The Mahablog

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The Mahablog

The Meadows Texts: Searching for Marshall Law

Talking Points Memo has the cache of Mark Meadows texts that were obtained by the J6 Committee. I personally think several members of Congress, plus Meadows, need to be tried for sedition. I also think they need remedial spelling classes. Let’s just hope the Meadow Texts get as much attention as Elon Musk’s nothingburger Twitter Files.

The text getting a lot of attention initially is from Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC), sent to Meadows on January 17, 2021, just three days before Joe Biden was scheduled to take office.

“Mark, in seeing what’s happening so quickly, and reading about the Dominion law suits attempting to stop any meaningful investigation we are at a point of ? no return ? in saving our Republic !! Our LAST HOPE is invoking Marshall Law!! PLEASE URGE TO PRESIDENT TO DO SO!!”

Something about this rang a bell. Oh, yeah, CNN reported back in April that Marjorie Taylor Greene sent this text to Mark Meadows, also on January 17.

“In our private chat with only Members, several are saying the only way to save our Republic is for Trump to call for Marshall law. I don’t know on those things. I just wanted you to tell him. They stole this election. We all know. They will destroy our country next. Please tell him to declassify as much as possible so we can go after Biden and anyone else!”

Obviously, we should find out who Marshall Law is, as he seems to be In On It. (/sarcasm) Oh, wait, I think I found him. He lives in a video game.

Reps. Norman and Greene also obviously really believe that the election was stolen. Here’s another one from Norman.

Guys, if there was ever a time to stand with our leader who has strengthened our military, stood for life for the unborn, supported Israel, built the wall , appointed conservative judges ect. And we lay down and abandon him JUST BECAUSE THE BIASED MEDIA HAS CALL THE ELECTION?? … I will go anywhere anytime to help our cause.

I know I’ve said in the distant past, that the Republican Party is mostly a big con but now the marks are getting into office and still don’t know it’s a con. Steve M at No More Mister Nice Blog writes,

When I started blogging twenty years ago, I believed that the right-wing propaganda machine was a cynical means to an end: The people who said that Democrats want to turn America into a communist dictatorship after stealing multiple elections through widespread voter fraud with the help of a monolithically left-wing media didn’t actually believe what they were saying — it was disinformation intended to stir up the rabble and keep them voting Republican. Now, as I read the Talking Points Memo series based on text exchanges after the 2020 election between then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and other coup plotters, I’m reminded that a large number of Republican officeholders are high on their own supply. They’re part of the rabble that believes the nonsense their propaganda outlets peddle.

There’s some serious stuff in the texts. Rep. Rick Allen of Georgia was practically spamming Meadows with utterly wild conspiracy theories he got from “his source.” Example:

Romanian illegal activity 3:40 ? 50 million stolen us identities 7:37 ? used by thiefs for online shopping, loans, election fraud, 8:24 ? produce duplicate copies of driver licenses to commit election fraud 8:40 ? to allow mail in voting from home 9:12 ? emails, passwords and all the data from your phone or laptop..and they will use these data in the election process without you realizing. 10:18 ?Planning this since 2009 10:48 ?100,000 Ukrainian illegally into the USA and “mules” to blackmail 1m US citizens to vote 13:40 ?defrauding 50m US citizens over $100B over past 11 years 15:30 ?received a second set of data in 2018 15:50 ?consequences of Trump reelection

Okay, then. Allen also was leaning on Brad Raffensperger to do something about all that, whatever it is.

And Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona exchanged a bunch of texts with Mark Meadows while ballots were being counted in Arizona. And after that it was about how do we turn this around? Biggs sent this on November 13:

So one of the remedies that may still be left is to enjoin the certification of the election based on the Fed only ballots. If we can’t get the investigation done in time for that, we should make sure we have it done in time and can demonstrate that a significant number of illegal aliens votes in the election so that the legislature, when called into certify the electors, can reject them based on fraud. What do you think?

I am no lawyer, but it might be that those people who seriously believed the election had been stolen from Trump might not be guilty of sedition. But surely Mark Meadows must have realized on some level that the Big Lie is a lie. He’d spent too much time with Trump to not know deep down that Trump is nothing but a grifter.

The way Biggs is processing information in his head is interesting, in a clinical way. Trump didn’t get enough votes? Obviously, it’s because a bunch of illegal aliens voted. That’s the only possible explanation. Biggs is not overburdened with critical thinking skills, I suspect.

In other news: Tesla stock is crashing, although it hasn’t hit zero yet. The BBC has just reported that Elon Musk is no longer the world’s richest man.

Also in other news: The announced breakthrough in fusion energy is good news, and I hope it can be turned into something. But if the past is our guide the world’s media are about to be flooded with stories about how fusion causes cancer or turns people gay or some such, to turn the public against it. And eventually the stories will be traced back to Big Oil. Just watch.

DoD, Cuccinelli, Alex Jones: Text News

Too much is happening all at once. It’s hard to keep up.

This week CNN reported, “The Defense Department wiped the phones of top departing DOD and Army officials at the end of the Trump administration, deleting any texts from key witnesses to events surrounding the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol, according to court filings.”

The departing officials included former acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller, former chief of staff Kash Patel, and former Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy. It doesn’t sound as if these people deleted anything from their government-issued phones when they left the DoD; rather, the DoD wiped the phones without making backups first when they were turned in, the article says.

But I do remember that Miller and Patel were part of the plan to replace as many key officials as possible with Trump loyalists in the closing days of the Trump Administration. Miller was acting SecDef from November 9, 2020 to January 20, 2021. He replaced Mark Esper, whom Trump fired on November 9. This was just two days after the 2020 election had been called for Joe Biden. Shortly after that, Kash Patel was named Miller’s chief of staff.

By then, the fake elector plot already was taking shape. (McCarthy was Secretary of the Army from September 2019 to January 20, 2021, so his appointment probably wasn’t connected to the election overturning scheme.)

Note also that both Miller and Patel were accused of blocking cooperation with the Biden transition team.

Also, “Miller, Patel and McCarthy have all been viewed as crucial witnesses for understanding government’s response to the January 6 Capitol assault and former President Donald Trump’s reaction to the breach. All three were involved in the Defense Department’s response to sending National Guard troops to the US Capitol as the riot was unfolding,” CNN reported. This is a part of the January 6 picture that hasn’t been much addressed so far.

A few days ago it was reported that text messages of acting homeland security secretary Chad Wolf and acting deputy secretary Ken Cuccinelli were missing also. You might remember Chad Wolf’s unconstitutional activities in Portland, summer 2020.

And now Cuccinelli has been subpoenaed by a federal grand jury regarding January 6. Cuccinelli strikes me as a guy who would like to just walk away from the mess that is Trump. He’d probably rather not denounce Trump, but I doubt he’s going to take any bullets for him, either.

I’m looking forward to the second season of the January 6 committee hearings. It could be even better than the first season.

Much hilarity ensued yesterday at Alex Jones’s trial when it was revealed Jones’s lawyer accidentally had sent all of his text messages to the prosecuting attorneys. It amounted to several hundred gigabytes of material that revealed a lot of deceptions and withholding of evidence on Jones’s part.

Jones is so screwed. His attorney asked for a mistrial this morning; the judge promptly denied it. This judge is all out of bleeps, I believe. For more on that, see Alex Jones Can’t Pretend His Way Out of This Reality by Charlie Warzel at The Atlantic.

Update: The January 6 committee wants Alex Jones’s texts.

In other news — the Senate voted to allow Sweden and Finland to join NATO. This was a near-unanimous vote. The only holdout was Josh Hawley, who says we can’t waste time on NATO because China is bad. Yeah, he just wanted to draw attention to himself. Before the vote Mitch McConnell addressed the senators and basically advised them that voting against the admissions would be an extremely stupid move, and I guess everybody but Hawley heard him.

Thoughts on the First Night of the Hearings

I believe the only revelation from last night that was completely news to me was that “multiple” GOP lawmakers, including Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.), had asked Trump for pardons regarding their role in trying to get him another term. Perry is denying this, of course; I assume the committee has proof. I believe I’d heard some version of the rest of it before. I wasn’t even surprised by Ivanka’s testimony that she believed Bill Barr about the election results over her father. I predicted yesterday that she or Jared might throw Daddy under the bus, or partway under, anyway.

But Jared is in deeper doodoo, it appears. See Rolling Stone, Jared Kushner Wasn’t Just Involved in Trump’s Push to Overturn 2020. He Helped Start It.

According to four people familiar with the matter, in the week following Election Day in early November of that year, Kushner took charge in overseeing the development of plans to keep Trump in office — Kushner just wasn’t publicly ostentatious about it in the way Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani and others were. During that first week, Kushner repeatedly met with Trump and other high-ranking aides to the then-president to discuss and map out possible strategies for multi-pronged legal battles and a scorched-earth messaging war against the victorious Biden campaign, the knowledgeable sources tell Rolling Stone. …

…“Jared was directly involved,” one of these sources, a former senior Trump aide who worked on the effort to nullify the election outcome, said. “There was a [brief] window…when it seemed like he was positioning himself to be the Jim Baker of this fight … It didn’t last long. He backed away from it, but he was there and got his hands dirty like everyone else did.” (Baker, a towering figure in the Republican Party, helmed the legal team for George W. Bush during the chaotic Florida recount that ultimately handed Bush the presidency.)

“Jared helped create what then morphed into the Rudy clown show,” the source added.

Now Jared is trying to wash his hands of the mess, seeing as how he’s running a legitimate olive oil private equity business. But as in most things in his sorry-ass life, Jared screwed it up before he walked away.

There’s a lot of good commentary out there, along with a lot of pathetic excuses on right-wing sites. As I said in a comment yesterday, I think the first two hours of the hearings did what they needed to do, which was to establish that the January 6 insurrection was seriously dangerous and not just a protest that spun out of control. It was an attempt at overturning the election. Trump was in the middle of it, and the Big Lie really is a big lie.

Worth noting — Philip Bump at WaPo says that Trump’s inactions on January 6 may have been the most damning evidence of the night.

Trump, Cheney said during Thursday’s hearing, “did not call his secretary of defense,” “did not talk to his attorney general,” “did not talk to the Department of Homeland Security,” “gave no order to deploy the National Guard that day” and “made no effort to work with the Department of Justice to coordinate and display and deploy law enforcement assets.”

Pence demanded action. Trump demanded nothing.

Why? Why wouldn’t the president want immediate action to stem the violence? Messages from allies were flooding his chief of staff’s phone, demanding he do something. But he didn’t. Why not?

It was Pence, not Trump, who made multiple phone calls demanding that Homeland Security, the Justice Department, and everybody else please send reinforcements to the Capitol. Pence was in danger, of course, so I don’t blame him. He’d also talked to Gen. Mark A. Milley at the Pentagon. Trump did not.

Trump could have done three things on that day. He could have kept pushing the rioters forward, offering more tweets like his one soon after the Capitol was breached disparaging Pence. At the other end of the spectrum, he could have done what Pence did, demanding immediate action to protect the safety of legislators and the security of the Capitol. Or he could have done what he did: little to nothing, avoiding criticism for actively stoking the riot as it was underway while reaping the benefit he enjoyed — seeing his furious supporters fight to keep him in office.

I have a hard time understanding how Trump supporters can’t see they were just being used.

Liz Cheney said that Trump was employing a “sophisticated seven-part plan” to overturn the election, and these would be explored in the future hearings. Here are the seven parts, according to Matt Shuham at TPM:

1. President Trump engaged in a massive effort to spread false and fraudulent information to the American public claiming the 2020 election was stolen from him.

2. President Trump corruptly planned to replace the Acting Attorney General, so that the Department of Justice would support his fake election claims.

3. President Trump corruptly pressured Vice President Pence to refuse to count certified electoral votes in violation of the US Constitution and the law.

4. President Trump corruptly pressured state election officials, and state legislators, to change election results.

5. President Trump’s legal team and other Trump associates instructed Republicans in multiple states to create false electoral slates and transmit those slates to Congress and the National Archives.

6. President Trump summoned and assembled a violent mob in Washington and directed them to march on the US Capitol.

7. As the violence was underway, President Trump ignored multiple pleas for assistance and failed to take immediate action to stop the violence and instruct his supporters to leave the Capitol.

Those who are deeply invested in believing the Big Lie are unlikely to ever admit to the truth. They’ll always find some excuse to cling to. And it’s known Trump is pretty skilled at not leaving his own fingerprints at crime scenes. But let’s hope there are enough people not so invested who will appreciate what the hearings are showing them.