They Keep Trying, Keep Failing to Actually Nab Donald Trump for Criminality

Like a Road Runner cartoon, the pursuit of Donald Trump is unending, noisy, and repeatedly running off the edge of a cliff.

The January 6th committee concluded its hearings in July with a thundering failure to present any of the long-promised evidence that Trump had committed a crime. But then another box of Acme explosives arrived in the form of subpoenas from the Biden administration’s Department of Justice, just in time to fill the newspapers, airwaves and internet with reports about the coming this-time-we’ve-got-him.

A check of online headlines Thursday found CNBC trumpeting, “Trump likely to be criminally charged in DOJ election probe along with other former White House officials,” and CNN splashing, “Exclusive: Trump lawyers in talks with Justice Department about January 6 probe.” Next to the story was a video clip of Rep. Liz Cheney with the caption, “I think he’s guilty.”

CNN cited “sources familiar with the matter” for its report that Trump’s legal team was communicating with Justice Department officials, “the first sign of talks between the two sides as the criminal probe into January 6, 2021, accelerates.”

CNBC’s story that Trump is “likely” to face criminal charges had no sources other than pure speculation by former Attorney General Eric Holder, who made the comments on a Sirius satellite radio program. “I think ultimately you’re probably going to see the president, former president of the United States indicted,” the former Obama administration official said, while admitting that he had not yet seen any evidence that would justify it. However, Holder was confident that as “more evidence is elicited, you will see people start to cut deals.”

A week earlier, the New York Times had breathlessly reported that the Justice Department’s “investigation into a central element of the push to keep Mr. Trump in office – the plan to name slates of electors pledged to Mr. Trump in battleground states won by Mr. Biden — now appears to be accelerating as prosecutors with the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington ask witnesses about Mr. Trump and members of his inner circle.” The report was sourced to a “person familiar with the testimony.”

But here’s where the story runs off the cliff: Senators Susan Collins and Joe Manchin have introduced a bill to reform the Electoral Count Act of 1887, the law on Electoral College procedures that was the basis for the Trump team’s plan. The fact that the senators are proposing to change the law to prevent what Trump tried to do is itself evidence that what Trump tried to do is within the law.

That’s not the evidence Liz Cheney promised to show everybody, but there it is.

The proposed Electoral Count Reform and Presidential Transition Improvement Act follows months of work by the majority staff of the Committee on House Administration. In January, the staff produced a dense 35-page report — 191 footnotes — on the Electoral Count Act of 1887 and proposals for reforming it. Among the recommendations: “narrowing the vice president’s role at the count.”

Here’s another one: “narrowing states’ ability to appoint electors after Election Day.”

There are more recommendations for changes, such as “enacting new counting rules” and raising the minimum number of lawmakers required to object to counting a state’s electoral votes. The staff report concludes, “Taken together, these reforms would end any ambiguity about the timing of presidential elections, clarify Congress’s role at the count, and constrain Congress in future controversies.”

The Electoral Count Act of 1887 is wildly complicated, as is the history of how it came to be. But you don’t have to know the fine points of the “safe harbor” provision to see that if Congress is trying to change the law so no one can do what President Trump tried to do, then what President Trump did wasn’t a crime.

It wasn’t unlawful to seek alternate slates of electors, or to talk to members of Congress and U.S. senators about raising objections to accepting the votes of some states, or to talk to state officials about how many ballots may have been illegally counted because they were cast too early or too late.

“President Trump’s campaign argued that 3 U.S.C. Section 1 [setting a single, uniform Election Day] prohibits states from undertaking certain election-related acts prior to or after Election Day, such as receiving or processing mail ballots,” the committee staff report explains, “Congress should clarify that 3 U.S.C. Section 1 does not restrict states from permitting acts and procedures of that kind.”

Until Congress actually does clarify it, there is nothing criminal about questioning the legality of mail ballots that were accepted past a state’s legal deadline (as in Pennsylvania) or in an illegal drop box (as in Wisconsin). It wasn’t criminal to have a rival slate of electors in case a state legislature could be convinced to appoint them, or to ask the vice president to do what the newly revised law would prohibit in the future.

Nonetheless, the show must go on. On Thursday, Liz Cheney released a video of her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney, denouncing former President Trump with the ridiculous statement, “In our nation’s 246-year history, there has never been an individual that was a greater threat to our republic than Donald Trump.”

Click here to read the full article in the OC Register

The January 6th Omission

The January 6th Omission

As I write this, exactly one week after the commemoration of the January 6th “Insurrection,” I’d like to offer another perspective, as unbiased as one can, about the veracity of the narrative of this infamous day.  I believe this essay will show, undeniably, how our “news” has carefully woven an “event tapestry,” with threads of fiction and misconception, crisscrossing with threads of fact,  I’d like to unravel, so to speak, the mainstream narrative with the following five observations. 

Fake News by Omission 

It’s stunning to me how the media can change a narrative by not including something as much as  by including something.  Case in point: the “lessening of events.”  Both President Biden and VP Harris snugly opined that January 6th goes down in history with two other events: 911 and Pearl harbor.  Wow!  I almost could not believe my ears when I heard that, which I believe angered most of America as well.  My gut reaction was, “You’re comparing it to what??  You have to be kidding me Joe–.”  I don’t have to go into the enormity of the horrors of 9/11 or Pearl harbor to demonstrate that January 6th is simply not comparable in scope.  When we inflate certain events for political gain, there’s often unintended consequences of lessening the horrors of other truly terrible events.  Not to mention, I can think of other days which saw incredibly more chaos, death, and destruction than January 6th: the bloodiest day of our civil war at Antietam,  the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City, the burning down of the entire area called Black Wall Street in Omaha, Nebraska in 1921, which saw upwards of 200 African Americans murdered, and so on.  Would I be wrong to say that the president and vice president may need a history lesson? 

A Mission…of Omission?

Amazingly, the media sometimes left out the fact that President Trump said to “…peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard” during his speech on January 6th.  In fact, something that hurt the creditability of the impeachment trial was that the “peacefully and patriotically” line was totally left out of the video shown to Congress.  Instead, the video shows Mr. Trump saying, “We’re going to walk down and I’ll be there with you. We’re going to walk down…to the Capitol.”  Right after, it cuts to another scene showing someone in the crowd shouting, “Let’s take the Capitol!”  Good job, investigation members. 

Listen to Your “Elder”

I’d like to give the talk show host, Larry Elder, credit for mentioning for mentioning the following “deep thought.”  If the Dem Party thinks it’s vital to have an exhaustive “January 6th” investigation to find out who, what, and where was the cause of this insurrection, then WHY did they impeach Donald Trump for being responsible for it, as if it was already an open-and-shut, “LOCK HIM UP” case?  I think the value of the instrument of impeachment was also minimized in future importance by having this investigation after it, instead of before.

A Call to Arms

If you watch or read the mainstream news about January 6th, you will occasionally hear about an “armed insurrection.”  This is another kind of “fake news” by omission.  If you consider flagpoles and fire extinguishers as arms, then yes, the riot was an armed event.  But, of course, the inference refers to firearms, of which nobody had in the Capitol that day, except for law enforcement.  Leaving out what kind of “arms” in the story…really affects the story.  Also, what about “all the deaths” that day?  The only death, sadly, that day, was one of the rioters, tragically a patriotic female  Air Force veteran.   Conversely, the BLM riots (aka the Woke Riots) saw an estimate of 25 people murdered, including people of color.  

The Long Arm of the Law

I’d lastly like to draw the stark contrast between the general progressive attitude toward law enforcement nearly all year round, juxtaposed with their view of law enforcement on January 6th.  Typically, as of the past few years, law enforcement is scolded by progressives through defunding, abolishing, blaming, scapegoating, etc.  However, with the January 6th observation earlier this month, it was pleasantly amazing how “the Left” showed nothing but praise, thankfulness, solidarity, and good wishes to the Capitol police.  (Note: Let me be absolutely clear that I’m not saying all progressives are against law enforcement, but rather speaking in general terms.)   The mainstream media also repeatedly spoke with great empathy about how some  Capitol officers were maimed, kicked, punched, maced, and so on.  However, concerning the hundreds of police injured during the 2020 Riots (a total of 574 riots), the level of sentiment shown by “the Left” was not the same.  Equity was lacking.  I’d like to end by wishing good vibes for the future of this country, that we will somehow find the peace, unity, and civility it deserves.  May we all seek to be more united…in these, the United States.

House Votes To Hold Meadows In Contempt

WASHINGTON — The House voted on Tuesday to hold former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows in contempt of Congress for refusing to cooperate with a special committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, setting the stage for possible criminal prosecution of an advisor to former President Trump.

The vote, 222 to 208, was the second time in recent months that the House had held a former Trump advisor in contempt, and it was the first time since the 1830s that the chamber had leveled such a sanction on one of its former members. Two Republicans joined all Democrats present in voting for the measure.

“Mr. Meadows is a central participant and witness to the events of Jan. 6,” Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Burbank), a member of the House committee investigating the insurrection, said before the contempt vote. “If he can get away with ignoring the law, and witnesses summoned before Congress can merely pick and choose when they comply, our power of oversight will be gone.”

The contempt vote came a month after the House took the same action against Stephen K. Bannon, alleging the the Trump confidant and former White House advisor had refused to comply with the House committee’s subpoena for information and testimony. Bannon was indicted by a federal grand jury last month on two charges of contempt of Congress. He is set to go on trial in July.

The House action against Meadows followed a 9-0 contempt vote on Monday by the House Select Committee to Investigate the Jan. 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol. Lawmakers on the panel said Meadows initially provided 9,000 pages of records before refusing to provide more records or show up for a deposition last week. They said Meadows is uniquely positioned to provide information to discuss the role Trump and the White House played in inciting the riot and responding to it.

“We’ve given Mr. Meadows every opportunity to cooperate with our investigation,” Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), chairman of the House panel, said Tuesday. “We’ve been more than fair. He’s brought this situation on himself. But there is no doubt in my mind that he’s in contempt of Congress and has to be held accountable.”

Republican House members countered that Democrats were pursuing the contempt charges for partisan reasons. Just two of the nine Republicans who voted to hold Bannon in contempt did so on Tuesday. Meadows served as a GOP House member from 2013 to 2020, when he took over as Trump’s chief of staff.

“He is a good man, and he’s my friend. This is as wrong as it gets,” Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said before the vote. “Your lust for power, your lust to get your opponents is so intense that you don’t care.”

Meadows’ attorney, George Terwilliger III, has asserted that the former White House advisor cannot comply with the subpoena for two major reasons. As a former top presidential advisor, Meadows shouldn’t be compelled to testify before Congress because it might result in staffers wary of providing candid advice to presidents.

He also said Meadows did not wish to undermine Trump’s assertion of executive privilege, a legal doctrine that has allowed presidents to withhold certain confidential communications from public disclosure.

Meadows “has fully cooperated as to documents in his possession that are not privileged and has sought various means to provide other information while continuing to honor the former president’s privilege claims,” Terwillger said in a statement Tuesday before the vote.

Citing executive privilege, Trump has sought to block the National Archives from turning over his White House records to the House committee. His case suffered a setback last week when a federal appeals court rejected his arguments, setting the stage for those documents to be given to Congress if the Supreme Court declines to intervene.

The House panel, which has two Republicans, has interviewed more than 300 witnesses and subpoenaed more than 40 people as it seeks to paint a clearer picture of the day’s violence and what contributed to it.

Goaded on by Trump’s months-long, falsehood-filled campaign that the 2020 election had been stolen, hundreds of his supporters stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, hoping to block the certification of President Biden’s electoral college victory. More than 700 people have been charged by federal prosecutors in the Capitol riot.

Click here to read the full article at LA Times

Eastman Takes the Fifth With Jan. 6 Committee

The attorney, who helped former President Donald Trump contest the 2020 election, asserted his right against self-incrimination in a Dec. 1 letter to the Capitol riot panel.

John Eastman, the attorney who helped former President Donald Trump pressure then-Vice President Mike Pence to overturn the 2020 election, has asserted his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, according to a letter he delivered to the Jan. 6 committee explaining his decision not to testify.

“Dr. Eastman hereby asserts his Fifth Amendment right not to be a witness against himself in response to your subpoena,” his attorney, Charles Burnham, wrote in a letter to Chair Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) dated Dec. 1.

“Members of this very Committee have openly spoken of making criminal referrals to the Department of Justice and described the Committee’s work in terms of determining “guilt or innocence,” Burnham continues. “Dr. Eastman has a more than reasonable fear that any statements he makes pursuant to this subpoena will be used in an attempt to mount a criminal investigation against him.”

Eastman’s decision is an extraordinary assertion by someone who worked closely with Trump to attempt to overturn the 2020 election results. He met with Trump and pushed state legislative leaders to reject Biden’s victory in a handful of swing states and appoint alternate electors to the Electoral College, effectively denying Biden’s victory.

The former Chapman University law professor also pressured Pence, who is constitutionally required to preside over the Electoral College certification on Jan. 6, to unilterally refuse to count some of Biden’s electors and send the election to the full House for a vote — or delay long enough to give states a chance to submit new electors.

Eastman also spoke at Trump’s Jan. 6 rally alongside Rudy Giuliani.

Most of Burnham’s letter makes procedural objections to the structure of the Jan. 6 committee, focused on Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision to reject Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s appointees to the panel.

“The lack of a ranking minority member makes it impossible for this Committee to comply with clearly applicable House rules on subpoenas and depositions,” he writes.

Burnham also complains that the Capitol riot committee conducts its depositions in secret.

Click here to read the full article at Politico.com

Along With the Now Indicted Steve Bannon, Whom Has The Jan. 6 Select Committee Subpoenaed — and Why?

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection has issued almost three dozen subpoenas as it aggressively seeks information about the origins of the attack and what former President Donald Trump did — or didn’t do — to stop it.

The panel — which referred Trump campaign and White House strategist Steve Bannon’s flouting of a subpoena to the Department of Justice, leading to Friday’s criminal indictment — is exploring several paths simultaneously, demanding testimony from Trump’s inner circle about his actions that day as well as from outside advisers who organized the rally he spoke at the morning of Jan. 6 and allies who strategized about how to overturn President Joe Biden’s victory. They are also turning toward former Vice President Mike Pence’s orbit and questioning witnesses about efforts to pressure him to stop the congressional electoral count.

An attendee’s sign calls for the impeachment of Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming as Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida speaks at a rally in Cheyenne, Wyo., on Jan. 28. Cheney is one of two Republicans on the House select committee investigating the events of Jan. 6. MICHAEL CIAGLO/GETTY IMAGES

The committee is expected to issue more subpoenas as some witnesses, especially those closest to Trump, have indicated they won’t comply or refused to answer questions. But lawmakers on the panel have already talked to more than 150 people, most of them voluntarily, about what led up to the violent siege by Trump’s supporters.

While the committee doesn’t have the power to charge or otherwise punish anyone for their actions, the seven Democrats and two Republicans on the panel say they hope to build the most comprehensive record yet of what happened when hundreds of Trump’s supporters brutally pushed past police and broke into the Capitol, interrupting the certification of Biden’s victory.

A look at whom the committee has subpoenaed, and what is to come in the panel’s investigation:

Trump’s inner circle: The committee’s first subpoenas in late September went to four men who were among his most loyal allies: former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, Bannon, longtime communications aide Daniel Scavino and Kashyap Patel, a White House national-security aide who had moved to the Pentagon in the weeks after Trump lost the election.

Bannon immediately told the panel he wouldn’t cooperate, citing a letter from Trump’s lawyer claiming that his conversations should be privileged and shielded from the public. The committee balked at that reasoning and the House voted to hold Bannon in contempt, referring the matter to the Justice Department, ultimately resulting in Friday’s two-count indictment against Bannon alleging criminal contempt of Congress.

Meadows could also be held in contempt after his lawyer indicated Thursday that he would not testify, saying in a statement that the courts would have to decide, after the White House notified him that Biden would waive Trump’s claims of executive privilege over the testimony.

From the archives (September 2020): White House chief of staff Mark Meadows lashes out as FBI director fails to echo Trump claims about vote fraud

The House has since subpoenaed several other well-known members of Trump’s circle, including former press secretary Kayleigh McEnany and top aides Stephen Miller and Jason Miller. The committee said all three participated in efforts to spread false information and may have been with Trump as the attack unfolded — a key area of investigation, as little is still known about what he did to try to stop it.

Click here to read the full article at marketwatch.com

John Eastman May Have Blown Up Privilege to Avoid Testifying About Trump

A conservative lawyer subpoenaed by the Capitol riot investigators may have set himself up to lose any claim of privilege.

John Eastman, who wrote legal memos outlining ways former Vice President Mike Pence could try to overturn the 2020 election, made an admission months ago that could debilitate any argument to keep his conversations with former President Donald Trump confidential.

In the interview on May 5, during which Eastman was talking to Denver radio talk show host Peter Boyles , he spoke about meeting with Trump and Pence about contesting the election results and said he had permission to talk about it.

“And by the way, I would normally not talk about a private conversation I have with a client, but I have express authorization from my client, the president of the United States at the time, to describe what occurred — to truthfully describe what occurred in that conversation,” he said.

BOB WOODWARD FINDS ‘SEVEN CONSPIRATORIAL ACTIONS’ BY TRUMP AND BANNON

The House committee investigating the Capitol riot subpoenaed Eastman , along with several others, on Monday, seeking documents and testimony. Eastman recently distanced himself from the scenarios outlined in his memos during a  National Review  interview . He has also drawn interest for his participation in a so-called “war room” at the Willard Hotel with other Trump allies during the days surrounding the Capitol riot and because he spoke at the same rally Trump did the day of the siege.

A letter to Eastman, signed by Chairman Bennie Thompson , even cites the May 5 interview, noting, “You have stated publicly that President Trump has authorized you to discuss the matters at issue, this waiving any applicable attorney-client and attorney work product privileges.”

Watergate sleuth Bob Woodward agreed with this assessment and made the case that any argument for privilege would flounder in court.

Click here to read the full article at the Washington Examiner