pleading guilty in 2017 to lying to the FBI during the Russia probe -- made a frantic phone call to a senior Trump intelligence official named Ezra Cohen (sometimes referred to as Ezra Cohen-Watnick), who previously worked under Flynn at both the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and the National Security Council.

"Where are you?" Flynn asked the DoD official, who said he was traveling in the Middle East.

"Flynn told him to cut his trip short and get back to the United States immediately because there were big things about to happen," according to the book. Karl writes that Flynn told Cohen, "We need you," and told the DoD official that "there was going to be an epic showdown over the election results."

Flynn, according to the book, urged Cohen that "he needed to get orders signed, that ballots needed to be seized, and that extraordinary measures needed to be taken to stop Democrats from stealing the election."

"As Flynn ranted about the election fight, [Cohen] felt his old boss sounded manic," Karl writes in the book. "He didn't sound like the same guy he had worked for."


"Sir, the election is over," Cohen told Flynn, according to the book. "It's time to move on."


Flynn, according to Karl, fired back: "You're a quitter! This is not over! Don't be a quitter!"

Karl writes that after a heated few minutes, Flynn hung up the phone -- and that was the last time the two men talked.

Gen. Michael Flynn, former national security adviser to US President Donald Trump, leav...Read More
"Betrayal" also reports that Sydney Powell, Flynn's former lawyer who was then advising President Trump, called Cohen shortly after the Flynn conversation and tried to enlist his help with one the most far-fetched claims about the election, involving then-CIA Director Gina Haspel.


"Gina Haspel has been hurt and taken into custody in Germany," Powell told Cohen, pushing a false conspiracy theory that had been gaining steam among QAnon followers, according to the book. "You need to launch a special operations mission to get her," Powell said.

Powell, according to the book, was pushing the outlandish claim that Haspel had been injured while on a secret CIA operation to seize an election-related computer server that belonged to a company named Scytl -- none of which was true.

"The server, Powell claimed, contained evidence that hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of votes had been switched using rigged voting machines. Powell believed Haspel had embarked on this secret mission to get the server and destroy the evidence -- in other words, the CIA director was part of the conspiracy," Karl writes.


Powell wanted the Defense Department to send a special operations team over to Germany immediately: "They needed to get the server and force Haspel to confess," Karl writes.

Attorney Sidney Powell speaks during a news conference with Rudy Giuliani, lawyer for P...Read More
Cohen thought Powell sounded out of her mind, according to the book, and he quickly reported the call to the acting defense secretary.

A CIA spokesperson subsequently debunked the claim, telling news outlets that "I’m happy to tell you that Director Haspel is alive and well and at the office.”

Neither Powell nor Flynn responded to repeated requests for comment.


The fact that Flynn and co walks free while Jacob Chansley (qanon shaman) is getting the largest prison sentence just shows what a performative farce the justice system is in these cases: the pushers, planners and strategists get to keep doing what they're doing while the (often mentally troubled and manipulated) footsoldiers take the hits. It's exactly how white supremacist gangs operate too.

 
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Eacaraxe

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I feel the US system has a sort of attitude that the aim is to win, and if hustle and grift makes you the winner, it's all fine. But what hope does anyone have of ending corruption in Washington when it's endemic at home?
Honestly?

I can tell you from personal experience however fucked DC is, Washington politics is a shining beacon of transparency and accountability in government compared to the Kentucky fried bullshit that goes on in local and state politics. On the federal level, there's at least some expected churn and conflicting interests that maybe kinda-sorta balance each other out if you squint hard enough; down-ticket, some areas are still proudly operating by Tammany Hall/Jim Crow good ole boy rules...and don't even make an attempt to hide it.

See, some of my commentary last year about the Democratic party's decades-long history of throwing elections to Mitch McConnell. And, how that boils down to a power struggle between the state and national Democratic parties, for an example. Or, how the DuPont family had (still has) a complete chokehold on Delaware state politics -- how and why Biden held onto his Senator's seat for so long (see also, Beau Biden letting serial child rapist Du Pont heir Robert H. Richards IV walk).
 

Agema

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Does it really?
Politics is a huge corrupt and opportunistic mess in most western democratic countries and people allow the practices to stand there too.
Most people seem to care more about the score of the latest Champion's league match than what their politicians are doing despite the latter having a much bigger impact on their lives.
Well, I'm certainly not feeling in a good place to defend my own country currently, with the almost comically corrupt Boris Johnson in charge.
 

XsjadoBlayde

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Sorry, will stop cramming up these forums soon, just too many updates of interest currently to resist


Federal, state and local authorities searched the homes of Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters and three of her associates on Tuesday as part of an investigation into accusations the elected official was involved in election data security breaches, the local district attorney told Colorado Politics.

"We executed four federally court-authorized operations today to gather evidence in connection with the investigation into the Mesa County Clerk and Recorders office," DA Dan Rubenstein said.

"We did so with assurance from the DA's office from the 21st judicial district, the attorney general’s office, and the FBI." He added that one of the searches occurred in neighboring Garfield County.

Peters discussed the searches Tuesday night on Lindell TV, the streaming channel run by MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, a supporter of former President Donald Trump and leading purveyor of discredited claims that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump.


"The FBI raided my home at 6 a.m. this morning, accusing me of committing a crime," Peters said on the show. "And they raided the homes of my friends, mostly older women. I was terrified."

She added that authorities "used a battering ram," destroying the front door of one of her friends' homes.

This developing story will be updated.
Peters will be needing her card for this of course

ezgif.com-gif-maker-74.jpg
 
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XsjadoBlayde

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Wowsers, what a super smash bros coalition of characters getting in on this tiring farce.


In an dubious example of extreme theater kid energy, James D. Beeks, a musical theater actor with multiple Broadway credits, has been arrested on charges related to the breaching of the Capitol on Jan. 6. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia announced on Tuesday that the 49-year-old Beeks, “an affiliate of the Oath Keepers,” has been charged with obstruction of Congress and unlawfully entering a restricted building or grounds.

As of Tuesday, Beeks was still listed on the Jesus Christ Superstar’s U.S. tour cast page as playing ‘Judas’ under the stage name ‘James T. Justis.’ Federal investigators apparently attended several performances of the Jesus Christ Superstar tour in November in order to observe him in the role. Beeks’ Broadway credits include Kinky Boots, Aida, Ragtime, and Smokey Joe’s Cafe. He is also a self-described “Top Michael Jackson Tribute artist,” according to his YouTube page.

Per the findings of a federal investigation, Beeks was part of the mob that attacked law enforcement as it pushed into the Capitol. He had previously paid dues to the Oath Keepers just two weeks before Jan. 6, the report said. Unlike many others around him who wore homemade body armor to the insurrection, Beeks apparently chose to sport a BAD jacket from Michael Jackson’s world tour.
 
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XsjadoBlayde

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Hours before the deadly attack on the US Capitol this year, Donald Trump made several calls from the White House to top lieutenants at the Willard hotel in Washington and talked about ways to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s election win from taking place on 6 January.


The former president first told the lieutenants his vice-president, Mike Pence, was reluctant to go along with the plan to commandeer his largely ceremonial role at the joint session of Congress in a way that would allow Trump to retain the presidency for a second term.

But as Trump relayed to them the situation with Pence, he pressed his lieutenants about how to stop Biden’s certification from taking place on 6 January, and delay the certification process to get alternate slates of electors for Trump sent to Congress.

The former president’s remarks came as part of strategy discussions he had from the White House with the lieutenants at the Willard – a team led by Trump lawyers Rudy Giuliani, John Eastman, Boris Epshteyn and Trump strategist Steve Bannon – about delaying the certification.

Multiple sources, speaking to the Guardian on the condition of anonymity, described Trump’s involvement in the effort to subvert the results of the 2020 election.

Trump’s remarks reveal a direct line from the White House and the command center at the Willard. The conversations also show Trump’s thoughts appear to be in line with the motivations of the pro-Trump mob that carried out the Capitol attack and halted Biden’s certification, until it was later ratified by Congress.

The former president’s call to the Willard hotel about stopping Biden’s certification is increasingly a central focus of the House select committee’s investigation into the Capitol attack, as it raises the specter of a possible connection between Trump and the insurrection.

Several Trump lawyers at the Willard that night deny Trump sought to stop the certification of Biden’s election win. They say they only considered delaying Biden’s certification at the request of state legislators because of voter fraud.

The former president made several calls to the lieutenants at the Willard the night before 6 January. He phoned the lawyers and the non-lawyers separately, as Giuliani did not want non-lawyers to participate on legal calls and jeopardise attorney-client privilege.

Trump’s call to the lieutenants came a day after Eastman, a late addition to the Trump legal team, outlined at a 4 January meeting at the White House how he thought Pence could usurp his role in order to stop Biden’s certification from happening at the joint session.


At the meeting, which was held in the Oval Office and attended by Trump, Pence, Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short, and his legal counsel, Greg Jacob, Eastman presented a memo that detailed how Pence could insert himself into the certification and delay the process.

The memo outlined several ways for Pence to commandeer his role at the joint session, including throwing the election to the House, or adjourning the session to give states time to send slates of electors for Trump on the basis of election fraud – Eastman’s preference.

The then acting attorney general, Jeff Rosen, and his predecessor, Bill Barr, who had both been appointed by Trump, had already determined there was no evidence of fraud sufficient to change the outcome of the 2020 election.

Eastman told the Guardian last month that the memo only presented scenarios and was not intended as advice. “The advice I gave the vice-president very explicitly was that I did not think he had the authority simply to declare which electors to count,” Eastman said.

Trump seized on the memo – first reported by Washington Post journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa in their book Peril – and pushed Pence to adopt the schemes, which some of the other lieutenants at the Willard later told Trump were legitimate ways to flip the election.

But Pence resisted Trump’s entreaties, and told him in the Oval Office the next day that Trump should count him out of whatever plans he had to subvert the results of the 2020 election at the joint session, because he did not intend to take part.

Trump was furious at Pence for refusing to do him a final favor when, in the critical moment underpinning the effort to reinstall Trump as president, he phoned lieutenants at the Willard sometime between the late evening on 5 January and the early hours of 6 January.

From the White House, Trump made several calls to lieutenants, including Giuliani, Eastman, Epshteyn and Bannon, who were huddled in suites complete with espresso machines and Cokes in a mini-fridge in the north-west corner of the hotel.

On the calls, the former president first recounted what had transpired in the Oval Office meeting with Pence, informing Bannon and the lawyers at the Willard that his vice-president appeared ready to abandon him at the joint session in several hours’ time.

“He’s arrogant,” Trump, for instance, told Bannon of Pence – his own way of communicating that Pence was unlikely to play ball – in an exchange reported in Peril and confirmed by the Guardian.

But on at least one of those calls, Trump also sought from the lawyers at the Willard ways to stop the joint session to ensure Biden would not be certified as president on 6 January, as part of a wider discussion about buying time to get states to send Trump electors.

The fallback that Trump and his lieutenants appeared to settle on was to cajole Republican members of Congress to raise enough objections so that even without Pence adjourning the joint session, the certification process would be delayed for states to send Trump slates.

It was not clear whether Trump discussed on the call about the prospect of stopping Biden’s certification by any means if Pence refused to insert himself into the process, but the former president is said to have enjoyed watching the insurrection unfold from the dining room.

But the fact that Trump considered ways to stop the joint session may help to explain why he was so reluctant to call off the rioters and why the Republican senator Ben Sasse told the conservative talkshow host Hugh Hewitt that he heard Trump seemed “delighted” about the attack.

The lead Trump lawyer at the Willard, Giuliani, appearing to follow that fallback plan, called at least one Republican senator later that same evening, asking him to help keep Congress adjourned and stall the joint session beyond 6 January.

In a voicemail recorded at about 7pm on 6 January, and reported by the Dispatch, Giuliani implored the Republican senator Tommy Tuberville to object to 10 states Biden won once Congress reconvened at 8pm, a process that would have concluded 15 hours later, close to 7 January.

“The only strategy we can follow is to object to numerous states and raise issues so that we get ourselves into tomorrow – ideally until the end of tomorrow,” Giuliani said.

Liz Harrington, a spokesperson for Trump, disputed the account of Trump’s call after publication. “This is totally false,” Harrington said, without giving specifics. Giuliani did not respond to a request for comment. Eastman, Epshteyn and Bannon declined to comment.

Trump made several calls the day before the Capitol attack from both the White House residence, his preferred place to work, as well as the West Wing, but it was not certain from which location he phoned his top lieutenants at the Willard.

The White House residence and its Yellow Oval Room – a Trump favorite – is significant since communications there, including from a desk phone, are not automatically memorialized in records sent to the National Archives after the end of an administration.

But even if Trump called his lieutenants from the West Wing, the select committee may not be able to fully uncover the extent of his involvement in the events of 6 January, unless House investigators secure testimony from individuals with knowledge of the calls.

That difficulty arises since calls from the White House are not necessarily recorded, and call detail records that the select committee is suing to pry free from the National Archives over Trump’s objections about executive privilege, only show the destination of the calls.

House select committee investigators this month opened a new line of inquiry into activities at the Willard hotel, just across the street from the White House, issuing subpoenas to Eastman and the former New York police commissioner Bernard Kerik, an assistant to Giuliani.

The chairman of the select committee, Bennie Thompson, said in a statement that the panel was pursuing the Trump officials at the Willard to uncover “every detail about their efforts to overturn the election, including who they were talking to in the White House and in Congress”.
 
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XsjadoBlayde

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Har har.

Trump’s effort to stop congressional Jan. 6 investigators from obtaining his White House records, delivering a forceful rejection of Trump’s effort to stymie the investigation of the attack on the Capitol.

The unanimous 68-page opinion from the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia describes the urgent national interest in an investigation of an attack that threatened the peaceful transfer of power from Trump to President Joe Biden. And it directly connects the chaos of that day to Trump’s own statements calling for a “wild” protest in Washington and urging supporters to march on the Capitol and “fight.”

“The January 6th Committee has … demonstrated a sound factual predicate for requesting these presidential documents specifically,” Judge Patricia Millett wrote for the three-member panel. “There is a direct linkage between the former President and the events of the day.”

Trump has indicated he intends to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court, and the appeals panel gave him two weeks to try to delay the effect of its ruling — meaning he needs the high court to intervene and slow down the decision before Christmas. But the decision is another resounding victory for lawmakers probing the attack, even if it’s not a final one.

The decision also comes amid a pileup of litigation related to the Jan. 6 investigation. The Justice Department has indicted longtime Trump ally Steve Bannon for refusing to comply with a subpoena from the committee. Former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows has sued the panel in an effort to stave off a subpoena for his own documents and testimony — and the panel intends to hold him in contempt of Congress on Monday.

At the heart of the appeals court ruling, the judges emphasize that Congress and the sitting president agree on the national security urgency of the Jan. 6 investigation. Biden has repeatedly reviewed records sought by the Jan. 6 committee and determined that the panel’s interest in them outweighs any potential claim of executive privilege by Trump.

“On the record before us, former President Trump has provided no basis for this court to override President Biden’s judgment and the agreement and accommodations worked out between the Political Branches over these documents,” Millett wrote, joined by Judges Robert Wilkins and Ketanji Brown Jackson.

“Both Branches agree that there is a unique legislative need for these documents and that they are directly relevant to the Committee’s inquiry into an attack on the Legislative Branch and its constitutional role in the peaceful transfer of power,” Millett added.


The judges noted that Trump would have “important insight” into the sensitivity of his own White House’s records. But as a former president, he would not have the full picture of what is in the national interest.

“It is only President Biden who can make a fully informed and circumspect assessment of all the competing needs and interests of the Executive Branch,” they wrote.

A spokesperson for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment. However, a Trump attorney told the appeals court judges last week that the former president planned to take the issue to the Supreme Court if the appeals court ruled against him

Liz Harrington, a spokesperson for the former president, pointed in that direction on Twitter after Thursday’s ruling.

“Regardless of today’s decision by the the appeals court, this case was always destined for the Supreme Court,” she wrote. “President Trump’s duty to defend the Constitution and the Office of the Presidency continues, and he will keep fighting for every American and every future Administration.”

Biden, Millett wrote, made a reasoned judgment based on the public interest in an investigation of a threat to the peaceful transfer of power. But even if that were not the case, she wrote, none of Trump’s other arguments had merit.

“We need not conclusively resolve whether and to what extent a court could second guess the sitting President’s judgment that it is not in the interests of the United States to invoke privilege,” Millett wrote. “Under any of the tests advocated by former President Trump, the profound interests in disclosure advanced by President Biden and the January 6th Committee far exceed his generalized concerns for Executive Branch confidentiality.”

The timing of the appeals court’s decision reflected a sense of urgency around the congressional investigation. While it takes months or sometimes years for the court to resolve most of its cases, the court delivered its opinion just nine days after hearing oral arguments.

All three of the appeals judges who considered the issue are Democratic appointees. Millett and Wilkins were appointed by former President Barack Obama, while Jackson is Biden’s only appointee to the D.C. Circuit.

The ruling Thursday upheld a decision last month by U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan, an Obama appointee, who denied Trump’s request for a preliminary injunction stopping the National Archives from transmitting records to the House committee.

Like Chutkan, the appeals panel described the Jan. 6 investigation as a matter of urgency for the survival of the nation.

“The events of January 6th exposed the fragility of those democratic institutions and traditions that we had perhaps come to take for granted,” Millett wrote. “In response, the President of the United States and Congress have each made the judgment that access to this subset of presidential communication records is necessary to address a matter of great constitutional moment for the Republic. Former President Trump has given this court no legal reason to cast aside President Biden’s assessment of the Executive Branch interests at stake, or to create a separation of powers conflict that the Political Branches have avoided.”
Though it's worth noting that most of the ppl keeping up with trump and his cult's antics are pretty sure the Liz account is nothing more than trump's ban evasion account now.

 
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Agema

You have no authority here, Jackie Weaver
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Though it's worth noting that most of the ppl keeping up with trump and his cult's antics are pretty sure the Liz account is nothing more than trump's ban evasion account now.
Personally, I find the concept of an ex-president trying to overrule the decision of a sitting president in this manner legally incomprehensible. Certainly functions as a useful delaying tactic, though.
 

XsjadoBlayde

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Personally, I find the concept of an ex-president trying to overrule the decision of a sitting president in this manner legally incomprehensible. Certainly functions as a useful delaying tactic, though.
Definitely. Most likely why they didn't hang about reaching a decision there too I'd bet.

-

(Unrelated addition)

 
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Trunkage

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Personally, I find the concept of an ex-president trying to overrule the decision of a sitting president in this manner legally incomprehensible. Certainly functions as a useful delaying tactic, though.
Remember when there was huge complaints, eg by Kavanagh, about the Russiagate/Mueller report being a huge distraction for the president

Whatever happened to that notion?
 

Trunkage

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I have a question.

Is this the longest coup in history or am I just not aware of how much work actually goes into a coup? Its been 12 mths
 
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