Posts tagged with "January 6"

Josh Hawley pledges not to‘run,’ after being caught running from Trump mob

July 26, 2022

On Thursday evening, July 21, during a primetime hearing, the January 6 committee played stunning footage  of Senator  Josh Hawley  (R-Missouri) running away from a mob of pro-Trump vigilantes that he had been seen riling up just hours earlier, reports The Daily Beast.

Despite the clip—which clearly showed the Republican lawmaker on the run from the Capitol attackers—nearly 24 hours later, he pledged to a group of young conservative activists that he would not “run” away from a battle.

“Hey, listen, I know what I’m talking about because I had them do it to me,” he proudly declared at Turning Point USA’s summer conference in Tampa on Friday evening—referring to being called a “traitor” over pushing for “election integrity.”

“I objected on January 6 last year to the state of Pennsylvania,” he boasted, adding,

“And I just want to say to all of those liberals out there and the liberal media, just in case you haven’t gotten the message yet, I do not regret it,” Hawley continued. “And I am not backing down. I’m not gonna apologize, I’m not gonna cower, I’m not gonna run from you.”

“I’m not gonna bend the knee,” he concluded.

The remarks come as both Hawley and former President Donald Trump attempt to push back on the bombshell January 6 hearing, The Daily Beast says.

Late Thursday night, Trump had a meltdown on his social media site, Truth Social. “I had an election Rigged and Stolen from me, and our Country. The USA is going to Hell,” he fumed after midnight. “Am I supposed to be happy?”

A source close to the ex-president told The Daily Beast during the hearing that Trump has expressed continued frustration at the “one-sided forum,” which gives no opportunity for “cross-examination” or the ability for Trump to “present [his] side.”

“There’s no courtroom in this country where that would be allowed,” the source, who regularly speaks to Trump, said.

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Mike Pence’s security detail feared for their lives, called family members, during Capitol riot

July 25, 2022

Members of former Vice President Mike Pence’s security detail were so afraid for their lives during the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot that they made calls over radio to say goodbye to their family members, according to testimony given by a former White House national security official to the House committee investigating the attack. The testimony was revealed at a hearing on Thursday, July 21, reports HuffPost.

The official’s identity was withheld for security reasons.

“There was a lot of yelling, a lot of very personal calls over the radio,” the official added. “It was disturbing. I don’t like talking about it, but there were calls to say goodbye to family members. The VP detail thought that this was going to get very ugly.”

After rioters broke into the Capitol, Secret Service rushed Pence to a secure area just off the Senate floor, where he had been presiding over the certification of the Electoral College resultsThe rioters came within 40 feet of Pence before he was evacuated. Some rioters were chanting for Pence to be hanged, and a gallows was erected outside the building.

Five people died and more than 140 officers were injured in the riot. Witnesses  described a war zone at the scene that looked like a “medieval battleground.”

Lawmakers and their staff who hid as the violence erupted on January 6 also feared for their lives. “I think I was in a state of shock, to be honest. I was absolutely terrified,” Erica Loewe, then a staffer for Represenjtative Jim Clyburn (D-South Carolina), told HuffPost. “Looking back at the text messages … to my family and friends, I just asked them all to pray because I really didn’t know what was going to happen. I don’t think I truly understood the gravity of what happened until afterwards, when I saw the images.”

Research contact: @HuffPost

Prosecutors say Steve Bannon still should face trial

July 12, 2022

The Justice Department has informed a federal judge that Steve Bannon’s last-minute offer to testify to the House committee investigating the January 6, 2021attack on the Capitol will not enable the former strategist for then-President Donald Trump to avoid trial for defying the committee’s subpoena seeking testimony and documents, reports The Wall Street Journal.

 Bannon told the committee over the weekend that he was willing to testify—preferably at a public hearing. His trial is set to begin July 18 on two counts of criminal contempt.

 He initially refused to comply with the subpoena from the January 6 committee last October. “The Defendant’s last-minute efforts to testify, almost nine months after his default—he has still made no effort to produce records—are irrelevant to whether he willfully refused to comply in October 2021 with the Select Committee’s subpoena,” prosecutors said in a filing on Monday, July 11.

 The government’s filing sought to block Bannon’s defense team from telling jurors about his last-minute willingness to testify.

 Bannon said he was now willing to testify after Trump said he would waive any privilege claim—citing what the former president called unfair treatment of his former senior aide.

 Prosecutors said that Trump “never invoked executive privilege over any particular information or materials,” and that Mr. Bannon’s privilege claim never justified total noncompliance with the subpoena.

 The prosecutors’ filing came ahead of a court hearing Monday, which had been  previously scheduled to discuss a request by Bannon to delay his trial until October and other issues in the case. U.S. District Court Judge Carl Nichols, a Trump appointee, is overseeing the case in Washington, D.C.

 Bannon’s lawyers have argued that news coverage of the committee’s hearings could taint the jury pool and deprive him of a fair trial.

 “Select committee members have made inflammatory remarks about the culpability of President Trump and his closest advisers, including Mr. Bannon, and have broadcast to millions of people their purported ‘findings’ on issues that may prejudice the minds of jurors in this case,” Bannon’s lawyers wrote in a June 29 court filing.

 Research contact: @WSJ

The inexplicable 7-hour gap in the Trump White House’s January 6 call log

March 30, 2022

Fifty years ago, the scandalous actions of an American president were shielded from public view, thanks to a suspiciously convenient 18½-minute gap in the Nixon White House’s call recordings. Today, the actions of another American president remain shielded thanks to another convenient—and inexplicable— gap in White House records, reports The Washington Post.

The Post’s Bob Woodward and CBS News’s Robert Costa state that White House documents turned over to the House January 6 select committee display a gap of 7 hours and 37 minutes between phone calls then-President Donald Trump had with allies.

The gap takes place between 11:17 a.m. and 6:54 p.m., covering virtually the entirety of the insurrection at the Capitol, which was first breached at 2:11 p.m. on January 6, 2021.

Other Trump actions are recorded for that period, including an hour-plus-long speech he gave at a rally that preceded the insurrection, and some of his movements inside the White House. But vast stretches of time are unaccounted for, The Washington Post says.

Why is that inexplicable? Because the documents show Trump rather feverishly working the phones at virtually all other times. He spoke to at least eight people that morning, in the period before the more than seven-hour gap, and he spoke to at least 11 people afterward. He also repeatedly requested calls with, and received messages from, the White House switchboard.

Perhaps most important, we know the logs are missing at least four calls — and important ones, at that — that have become public knowledge in the year since January 6.

The documents appear to exclude calls Trump had with then-Vice President Mike Pence, Representative Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-Alabama) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-California). We already know that the latter two occurred during the gap, and the other two might well have.

Trump also requested a number of calls with people with whom calls were never recorded in the logs, including Senator Josh Hawley (R-Missouri), who led the effort to stop Congress from finalizing Trump’s loss, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), whom an aide said

And the final call recorded before the gap—at 11:17 a.m.—lists the other party on the call as an “unidentified person.” It’s the only such call listed, and for some reason it’s featured in Trump’s daily diary but not in the call log (as the other calls are).

Below is a timeline of what is known, based on the White House documents (both the call log and the daily diary) and other key events in the public record (in italics), along with the missing and incomplete call information (in bold).

For brevity, the Post excludes most requests for calls that were soon recorded as having taken place, while keeping requests for other calls that either weren’t recorded or didn’t happen for several hours.

  • 8:34 a.m. — Kurt Olsen
  • 8:37 a.m. — Stephen K. Bannon
  • 8:45 a.m. — Rudy Giuliani
  • 8:56 a.m. — Requests White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows
  • 9:02 a.m. — Requests Vice President Mike Pence
  • 9:16 a.m. — Requests Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) (a call that an aide says the senator declined)
  • 9:24 a.m. — Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio)
  • 9:39 a.m. — Requests Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.)
  • 9:41 a.m. — Giuliani
  • 9:52 a.m. — Stephen Miller
  • 10:32 a.m. — Nick Luna
  • 10:45 a.m. — William Bennett
  • 11:04 a.m. — Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.)
  • 11:11 a.m. — Meets with his children and advisers

 

  • 11:17 a.m. —Call with unidentified person (no end time for call recorded, not recorded at all on call log)
  • Late morning— Pence (during which Trump reportedly tells him: “Mike, you can do this. I’m counting on you to do it. If you don’t do it, I picked the wrong man four years ago.” He adds, according to Woodward and Costa, “You’re going to wimp out!”)
  • 11:38 a.m. — Leaves for “Stop the Steal” rally
  • 12 p.m.-1:17 p.m. — Speech at “Stop the Steal” rally
  • 1:19 p.m. — Returns to White House
  • 1:21 p.m. — Meets with valet
  • 2:11 p.m. — Capitol is breached
  • 2:13 p.m. — Pence escorted from House chamber
  • ??? — House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). (McCarthy has said he was “the first person to contact [Trump] when the riot was going on.” Trump reportedly told McCarthy, “Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are.”)
  • 2:24 p.m. — Trump tweets attacking Pence
  • 2:26 p.m. — Mistakenly calls Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) seeking Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.). Lee hands phone to Tuberville.
  • ??? — At least one more call with Jordan. (Jordan has confirmed he spoke with Trump multiple timesthat day. Politico reported this call took place early in the insurrection and featured Jordan and Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida asking Trump to call off his supporters.)

 

  • 4:03 p.m.-4:07 p.m. — Records message to supporters in Rose Garden

 

  • 6:54 p.m. — Requests Dan Scavino
  • 7:01 p.m. — Pat Cipollone
  • 7:08 p.m. — Scavino
  • 7:16 p.m. — Informed of pending calls from five people: Olsen, Mark Martin, Cleta Mitchell, Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.) and Hawley. Trump asks for calls to Olsen, Martin, and Mitchell.
  • 7:17 p.m. — Olsen
  • 7:30 p.m. — Mark Martin
  • 7:40 p.m. — Olsen
  • 7:53 p.m. — Mitchell
  • 8:39 p.m. — Giuliani
  • 9:23 a.m. — Jason Miller
  • 9:42 p.m. — Kayleigh McEnany
  • 9:55 p.m. — Scavino
  • 10:11 p.m. — Meadows
  • 10:19 p.m. — Bannon
  • 10:50 p.m. — Eric Herschmann
  • 11:08 p.m. — Fox News host Sean Hannity
  • 11:23 p.m. — John McEntee

The White House isn’t the only entity to have slow-rolled its disclosure of Trump’s calls with Jordan; so did Jordan, who implausibly claimed he didn’t remember how often he spoke to Trump or when. His office later confirmed there were multiple calls between the two that day, but only one is recorded by the White House.

McCarthy also threatened phone and tech companies that supplied records to the Jan. 6 committee with retribution if Republicans retake the House.

There is no question that information is missing. The question is how much and why. Were people caught up in the moment and not recording things after the insurrection was underway? That seems possible, but certainly these times would seem to call for extra care in recording Trump’s actions.

Perhaps relevant to that question is the call at 11:17 a.m. Not only is the other party not identified (unlike the other calls), but it also features no end time (unlike the other calls) and doesn’t appear in the call log (unlike the other calls). You could certainly make an argument, then, that the gap stretches to nearly eight hours, between Trump’s calls with Perdue at 11:04 a.m. and his request for Scavino at 6:54 p.m.

But also consider this, the Post says: That call would have been listed on the next page of records, if there were such a record. The gap somehow neatly breaks down with the last recorded call—with Perdue at 11:04 a.m.—at the end of one page and the beginning of the next one—the request for Scavino at 6:54 p.m.

Research contact: @washingtonpost

Cheney, Kinzinger call out Trump over Pence comments

February 1, 2022

Representatives Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming) and Adam Kinzinger (R-Illinois) called out former President Donald Trump after he suggested that former Vice President Mike Pence should have overturned the results of the 2020 presidential election, reports The Hill.

Cheney and Kinzinger—who are the only two Republicans serving on the House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol—characterized the ex-president’s comments as un-American.

Cheney outlined a series of Trump’s recent statements in a tweet on Monday, January 31— including his admission that “he was attempting to overturn the election”— before writing, “He’d do it all again if given the chance.”

The Wyoming Republican, who is facing a Trump-backed primary challenger, also noted that Trump previously said he would consider pardoning individuals charged in connection to the January 6 riot if he runs for president again and wins another term in the White House.

Kinzinger on Sunday said Trump’s statement earlier that day was “an admission” and “massively un-American.” He then offered an ultimatum to GOP leaders, calling on them to “pick a side” between Trump or the Constitution.

“There is no middle on defending our nation anymore,” he added in a tweet.

Trump in a statement on Sunday pointed to a congressional effort to reform the Electoral College Act as proof that Pence “did have the right to change the outcome” of the 2020 presidential election.

The former president said Pence “unfortunately” did not “exercise that power,” adding “he could have overturned the Election!” 

Pence’s role in overseeing the certification of the Electoral College vote was, as it is for all vice presidents, largely ceremonial. He presided over a joint session of Congress on January 6 where he recognized GOP senators and House members who objected to the results to the voting count in specific states. That set up votes by the House and Senate to consider the objections.

Trump has long argued falsely that Pence had more power over the process and the mob that stormed the Capitol on January 6 did so thinking they could end the

The former president’s statement comes as the congressional effort to reform the Electoral College Act is picking up momentum, with some lawmakers seeing changes to the archaic law as a compromise between both parties on election reform; which Democrats have been pushing for on the federal level in the aftermath of the 2020 election.

The Electoral College Act was enacted in 1887 and outlines how the Electoral College results are counted. A bipartisan group of senators met last week to discuss changes to the statute.

Research contact: @thehill

Lock him up! Senate Dems see good chance of Garland prosecuting Trump

January 18, 2022

Senate Democrats are beginning to believe that there is a good chance the Department of Justice will prosecute former President Donald Trump for trying to overturn the results of the 2020 election—and, as part of that effort, for inciting the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, reports The Hill.

Democratic lawmakers say they don’t have any inside information on what might happen and describe Attorney General Merrick Garland as someone who would make sure to run any investigation strictly “by the book.” But they also say the fact that Garland has provided little indication about whether the Department of Justice has its prosecutorial sights set on Trump doesn’t necessarily mean the former president isn’t likely to be charged.  

 Given the weight of public evidence, Democratic lawmakers think Trump committed federal crimes.  However, they also warn that Garland needs to proceed cautiously. Any prosecution that fails to convict Trump risks becoming a disaster and could vindicate Trump—just as the inconclusive report by former special counsel Robert Mueller’s team was seized upon by Trump and his allies to declare his exoneration on a separate series of allegations.

 Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) said “clearly what [Trump] did” in the days leading up and the day of the January 6 attack on Congress “falls in the ambit of what’s being investigated and perhaps is criminal.” 

 Senator Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) said it’s up to the prosecutors at the Justice Department whether to charge Trump, although he believes that the former president’s actions on and before January 6 likely violate federal law.  “They have all of the evidence at their disposal,” he said.  

According to The Hill, Kaine believes federal prosecutors are looking seriously at charges against Trump, although he doesn’t have any inside information about what they may be working on.  

 “My intuition is that they are” looking carefully at whether Trump broke the law, he said. “My sense is they’re looking [at] everything in a diligent way and they haven’t made a decision.” 

 “I believe there are federal statutes that are very much implicated” by Trump’s efforts to overturn President Biden’s victory in the 2020 election, Kaine added.  

 Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) said, “I think anybody who it’s proven had a role in the planning of [the Jan. 6 attack] should be prosecuted—not just the people who broke in and smashed the window in my office and others.” 

 “I think anybody that’s shown to have had a role in its planning absolutely should be prosecuted,” he added. “I mean it was treason, it was trying to overturn an election through violent means.”  

 Asked whether Trump broke the law, Brown said “I’m not going to say he’s guilty before I see evidence,” but he also said there’s “a lot of evidence that he was complicit.”  

 Garland gave Democrats a tantalizing hint when he announced the day before the first anniversary of the January 6 attack that he would prosecute those responsible “at any level” for what he called “the assault on our democracy.” 

“The Justice Department remains committed to holding all January 6 perpetrators, at any level, accountable under law—whether they were present that day or were otherwise criminally responsible,” he said.  

 It was a potentially significant statement from an attorney general who otherwise keeps his cards close to the vest.

 On the other side of the equation, a Democratic senator who requested anonymity to comment on the possibility of a federal prosecution of Trump warned that it would take only one pro-Trump juror to derail a conviction and that failure to win any case in court would have disastrous consequences.  

“If you pull the trigger on this one, you have to make sure that you don’t miss, because this is one if you miss it essentially validates the conduct,” the senator warned.

 

Research contact: @thehill

Judge rejects free speech argument; refuses to dismiss indictment against four Proud Boys

December 30, 2021

On Tuesday, December 27, a federal judge refused to dismiss an indictment based on an argument from the attorneys for four men associated with the right-wing group the Proud Boys that their actions leading up to and on January 6 were protected under the freedom of speech rights in the First Amendment, reports Newsweek.

Ethan Nordean, Joseph Biggs, Zachary Rehl, and Charles Donohoe were indicted in March and charged with conspiracy and obstructing an official proceeding, among other charges; and remain in jail leading up to their trial scheduled for May 2022.

Nordean, of Auburn, Washington, was a Proud Boys chapter president and member of the group’s national “Elders Council.” Biggs, of Ormond Beach, Florida, is a self-described Proud Boys organizer. Rehl was president of the Proud Boys chapter in Philadelphia. Donohoe, of Kernersville, North Carolina, also served as president of his local chapter, according to the indictment.

U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly said the four men had many other options that actually are protected under the First Amendment to protest the election and express their thoughts about its results in a nonviolent, legal manner.

“Defendants are not, as they argue, charged with anything like burning flags, wearing black armbands, or participating in mere sit-ins or protests,” Kelly wrote in a 43-page ruling. “Moreover, even if the charged conduct had some expressive aspect, it lost whatever First Amendment protection it may have had.”

At least three dozen of the over 700 people who have been charged in the insurrection at the Capitol building on January 6 have been identified as leaders or associates of the Proud Boys, the far-right organization that was one of many that

organized events on the day that led to rioters breaking windows and forcing their way through doors into the Capitol. Five people were dead when the insurrection finally ended.

Defense lawyers also argued that the obstruction charge doesn’t apply to their clients’ cases because Congress certification of the Electoral College vote was not an “official proceeding.”

Kelly disagreed.

Earlier this month, another judge in the District of Columbia’s federal court upheld prosecutors’ use of the same obstruction charge in a separate case against two riot defendants.

The case against Nordean, Biggs, Rehl and Donohoe is a focus of the Justice Department’s sprawling investigation of the January 6 insurrection. More than three dozen people charged in the Capitol siege have been identified by federal authorities as Proud Boys leaders, members, or associates—including at least 16 defendants charged with conspiracy.

Last Wednesday, December 23, a New York man pleaded guilty to storming the U.S. Capitol with fellow Proud Boys members. Matthew Greene is the first Proud Boys member to publicly plead guilty to conspiring with other members to stop Congress from certifying the Electoral College vote. He agreed to cooperate with authorities.

Other extremist group members have been charged with conspiring to carry out coordinated attacks on the Capitol, including more than 20 people linked to the anti-government Oath Keepers.

Lawyers for Nordean and Donohoe declined to comment on Tuesday’s ruling. Attorneys for Rehl and Biggs didn’t immediately respond to emails seeking comment.

Research contact: @Newsweek

Judge rules that Trump’s January 6 White House records should be handed over to House committee

November 11, 2021

A federal judge ruled late Tuesday night, November 9, that former President Donald Trump’s sensitive White House records should be turned over to congressional investigators looking into the departed executive’s role in fueling the January 6 Capitol insurrection, reports The Daily Beast.

Whether it will actually happen is still a bit of a question: Almost immediately on Tuesday night, Trump’s legal team filed an appeal. However, House lawmakers are closer than ever to acquiring internal communications—including phone records for January 6—from within the White House.

And the National Archives, which is in possession of the records, has said it plans to hand over documents Friday unless a court stops the transfer.

That appears to be unlikely at the moment, the Beast says.

Three weeks ago, Trump sued the chairman of the select committee conducting the investigation, Representative Bennie Thompson (D-Mississippi), in an attempt to assert executive privilege and block the National Archives from releasing records of internal White House communications before and during the assault on the nation’s democracy.

U.S. District Judge for the District of Columbia Tanya S. Chutkan, however, ruled that she would not step in the way of the Archives turning over those records.

“The court holds that the public interest lies in permitting—not enjoining—the combined will of the legislative and executive branches to study the events that led to and occurred on January 6, and to consider legislation to prevent such events from ever occurring again,” she wrote.

Chutkan agreed with the committee that this is “a matter of unsurpassed public importance because such information relates to our core democratic institutions and the public’s confidence in them.”

The judge added that Trump’s last ditch effort to keep key details secret would likely fail in a prolonged court battle anyway.

Trump’s political director of communications, Taylor Budowich, issued a statement late Tuesday saying that this battle “was destined to be decided by the Appellate Courts.”

“Pres. Trump remains committed to defending the Constitution & the Office of the Presidency, & will be seeing this process through,” he wrote on Twitter.

His decision to raise the fight to the appellate court could stall the National Archives and Records Administration from releasing it by its deadline this Friday.

Although Trump’s lawyer, Jesse Binnall, argued that the former president could still assert executive privilege with the expectation that current President Joe Biden must abide by it, legal scholars immediately noted that the argument is nonsensical, given the obvious fact that Trump is no longer president, and his successor is under no obligation to abide by his wishes.

Chutkin touched on that in her opinion, ripping into Trump for attempting to assert expanded power. “Plaintiff does not acknowledge the deference owed to the incumbent President’s judgment. His position that he may override the express will of the executive branch appears to be premised on the notion that his executive power ‘exists in perpetuity.’ But Presidents are not kings, and Plaintiff is not President,” she wrote.

Within hours, Thompson issued a statement thanking the judge for her ruling, accusing Trump’s lawsuit of being “little more than an attempt to delay and obstruct our investigation.”

“The presidential records we requested from the National Archives are critical for understanding the terrible events of January 6th,” he said in the statement. “The Select Committee’s investigation is moving forward swiftly and we look forward to receiving these important records from the National Archives.”

Research contact: @thedailybeast

McConnell signals Trump conviction is a GOP ‘conscience vote’

Febraury 11, 2021

After voting “nay” on the constitutionality of the current impeachment trial on Monday, February 8, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell now is signaling to fellow Republicans that the final vote on former President Donald Trump’s guilt or innocence is matter of conscience, Bloomberg reports.

Indeed, McConnell made it clear that senators who disputed the constitutionality of the trial could still vote to convict the former president, according to three Bloomberg sources. The Kentucky Republican also has suggested that he hasn’t made up his mind how he’ll vote, two of the people said.

That position is starkly different than McConnell’s declaration at the start of Trump’s first impeachment trial last year, when he said that that he did not consider himself an impartial juror.

However, Bloomberg notes, it’s highly unlikely that the Senate will convict Trump of the House’s single impeachment charge of inciting an insurrection, which cited the former president’s actions surrounding the January 6 attack on the Capitol. Conviction requires a two-thirds majority, which means at least 17 Republicans would have to vote with all Democrats in the 50-50 chamber.

Only six Republicans on Tuesday voted in favor of the constitutionality of the Senate process. While that was enough for the simple majority required to proceed with the trial, it suggests that most GOP senators don’t want to vote against Trump.

McConnell, in a leadership meeting Monday night, said the same things he has said publicly, a person familiar with the matter said.

On February 2, he told reporters: “We’re all going to listen to what the lawyers have to say and making the arguments and work our way through it.”

McConnell has been telling Republican senators since mid-January that this would be a “vote of conscience.”

Research contact: @business