The impeachment trial is over, and seven Republicans voted with the Democrats to convict — Sens. Susan Collins, Bill Cassidy, Richard Burr, Lisa Murkowski, Mitt Romney, Ben Sasse, and Pat Toomey. Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough. But I still say this is going to hurt the Republican Party, long term, more than it will hurt Democrats.
And there will be criminal trials ahead for Trump. District Attorney Fani Willis of Fulton County, Georgia, is looking into election fraud charges, for example. Possible civil and criminal charges could come out of New York. Just today, the Wall Street Journal reported that New York state prosecutors are investigating more than $250 million in loans Trump took out on some of his best-known Manhattan properties.
I’m sorry the Dems changed their minds about calling witnesses. David Kurtz at TPM:
Dems seemed to have seized the advantage, backed by five GOP senators, to present at least some witnesses in the second impeachment trial of Donald Trump. The fierce reaction of GOP senators to what House impeachment managers and Dem senators wanted to do testified to the the advantage Dems had taken hold of.
But just as quickly, House managers and Senate Dems entered into an agreement whereby Trump was willing to stipulate to what Rep. Herrera Beutler’s statement would be. As a result, there will be no witnesses, no documentary evidence, and no real trial.
It’s possible there’s more to this we don’t yet know about. Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler is, of course, the Republican who testified that Kevin McCarthy had described to her the phone call in which McCarthy had begged Trump to stop the riot, and Trump replied that the mob was “more upset about the election than you are.”
A former Pence staffer tells CNN that on January 6, then-national security adviser Robert O’Brien was traveling. His deputy at the time, Matt Pottinger, and Gen. Keith Kellogg, Pence’s national security adviser, were both at the White House on the day of the rally and riot. Kellogg confirmed to CNN that he was in the Oval Office with Trump and the President’s children as the riot was raging, during which Pence was forced to flee the Senate chamber.
During the riot, Kellogg was in communication with Pence through the vice president’s staff, which was communicating back to the White House and getting that information to Kellogg, who was with Trump.
“Kellogg was Pence’s national security adviser, so of course they knew exactly what the circumstance was,” said the former Pence staffer.
My impression is that Pence and his former staffers were not willing to testify. How pathetic is that? And how pathetic is is that most Republicans are unwilling to stand up even after they might have been killed?
There’s a must-read at Pro Publica, “I Don’t Trust the People Above Me”: Riot Squad Cops Open Up About Disastrous Response to Capitol Insurrection by Joaquin Sapien and Joshua Kaplan. The writers interviewed police who defended the Capitol. Do read the whole thing. I want to call out a couple of bits.
The interviews also revealed officers’ concerns about disparities in the way the force prepared for Black Lives Matter demonstrations versus the pro-Trump protests on Jan. 6. Officers said the Capitol Police force usually plans intensively for protests, even if they are deemed unlikely to grow violent. Officers said they spent weeks working 12- or 16-hour days, poised to fight off a riot, after George Floyd was killed by Minneapolis police — even though intelligence suggested there was not much danger from protesters.
“We had intel that nothing was going to happen — literally nothing,” said one former official with direct knowledge of planning for the Black Lives Matter demonstrations. “The response was, ‘We don’t trust the intel.’”
By contrast, for much of the force, Jan. 6 began like any other day.
“We normally have pretty good information regarding where these people are and how far they are from the Capitol,” said Keith McFaden, a former Capitol Police officer and union leader who retired from the force following the riot. “We heard nothing that day.”
We know there was intelligence; it just wan’t acted on, or passed on. How much of this was from Trump operatives supressing the intelligence, or how much of it was from the old double standard that says only Black/leftist demonstrations are “mobs” or “rioters,” I do not know. But then there’s this:
On the morning of Jan. 4, members of a civil disturbance unit gathered in a briefing room. A small group of officers were shown a document from Capitol intelligence officials that projected as many as 20,000 people arriving in Washington that week. The crowd would include members of several militia and right-wing extremist groups, including the Proud Boys, the Boogaloo Bois and the white supremacist Patriot Front. Some were expected to be armed, according to one officer who attended the briefing. The document anticipated that there could be violence.
For some reason, this information didn’t leave the room and was not shared with other officers.
At lot of details like this:
One officer in the middle of the scrum, a combat veteran, thought the rioters were so vicious, so relentless, that they seemed fueled by methamphetamine. To his left, he watched a chunk of steel strike a fellow officer above the eye, setting off a geyser of blood. A pepper ball tore through the air over his shoulder and exploded against the jaw of a man in front of him. The round, filled with chemical irritant, ripped the rioter’s face open. His teeth were now visible through a hole in his cheek. Blood poured out, puddling on the pavement surrounding the building. But the man kept coming.
So now the Senate has effectively given future losing candidates permission to attempt a coup.
Politico is reporting that Lindsey Graham will be meeting with Trump to talk about the future of the GOP. If those two represent the future of the GOP, we’re all in for a buttload of hurt. I take it Miz Lindsey will be trying to get Trump to be a better team player. Good luck with that.
Unfortunately, the impeachment was not widely watched, according to CNN business. We cannot let this drop. I agree with David Atkins that there must be House investigations of the attack on the Capitol and Trump’s role in it.
There is still so much that we don’t know about the President’s actions in the lead-up to and the events of January 6th. We don’t know exactly what he knew about how violent it would become. We don’t know exactly why he and his appointees refused to allow more help to the Capitol Police both before the insurrection and during the sacking the Capitol. We don’t know the details of what he said on the phone with legislators before, during and afterward. And crucially we don’t know the timeline of exactly what Trump did, hour by hour, in consultation with his closest aides. … The House must initiate investigations, making liberal use of its subpoena power to force witnesses to Trump’s behavior and state of mind to go on the public record.
Trump, and Trumpism, must be destroyed.