A coverup of treason?

‘”Coverup of treason’: Trump-appointed IG, facing investigation, was aware of missing Secret Service and DHS texts far earlier” by David Badash of Alternet is a blaring headline I saw across my browser feed. A few paragraphs tell the story, with a link to the full article below.

“The Dept. of Homeland Security scandal is growing larger, with its embattled Inspector General increasingly appearing to be at the center of what one noted political scientist is calling a ‘coverup of treason.’

DHS Inspector General Joseph Cuffari, appointed by then-President Donald Trump in 2019, was aware of Secret Service agents’ deleted text messages from January 5 and 6, 2021, and deleted texts from top Homeland Security officials, months earlier than first disclosed, according to reports from CNN and The Washington Post.

‘Earlier this month, Secret Service officials told congressional committees that DHS Inspector General Joseph Cuffari, the department’s independent watchdog, was aware that texts had been erased in December 2021,’ CNN reports. ‘But sources tell CNN, the Secret Service had notified Cuffari’s office of missing text messages in May 2021, seven months earlier.’

That means that four months after the January 6 insurrection the Dept. of Homeland Security knew Secret Service agents’ text messages, from the day before and day of the attack on the U.S. Capitol, were missing and did not inform Congress or the National Archives, which is required by law to retain those records.”

There are several observations to be made here. First, what forced President Richard Nixon to resign and sent forty-eight (per Wikipedia) others to jail as much as the Watergate crimes committed was the coverup. Second, members of the Secret Service have been acting very inconsistently since the testimony by Cassidy Hutchinson on the former president Donald Trump trying to grab the steering wheel in anger when told he could not go to the Capitol building as it was not safe. Third, what several fellow bloggers and I have discussed from well before the insurrection and bogus election fraud claims, is what happens beneath the surface of Donald Trump’s world is likely far worse than actually known.

The last statement is indeed opinion, but it has been his history to market and merchandise himself, so a great deal of his energy and effort is to protect his brand name when he screws up. Of course, he his loathe to admit he makes mistakes, per his five biographers. This is why he has a fixer, one of whom testified under oath that “Donald Trump is a racist, he is a con-artist and he is cheat.”

And, quite often, others are taken down as his foils and suffer the consequences. His nickname is “Teflon Don” for a reason. Blame others to escape culpability. Right now, his last Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows is in the cross hairs, but maybe he will throw Joseph Cuffari under the bus as well.

Finally, what frightens current and departing sycophants of Donald Trump is what lies beneath the surface. They have no idea what they will have to defend tomorrow or the next week or the next month. And, what is more frightening are these sins and crimes have already been committed, so it is a matter of discovery not committal.

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Fox News legal analyst calls out the former president about the insurrection

“‘Breathtaking’: Fox News analyst says latest Jan 6 hearing ‘should shock everyone’” by Gustaf Kilander reveals an increasing number of folks who are calling the former president out on his role in the insurrection. A few paragraphs will provide a few key points of just the latest condemnation on Fox News, of all places.

“Fox News legal analyst Jonathan Turley said that the seventh hearing of the January 6 committee was ‘breathtaking’.

Mr Turley shared his sense of shock at the revelations concerning former President Donald Trump and his December 18 2020 meeting at the White House discussing how to overturn the election with his allies.

‘It’s … damaging,’ Mr Turley said in reaction to the pre-recorded deposition with Trump White House Counsel Pat Cipollone. ‘The account of that meeting in the [Oval] Office is really breathtaking. It’s very disturbing.’

‘At one point, there was a suggestion that there might be fisticuffs,’ he noted. ‘It’s almost like this is Dr Strangelove and the president is saying there is no fighting in the war room. It was just a bizarre moment.’

‘You’re in the Oval Office and people seem to be actually chest pounding. So this is very disturbing. All of these details should disturb everyone,’ Mr Turley said.

A major focus of the hearing was Mr Trump’s 19 December tweet about a ‘big protest’ at the coming joint session of Congress: ‘Be there, will be wild!

Florida Representative Stephanie Murphy said the tweet ‘served as a call to action and in some cases as a call to arms’. She said the president ‘called for backup’ as he said Vice President Mike Pence and other Republicans didn’t have enough courage to try to block President Joe Biden’s win at the January 6 joint session.

The tweet ‘electrified and galvanized’ Mr Trump’s supporters, said Maryland Representative Jamie Raskin, especially ‘the dangerous extremists in the Oath Keepers, the Proud Boys and other racist and white nationalist groups spoiling for a fight’.

Mr Raskin said Mr Trump emboldened the groups around a common goal. ‘Never before in American history had a president called for a crowd to come contest the counting of electoral votes by Congress,’ he said.

The committee spliced together video clips from interviews to describe a meeting from December 18, in the hours before Mr Trump’s tweet, in almost minute-to-minute fashion.

Former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, who testified live before the panel two weeks ago, called the meeting between White House aides and informal advisers pushing the fraud claims ‘unhinged’ in a text that evening to another Trump aide. Other aides described ‘screaming’ as the advisers floated wild theories of election fraud with no evidence to back them up, and as White House lawyers aggressively pushed back.”

The words I focus on are “disturbing” which is used several times and “unhinged” which is even more descriptive. Unhinged is a word that best describes a toddler when he is doing a hissy-fit. The toddler did not get his way and so he has flung himself on the floor in front of everyone and is screaming bloody murder. Think of this visual, when you see or hear the words of the former president. “I didn’t lose. They stole it from me. I won by a long shot.”

We just need the House Select committee and the Justice Department to send Donald to his room. And, while unhinged is more colorful, another apt word is more repulsive – seditionist.

Testimony of Judge Michael Luttig to House Select Committee

In an article called “Politico Playbook: Exclusive – the words Luttig wants to be remembered” by Ryan Lizza and Eugene Daniels, the important testimony to the House Select Committee of an ultra-conservative judge named Michael Luttig are highlighted. Note, he is being ridiculed by those who don’t want you to hear or read his words saying he said them too slowly and poorly, but the message is true and important for our country to hear.

The best message need not be the most articulate. Here are a few paragraphs:

“DONALD TRUMP and his allies and supporters are a clear and present danger to American democracy.

January 6 was a war for America’s democracy. It was an immoral war instigated and prosecuted by Donald Trump and his political party allies and supporters.

There were many cowards on the battlefield of the United States Capitol that day, and we have heard much about their failed efforts to undermine our democracy. We have heard comparatively little about the patriotic bravery of the heroes who defended our democracy against those who sought to undermine our democracy that fateful day.

There comes a time in every single life — whether personal or public — when one is summoned to stand, bear witness, and affirm what he or she believes and does not believe. That is our moment of calling. Their witness, whether they be parent, relative, friend, loved one, or military or law enforcement defender, almost always comes at great personal sacrifice and cost.”

His words need to be heard. They need to be heeded. I like the fact he used the phrase about Trump and his sycophants being a “clear and present danger to American democracy.” I like the fact he used the words “cowards on the battlefield” as I have long felt that the former president is long on false bravado and short on actual bravery. Hearing Trump call Mike Pence a “wimp” because he would not break the law, amuses me as here is a person who has too fragile an ego to man-up and admit he lost an election.

I shared these paragraphs with my two Senators with one more plea to condemn the former president for his Big Lie and instigating the insurrection. Please feel free to do so with yours. I also want you to pay attention to the zeal of some Trump allies to denigrate the House Select Committee, as there are members of Congress who have some explaining to do about their role in the insurrection. Like the preacher who has sinned, they will be the most ardent in their criticism to avoid discovery.

It would not surprise me to see Trump and his allies brought up on charges. I actually think our country needs to do this as we cannot have a president acting like a king. That is not what we are all about.

https://www.politico.com/newsletters/playbook/2022/06/18/exclusive-the-words-luttig-wants-to-be-remembered-00040701

Just remember a couple of keys

Tonight, the US House commission that has been investigating the January 6 insurrection against Congress will be presenting its findings. This should be taken quite seriously as these folks went through a mountain of data and testimony. Before Republicans discount the findings to try and save face, please remember two Republicans (Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger) are on the Committee and there would have been more except Kevin McCarthy appointed a couple of folks whose names came up in the investigation. That is a conflict of interest.

Setting the details aside, please remember a couple of keys:

  • this happened at the instigation of the former president based on his fabrication of election fraud he planned to do well before the election and he has miserably been unable to prove.
  • this happened because a former president invited and incited people to do his bidding to remain in office.
  • people who are trying to play this down must be reminded that several hundreds of people that participated in the insurrection have been charged, many have pleaded guilty, some have been found guilty and many have served time.
  • people who try to equate this to an Antifa riot should be reminded that this was on the Capitol building and our elected leaders were in danger to serve the interests of the former president.
  • this unrest and heightened incivility is largely due to a former president whose fragile ego cannot tolerate losing an election. His niece said her uncle will “burn it all down to avoid losing an election.”
  • finally, we cannot have this happen again, full stop. We have mechanisms for civil redress and discourse. Instigating an insurrection is not something that should ever happen again.

The findings will likely link the former president, his staff, and several Congressman to the insurrection. From what I have read, I am expecting to hear some names of elected officials who aided and abetted this crime against our country. We shall see what happens.

From the desk of Heather Cox Richardson on seditious actions

A friend sent me the most recent post from Heather Cox Richardson, whom I know some of my readers have cited as well. This post relates to the ongoing investigation of seditious actions that includes a number of Republicans in Congress. It should be noted at least one of these names was offered by House minority leader Kevin McCarthy for the House Select Committee, which were declined by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, because you can’t have that kind of conflict of interest on the committee. Let me just bluntly say, being against seditious actions should be Governance 101, regardless of party. Full stop.

“Late last night, the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol filed a motion asking a judge to put an end to the attempts of Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows to stonewall the committee. Meadows has tried to avoid talking to the committee or providing it with documents, using a number of different arguments that essentially try to establish that the U.S. president cannot be held accountable by Congress. The committee’s motion carefully explains why those arguments are wrong.

To support their belief that the Congress has the right and responsibility to investigate the circumstances of the January 6 insurrection—a correct understanding of our governmental system, in my view—the committee gave the judge almost 250 pages of evidence.

Included was some of the material I’ve been waiting for: a list of members of Congress who participated in planning to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

We have heard a lot about independent lawyers and members of the executive branch who were willing to try to keep Trump in office. We have also heard about people at the state level. But while there has been plenty of speculation about what members of Congress were involved, we had little to go on.

We knew that both former energy secretary Rick Perry of Texas and Representative Jim Jordan (R-OH) had texted with Meadows about possible avenues for overturning the election. We knew that Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Lauren Boebert (R-CO) had recorded videos before the insurrection that suggested they supported it. We had an odd statement from Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) on January 5 saying that he, not then–vice president Mike Pence, would count the certified electoral ballots the next day. We had Representative Liz Cheney (R-WY) allegedly saying to Jordan on January 6, “Get away from me. You f**ing did this.”

But the January 6th committee has just given us a bigger—although not the whole, yet—picture.

In last night’s filed motion was part of the testimony to the committee from Cassidy Hutchinson, a former special assistant to the president and the chief of staff. When asked which members of Congress were involved in calls about overturning the election—including calls saying such efforts were illegal—Hutchinson named Representatives Greene, Jordan, Boebert, Scott Perry (R-PA), Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Mo Brooks (R-AL), Jody Hice (R-GA), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), and Debbie Lesko (R-AZ).

The heart of this group was the “Freedom Caucus,” which was organized in 2015 to move the Republican Party farther to the right. Its first chair was Jim Jordan; its second was Mark Meadows. Its third was Andy Biggs. Mick Mulvaney, who would go on to Trump’s White House, and Ron DeSantis, who is now governor of Florida, were key organizers.

Let’s be clear: the people working to keep Trump in office by overturning the will of the people were trying to destroy our democracy. Not one of them, or any of those who plotted with them, called out the illegal attempt to destroy our government.

To what end did they seek to overthrow our democracy?

The current Republican Party has two wings: one eager to get rid of any regulation of business, and one that wants to get rid of the civil rights protections that the Supreme Court and Congress began to put into place in the 1950s. Business regulation is actually quite popular in the U.S., so to build a political following, in the 1980s, leaders of the anti-regulation wing of the Republican Party promised racists and the religious right that they would stomp out the civil rights legislation that since the 1950s has tried to make all Americans equal before the law.

But even this marriage has not been enough to win elections, since most Americans like business regulation and the protection of things like the right to use birth control. So, to put its vision into place, the Republican Party has now abandoned democracy. Its leaders have concluded that any Democratic victory is illegitimate, even if voters have clearly chosen a Democrat, as they did with Biden in 2020, by more than 7 million votes.

Former speechwriter for George W. Bush David Frum wrote in 2018: “If conservatives become convinced that they cannot win democratically, they will not abandon conservatism. They will reject democracy.” And here we are.

As if to illustrate this point, news broke today that a North Carolina official threatened to fire an elections official unless she gave him access to the county’s vote tabulators. The news agency Reuters noted that this threat was only one of more than 900 instances of intimidation of election officials in what has become commonplace after the 2020 election.

It appears that elected officials of the Republican Party are willing to overturn a legitimate Democratic victory in order to guarantee that only a Republican can hold office. That means a one-party state, which will be overseen by a single, powerful individual. And the last 59 days in Ukraine have illustrated exactly what that kind of a system means.

Standing against that authoritarianism, Democratic president Joe Biden is trying to reassure Americans that democracy works. He insisted on using the government to support ordinary Americans rather than the wealthy, and in his first year in office, poverty in the United States declined, with lower-income Americans gaining more than at any time since the “War on Poverty” in the 1960s. Lower-income workers have more job opportunities than they have had for 30 years, and they are making more money. They have on average 50% more money in the bank than they did when the pandemic hit.

Biden’s insistence on investing in Americans meant that by the end of his first year, the U.S. had created 6.6 million jobs, the strongest record of any president since record keeping began in 1939. By the beginning of April, the economy had added 7.9 million jobs, and unemployment was close to a 50-year low at 3.6%. Meanwhile, the deficit is dropping: we should carve $1.3 trillion off it this year.

Biden’s deliberate reshaping of the American government to work for ordinary Americans again, regulating business and using the federal government to enforce equal rights, so threatens modern Republicans that they are willing to destroy our country rather than allow voters to keep people like Biden in power.

I do not believe that a majority of Americans want a dictatorship in which a favored few become billionaires while the rest of us live without the civil rights that have been our norm since the 1950s, and no voting rights to enable us to change our lot.

Tonight, news broke that Democrats in Utah have voted to back Independent candidate Evan McMullin for senator rather than run their own candidate. McMullin is trying to unseat Republican Senator Mike Lee, whose texts to Meadows as they conspired to overturn the election have lately drawn headlines. Democrats are gambling that there are enough Democrats, Independents, and anti-Trump Republicans in Utah to send Lee packing.”

Capital Riots – Oath Keepers’ leader pleads guilty to trying to overthrow the US government

In an article called “Capitol riots: Far-right leader pleads guilty to trying to overthrow government” by Isabel Keane of Metro, a first important shoe dropped on a more serious set of charges of seditious conspiracy for the January 6 insurrection.

“The leader of the Alabama chapter of the right-wing Oath Keepers militia group pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court to charges of seditious conspiracy and obstruction related to the January 6 attack on the US Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump.

Joshua James, 34, pleaded guilty to the charges stemming from his role in leading the assault on the Capitol, the US Department of Justice announced in a news release on Wednesday.

He is the first person involved in the deadly assault on the US Capitol to be convicted of seditious conspiracy, a rarely used charge considered to be a serious but lesser form of treason.

James, a co-defendant in a criminal case involving Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes, pleaded guilty Wednesday, which could potentially cause issues for the 10 others named in the criminal case accused of working to prevent the the transfer of presidential power to Joe Biden following his win against Trump.”

Also this week, a report put forth by the House Committee noted there is evidence the former president is guilty of criminal conspiracy. It will be up to the Justice Department to decide if they want to bring charges. This is not a witch hunt, nor was the insurrection a false flag operation as evidenced by this and other guilty pleas. We cannot allow people to try and overthrow our government to alter the outcome of a fair election, especially for someone who has failed to prove any wrong-doing after loads of money were poured into trying to do so and losing all but one court case out of 65 or so and every vote recount, audit and review.

If that were not enough, the people who funded the legal costs of the lawsuits for Trump want their money back as they felt they were misled. That, and the fact, Giuliani and other attorneys had their law licenses suspended for bringing frivolous cases. Today, the former president is lashing out at his Attorney General William Barr because he repeated the known story that he told the former president his election fraud claims were bulls**t.”

Please remember a few things

On the anniversary of a horrendous day in America which occurred last year, we need to remember a few common sensical things. We can never let this happen again, especially when it appears a few lawmakers aided and abetted the efforts of the insurrectionists out of loyalty to a former president who has a well-documented history of being less than truthful.

  • when people who are in the know tell you not to look at the man behind the curtain, make darn sure you look behind the curtain.
  • when people who are decrying the investigative House committee is a sham, please remember two very important things – the same people voted down a proposed independent commission and nominated at least two people to be on the committee who are actually suspects in aiding and abetting the efforts, which at best is conflict of interest.
  • when people have gone out of their way to tell you what happened did not happen that way, in essence saying don’t believe your own eyes then you should be skeptical of those efforts.
  • when people who beat on their chest about law and order belittle the Capitol police force who testified under oath and at great consternation, what does that say?
  • when people seemingly ignore the former president’s inability to prove his false election claims after over 65 court cases (winning one small one in PA) and losing several recounts, reviews and audits in spite of all of his financial resources, you think these conspiracy minded people may begin to realize the REAL CONSPIRACY is being propagated on them by the former president of the United States.

As an old fart who once was a Republican and Democrat and is now an Independent voter, I am an American first. Our democracy is being further threatened because a seventy-year old person is pitching a hissy fit because his fragile ego cannot take losing. It truly is that simple. His niece Mary said her uncle “will burn it all down to avoid losing the election.” She said this just after the election and well before January 6, 2021.

We need a healthy dose of political courage in this country, especially in the Republican party. They must stop vilifying the truth tellers and start being critical of those who are not shooting straight with us. Republican Congresspersons Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger, Pete Meier, et al are getting death threats, yet are still speaking up. Why is that?

Most people I know do not like being lied to. Please ask more questions of sources and think about the statements above. What happened on January 6 started well before that date and we need to see that clearly to stop it from happening again.

Always tell the truth – you don’t have to remember as much

An old friend named Mark used to have a daily updated greeting on his business phone, where he would include a quote with a life lesson. My personal favorite of his is the title of this post. “Always tell the truth – you don’t have to remember as much.”

As the truth is coming out about the horrible January 6 insurrection on the US capitol, there are a lot of uneasy folks who are having to explain things. These inconvenient truths are making people from legislators to opinion hosts to a former chief of staff to a former president squirm. Watching these folks do the backstroke is comically sad and not unexpected.

The truth matters. Or, at least it should. And, as Mark noted so clearly, when you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember as much. You don’t have to remember when and what you lied about. You don’t have to be hypocritical when your pattern of lying is discovered.

Whether it is politicians, churches, businesses, universities, sports organizations, etc., the failure to fess up and come clean from the outset is by far the worst way to handle things. When you know of something, tell people what happened and what you plan to do about it.

Richard Nixon got into most of his trouble covering up for the Watergate break-in. The Catholic church hid its pedophile priest problem for many decades and maybe longer. The University of Michigan has joined other major universities such as Penn State, Michigan State and Ohio State for covering up sexual misconduct by a doctor or coach.

The sad lesson is by waiting to be discovered is not only the wrong thing to do, it is the most expensive thing to do. More people get hurt. And, it costs money via settlements, lost revenue and devalued brand identity. Plus, people who care about the truth will leave. Just this week, Chris Wallace, the most respected journalist at a certain network joined three others who left or had to leave the organization as they care about the truth.

The truth matters. The truthtellers matter. When the truthtellers leave or are vilified that is a bad sign for the entity. Your name is the most important asset you have.

Thursday Threads – freedoms do require accountability

Since I am headed out the door for a day trip to garner fresh produce at a place called The Peach Stand, I thought I would pull out a few threads to twirl around our fingers as we contemplate issues.

The US Supreme Court has just ruled that freedom of speech does give you license to be an asshole (sorry folks, the real word is needed), provided you do not hurt anyone. A person now known as the “profane cheerleader” won her case, but missed the message. Just because you can be an asshole, does not mean you should. We must be accountable to each other and for our actions and words.

If the profane cheerleader never learns that lesson, she will be like a certain former president in his 70s, that remains an enfant terrible, even at his age. I mention him as the other court story is people involved with the January 6 insurrection are starting to get sentenced. Some will get light sentences, as they did not harm people or property, but others will likely receive more. As these sentences start to pile up, they will stand right in front of those Republican elected officials holding white paint brushes trying to paint over the insurrection as if it did not happen.

That accountability stuff is important, especially with folks who feel entitled to do anything they want. In their minds, it is OK to treat airplane attendants with disdain and threaten them. It is OK to show road rage which has been a growing problem even before the pandemic. It is OK to rage at slow service in restaurants, who are understaffed as they build back up their business. But, it is not OK. You can disagree without being disagreeable. You can share disappointment, without being uncivil.

Yes, the freedom of speech gives Americans the right to be assholes. But, there must be accountability along with that. That Jesus guy speaks of treating others like we want to be treated. If someone chooses to be an asshole, the offender needs to know it gives others the right to ignore you and not consider your raged filled or threatening words and actions. We need leaders to lead in this area, being representative of our better angels not or worst demons. Emulating a deceitful and bullying former president is not the example to follow.

There is an old saying that is more true than not. Those folks who are the least tolerant of others tend to elicit more tolerance from others with their own actions and words. What the intolerant ones do not realize, is people will eventually vote with their feet and not want to be around you or lessen their time with you, if that cannot totally avoid you. In other words, people tend not to want to suffer fools. So, at least be accountable for your own sake.