The Mahablog

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The Mahablog

This Afternoon’s January 6 Hearing

Today’s hearings begin at 1 pm EST. Feel free to comment here about them before, during, and after.

By now you’ve probably heard about the January 5 tour of the Capitol complex led by Rep. Barry Loudermilk, in which the same guy seen photographing stairwells and hallways also took part in the January 6 march to the Capitol. It’s not clear to me if he entered the building.

This is from the New York Times

A lawyer advising President Donald J. Trump claimed in an email after Election Day 2020 to have insight into a “heated fight” among the Supreme Court justices over whether to hear arguments about the president’s efforts to overturn his defeat at the polls, two people briefed on the email said.

The lawyer, John Eastman, made the statement in a Dec. 24, 2020, exchange with a pro-Trump lawyer and Trump campaign officials over whether to file legal papers that they hoped might prompt four justices to agree to hear an election case from Wisconsin.

Eastman said that the chances SCOTUS would hear this case depended more on the “justices’ spines” than on legal merit. Then this part is revealing:

The pro-Trump lawyer, Kenneth Chesebro, replied that the “odds of action before Jan. 6 will become more favorable if the justices start to fear that there will be ‘wild’ chaos on Jan. 6 unless they rule by then, either way.”

Their exchange took place five days after Mr. Trump issued a call for his supporters to attend a “protest” at the Ellipse near the White House on Jan. 6, 2021, the day Congress would certify the electoral vote count confirming Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory. “Be there. Will be wild!” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter.

Another piece of the puzzle. Note that I don’t assume Eastman had any insight into whether the justices were engaged in any kind of “heated fight.”

However, Eastman may have been getting info for Ginni Thomas, who apparently is nuttier than a peanut farm. This is from the Washington Post:

The House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol has obtained email correspondence between Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, and lawyer John Eastman, who played a key role in efforts to pressure Vice President Mike Pence to block the certification of Joe Biden’s victory, according to three people involved in the committee’s investigation.

The emails show that Thomas’s efforts to overturn the election were more extensive than previously known, two of the people said. The three declined to provide details and spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters.

The committee’s members and staffers are now discussing whether to spend time during their public hearings exploring Ginni Thomas’s role in the attempt to overturn the outcome of the 2020 election, the three people said. The Washington Post previously reported that the committee had not sought an interview with Thomas and was leaning against pursuing her cooperation with its investigation.

I wouldn’t call her to testify, based on this. I question her grasp of, well, reality.

Updates to come.

Update: The bobbleheads on MSNBC are saying that this afternoon’s hearing proved that Trump knew his plan to have Mike Pence nix the election result was illegal. Yes, but as I’ve said before, for Trump “truth” and “knowlege” are meaningless abstractions. All he recognizes is what he wants.

CNN has a document that it calls Judge J. Michael Luttig’s statement to the committee. The thing is, though, that I don’t remember Judge Luttig readng this statement. I believe he did say some of this in response to questions, but not all of it. It’s a very good document, nonetheless.

Against my advice, the committee will ask Ginnie Thomas to speak to them. Maybe this will not be part of a publicc hearing. I think she’s too erratic and delusional to put in front of a camera.

The hearing today emphasized how much danger Pence was in that day. It also emphasized that John Eastman didn’t believe that Pence had the constitutional power to question the election results, even as he pitched the idea to Trump and the mob at the January 6 rally. I believe this was the first time I have heard he asked Trump for a pardon.

A bobblehead on MSNBC criticized Pence for refusing to testify himself, instead of letting his aides speak for him.

He might do better to position himself as a leader of a “save the Republican party from Trump” movement. But I guess he doesn’t have the nerve.

9 thoughts on “This Afternoon’s January 6 Hearing

  1. Does Barbara have a perspective on the references to prayer thru today's testimony?  Will it reach some rural Christians in a positive way?  Cults historically lose membership over time and I keep hoping now is the time.  

    I thought the capper was Judge Luttig's reference to praying to a shared God.  He is Jewish.

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    • Yeah, they pretty much canonized Mike Pence today. They'll have to erect an altar to him in the Rotunda somewhere.

      Seriously, I assume this was an appeal to the evangelicals et al. who still consider Trump the Tool of God. 

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      • I grew up in rural central Illinois.  Only indirect contacts with those remained there.  I have been pondering if any of today's hearings will get thru to some of them so that they will talk about it with others.  If it does, some of the content of the other hearings will penetrate.  Cults usually disband slowly but any and all dissolution is welcome.

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  2. I hope that Ginni Thomas is interviewed by the committee, because regardless of what demeanor she displays, we need to see her for ourselves. 
     

    Anything that will contribute towards the discrediting of her husband could hasten his retirement and therefore to Biden’ second SCOTUS nomination. The Senate might not remain in Democratic hands for long. 

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  3. I watched today's hearing live, same as the other two.

    I'd heard that Judge Luttig was some sort of conservative Yoda-like legal figure.

    When he was called upon at today's hearing, he took so much time to answer questions, I thought he was much older – like in his 80's, or older – or had had a stroke, or something.

    So I scoured the internet.  I couldn't find anything on the internet about his health, but discovered he's 68 – only four years older than me.

    Of course, I'm almost never at a loss for words.  What I lack in knowledge, I make-up with BS.  And I'm basically the same immature asshole I was when I was 15.  I always joked that the epitaph on my tombstone* should read, " He may have grown old.  But he never matured."

    I'm curious, did anyone else think he had been ill, or was much older?  Or was it just me.

    *No tombstone for me.  Just a flick of a Bic to start my body-fat burning!

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  4. I didn't see all the hearing live and just finished watching the second half on YouTube. 

    First thought: it's a mistake to see Mike Pence as a hero or villain in the play. In a host of other cruel decisions by the Administration, Pence seems complicit. The difference is not the scope of this evil exceeding (for example) separating mothers from babies at the border. In this case, Pence ALONE would have been responsible with no chance to deflect his dishonor. IMO, that's what he could not do – be solely, publicly and legally liable. Again, opinion, but if Mike could have made the decision a committee edict which he only benefitted from with a second term as VP, he'd have gone along. 

    To his credit, regardless of motive, he did the right thing.

    The J6 Committee, aware that Trump's defense is that they are partisan and illegitimate, has leaned heavily (almost exclusively) on the testimony of major Republican figures – many from within the Trump Administration. This is great showmanship – the committee is trying to reach persuadable voters, not the Democrats who are already believers. 

    Whoever writes the definitive history will hopefully grab rights to the phrase, "A Coup In Search Of A Legal Theory" as the title. 

    I'm gonna quote myself from my book on the topic, a sure sign of the onset of senility. But this was written in 2018 or so regarding my brother in the chapter, Stabbed In The Back.

    "Our Republic is based on compromise and it guarantees an unhappy truth for everyone—you’ll have to live with people and policies not entirely to your liking. The philosophy of “complete victory at all costs” leads to the dark side because once you reject the will of the majority as a sacred principle, all forms of deceit and violence become legitimate forms of political expression. I’m unyielding on the non-partisan precept of rule by the majority—I've made myself unwelcome with liberals who don’t get it."

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  5. He might do better to position himself as a leader of a “save the Republican party from Trump” movement. But I guess he doesn’t have the nerve.

    I wonder if Chairman Thompson's invitation at the closing of the hearing for anybody to come forward who might have some information pertaining to the coup attempt was a veiled message to Mike Pence. The only proof that Pence acted to do the right thing was after the 2:24 tweet where Trump confirmed to the mob that Pence was a marked man. Trump essentiallly tried to impose a death sentence on Pence for his disobedience to Trump's desire.

    Vengeance is mine saith the Lord, but Pence's testimony to further expose Trump's coup attempt can go a long way in helping the Lord achieve that vengeance.

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  6. I really think the Committee should make Pence testify.  I'd love to hear him explain why he said "I'm not getting in that car", along with everything else he knows about The Plan.  If he was afraid that Trump had ordered the Secret Service to dump his corpse in the Potomoc, we need to know all about it – especially if the SS was actually going to follow those orders.

    Forcing Pence to testify has a political upside, too.  It would make it much harder for Pence to thread the needle that all 2024 GOP Presidential candidates will have to deal with: appearing Honorable & Presidential (upholding Law & Constitution) without pissing off Trump's Mob.  OTOH, Democrats might prefer to run against a Pence (an obvious Toad with no charisma) than someone like DeSantis (only slightly less crazy than Trump).

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