From Maggie Haberman and over at the NY Times…..
After interviewing more than 1,000 witnesses and assembling a trove of well over 140,000 documents, the House committee investigating the Capitol attack on Jan. 6, 2021, is finally unveiling its findings to the public.
So far, the panel has held three televised hearings: a tightly curated prime-time session previewing its overall conclusions and two sprawling daytime sessions digging more deeply into the inquiry’s findings and their implications for American democracy.
We’ve learned of Donald J. Trump’s determination to plow ahead with his plan to overturn the results of the 2020 election despite being told by his own advisers at the time that it was illegal and that there was no evidence of widespread fraud. We’ve also heard new details about Mike Pence’s harrowing day hiding from the rioters, and we’ve seen previously unreleased footage from the perspective of the police officers struggling to hold off the mob, among other revelations….
The biggest surprise has been that John Eastman, a lawyer who advised Trump on his strategy for overturning the 2020 election results, put in an email that he was interested in a presidential pardon.
What was striking was that Eastman apparently asked for it after two White House aides, the Trump adviser Eric Herschmann and the Pence adviser Greg Jacob, warned him that he was proposing things in violation of the law. So I think the hearings have adjusted the aperture on what we might expect about possible criminality involved here.
What is your read on how a certain former president is reacting to the hearings so far?
My understanding from multiple people is that he’s been unhappy watching them. He’s frustrated in particular seeing the clips of his family — Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner — being used against him.
Does Trump fear a possible federal indictment?
He has always feared a possible indictment, since long before he became president, according to many people who’ve known him. Whether he does specifically here is an open question. Some of his aides are adamant that he doesn’t think these hearings will lead to anything that touches him….
What is your assessment of Representative Liz Cheney’s role on the committee, and what is your understanding of what is driving her? It often seems as if she is one of the more aggressive members of the panel, despite being one of only two Republicans on it.
She’s clearly one of the leaders, and she’s a co-chair, so that shouldn’t be a surprise. But she has been important for them because it’s very hard to dismiss her as a political opponent.
In addition to her Republican bona fides — she is a daughter of Dick Cheney, far from some liberal plant — she was actually a Trump supporter until he began trying to undermine the 2020 contest vocally in the lead-up to Election Day. Trump allies have pointed to that as evidence of hypocrisy, but the reality is that for her, a line was crossed….
What about the electoral impact of these hearings? To what extent do they matter for the 2022 midterms or for the presidential race in 2024?
Blake, I think people’s lives are economically so bleak right now, save for the superrich, that anyone who is being influenced by these hearings may have already had their minds made up.
Is any of this a good set of facts for Trump? Absolutely not. But in terms of the midterms, I think it’s too soon to say….
In Trump lawyer John Eastman’s own words:
- In his memos outlining the plot to overturn the election on Jan. 6, Eastman said Vice President Mike Pence should simply disregard the Electoral Count Act because Eastman viewed it as unconstitutional.
- In a Dec. 19, 2020 email, he conceded that having alternative electors who weren’t certified by state legislatures would mean they were “dead on arrival in Congress.” “… The textual claim that the ‘executive’ certification would prevail in such an instance over the legislature-certified slate is contrary to Article II” of the Constitution, Eastman wrote in the Dec. 19 email. He nonetheless pressed forward.
- After the riot at the U.S. Capitol, he again pressed Pence’s general counsel, Greg Jacob, to have Pence violate the Electoral Count Act. In an email on the evening of Jan. 6, he argued that it had already been violated by how Congress handled the aftermath of the riot and asked them “to consider one more relatively minor violation and adjourn for 10 days to allow the legislatures to finish their investigations.”
- He asked to be put on a “pardon list” in the days after the insurrection, saying in an email: “I’ve decided that I should be on the pardon list, if that is still in the works.” This doesn’t necessarily show he knew the plan was illegal in advance — and a federal appeals court has ruled that accepting a pardon isn’t an admission of guilt. He also argued in the email that he was merely insulating himself from “the outright lies and false witness being spewed.” But his request reinforces the idea that he viewed himself as having legal liability.
From the testimony of Greg Jacob, then chief counsel to the vice president, on June 16:
- Eastman admitted the plan would violate the Electoral Count Act: “Mr. Eastman acknowledged that that was the case.”….
Below we’ll highlight both instances in which Trump was told that his voter-fraud theories were wrong more broadly, and also specific claims (in bold).
From testimony by former attorney general William P. Barr:
- “I made it clear I did not agree with the idea of saying the election was stolen and putting out this stuff, which I told the president was bullshit.”
- On Nov. 23, 2020, he said he told Trump of his voter-fraud claims: “They’re not meritorious, they’re not panning out.”
- “I reiterated that they’ve wasted a whole month on these claims on the Dominion voting machines, and they were idiotic claims. … I told them that it was crazy stuff, and they were wasting their time on that. And it was doing a great, grave disservice for the country.”….
The issue here is clear….
Trump & Co. KNEW they where breaking the law….
There is NO doubt….
The question IS ?
Will Merrick garland have the “balls’ to go after Trump & Co. from trying to hold a coup?
One tends to doubt that Garland will…
Trump & Co. is counting he won’t….