CONGRESSIONAL HEARING TODAY ON AMERICAN COUP ATTEMPT
Midday Monday, the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th
Attack on the U.S. Capitol announced a hearing "to present recently
obtained evidence and receive witness testimony." This is a surprise,
and it was not until late tonight that reporters confirmed with their
sources that the witness will be Cassidy Hutchinson, an aide to former
president Trump's chief of staff Mark Meadows. Hutchinson was the person
who revealed that congress members had asked for pardons.
Legal analyst Asha Rangappa tweeted that she will be watching to see if
Hutchinson can testify that Trump, Meadows, or members of Congress
either knew about or planned violence for January 6 to pressure Pence.
"If so, it brings them into crosshairs of seditious conspiracy," she
While we have been focused on the Supreme Court's decision to overturn
Roe v. Wade more news has come out about the attempt of Trump and his
allies to overturn the government.
Indeed, scholar of authoritarianism Ruth Ben-Ghiat today noted that
there is a relationship between the insurrection and the radical Supreme
Court decisions coming out. Justice Clarence Thomas has been writing
opinions and footnotes that are to the right even of the rest of the
radical court, and today he suggested he would like the court to revisit
the 1964 New York Times v. Sullivan decision that provides some
protection to media outlets from being sued for defamation by requiring
a plaintiff to prove the outlet acted with "actual malice." Thomas wants
to make it easier to sue media outlets because, he wrote, the "New York
Times and its progeny have allowed media organizations and interest
groups 'to cast false aspersions on public figures with near impunity.'"
Ben-Ghiat tweeted that "[s]elf-protection (and protection for corrupt
family members) is a huge driver of authoritarian behaviors. He feels
threatened and will try and change the legal order to avoid scrutiny.
Radicalized people no longer care about 'how it looks' to outsiders."
In this particular case, Thomas's beef is with the Southern Poverty Law
Center (SPLC) for calling out Coral Ridge Ministries Media, Inc., as a
"hate group" because of its opposition to homosexuality and gay rights.
The SPLC identifies as hate groups any groups that "have beliefs or
practices that malign or attack an entire class of people, typically for
their immutable characteristics." "SPLC's 'hate group' designation
lumped Coral Ridge's Christian ministry with groups like the Ku Klux
Klan and Neo-Nazis," Thomas complained, and that hurt their ability to
Recent stories about the attempt to overturn the election include, most
notably, Politico's report of last Monday that British filmmaker Alex
Holder filmed the Trump family from September 2020 through to
mid-January 2021 to record for posterity their actions during the
historic election. Apparently, this was a family project, and a number
of the people on the campaign did not know.
Last Thursday, the January 6 committee interviewed Holder. It has also
subpoenaed the tape and the raw footage.
There are continuing signs that the attempt to overturn the Democratic
victory in 2020 and install Trump in office swept in more lawmakers than
the committee identified last Thursday. When news broke last Tuesday
that Wisconsin senator Ron Johnson, a Republican, had tried to hand off
slates of false electors from Michigan and Wisconsin to then–Vice
President Mike Pence at the Joint Session of Congress on January 6,
Johnson initially passed it off as the work of an unnamed intern and
called it a "non-story."
Two days later, Johnson changed his tune, saying that the office of
Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) had sent the fake slates of electors
and that Johnson, his chief of staff, and Trump-affiliated lawyer Jim
Troupis had coordinated through text messages to figure out how to get
the fake ballots to Pence. Kelly's office promptly said Kelly "has not
spoken to Sen. Johnson for the better part of a decade, and he has no
knowledge of the claims Mr. Johnson is making related to the 2020
Meanwhile in Colorado, Tina Peters, an election official from Mesa
County who has been charged with crimes for her role in trying to
overturn the results of the election, on Friday told Nick Corasaniti and
Alexandra Berzon of the New York Times that Lauren Boebert (R-CO)
encouraged her "to go forward" with stealing and sharing voter
information. That information, allegedly obtained through identity theft
and illegal breach of computers, later turned up on a right-wing website
and at a symposium organized by Mike Lindell, the owner of the MyPillow
Company and a leading Trump supporter, alleging voter fraud. A press
secretary for Boebert calls the claims false.
Today we also learned that the Department of Justice last week seized
the phones of John Eastman, the man who wrote the infamous memo
outlining plans for Pence to steal the election. In a lawsuit trying to
get the phones released and all that was on them deleted, Eastman's
lawyers explained that federal prosecutors had stopped Eastman outside a
restaurant in New Mexico on June 22. This was the same day federal
agents executed a search warrant on Jeffrey Clark. Trump wanted to make
Clark acting attorney general in the days before January 6 so he would
work to overturn the election.
Right-wing insistence Friday night that the weekend would be
characterized by "rage" as pro-choice supporters turned violent seemed
designed to draw false equivalence between those who stormed the Capitol
to overturn the election and those angry at the Supreme Court's refusal
to recognize a constitutional right that the American people have
enjoyed for half a century -- and, perhaps, to justify brutality to silence
those protests. In fact, aside from sporadic violence against the
protesters rather than from them, the protests were peaceful.
There is another link between the recent Supreme Court decisions and the
January 6 attempt to destroy our democracy that creates an unprecedented
situation. If Trump is prosecuted as the leader of an attempted coup, a
coup that may have included some of those who voted for Trump's three
Supreme Court nominees, what does that do to their positions on the
Heather Cox Richardson
Letter from an American
Just Outside Washington
Today is Sunday and Kathy and I spent a good deal of the morning
enjoying a nice breakfast and the Sunday papers, the New York Times and
the Washington Post. This morning both papers added to the hysteria
about high gas prices that we have been hearing about all week on radio
(yes, I still listen to radio), the internet and TV.
FRANK'S COMPLETE ARCHIVES
SEAT BELTS FASTENED?
QC | With Covid fading from our alarm systems -- it's no longer the topic of
most conversation -- and with the protesters having left Ottawa, we have
one more distraction: the war in the Ukraine. What we know we do have
to face ultimately, what's waiting outside, is huge: the climate crash.
It's too big to compare to even war and pandemic.
The conspiracy-brains among us are preparing again to "pivot", and they
will read conspiracy into even talk about our collapsing climate.
These modern-day Contras are already gearing up, sharpening and
polishing their push-back -- and, of course, collecting money. Big
money, for such a big topic. There will be plenty flowing from all the
interests who would rather ignore or deny the climate threats and get
back to business-as-usual. Go ahead, list all the possible sources of
support for questioning the reality or severity or time-frame of climate
disintegration. Start with the tar-sands and fossil fuels.
This coming contest is just shaping up its battle lines now, and the
forces already on board with questioning climate change will easily
multiply their efforts. They have buckets of money to "convince"
professional politicians, the media and celebrities in general. Elon
Musk's capture of Twitter is one example.
But equally the environmentalists and the youth are mobilizing. They'll
be blamed for focussing only on the ill-effects of what we claim is our
civilization. Watch the movement grow to cancel the radioactive dump on
the Ottawa River, just upstream from most of us, as one example. The
Friday protests of school kids will multiply; but so too will
youth-attractive celebrities selling anything except climate collapse.
Big money, yes, of course. So many of the largest corporations and
banks are inter-twined with fossil fuel industries, we can't expect an
easy struggle to contain and even remake our changing world. We've
already heard plenty from the corporations. Musk has already
characterized any modification of society to avoid the worst as an
assault on "personal freedom". Freedom, to this bright light, is more
valuable than mere existence.
And include something else here: the cry, "we need to earn a living!"
Because someone can earn their living here, we are immoral to shut down
or even restrict oil and gas, mining, clear-cutting forests, and, I
suppose, chemical agriculture. These employ millions around the world,
and those millions all have families to feed, mortgages to pay, and
debts to cover. Again, being debt-free or being able to buy a new car,
an ATV, buy groceries, go on a trip, even to space, is more important
than to continue existing. Pretty strange logic!
Sure, none of this is amusing. We, on the sole planet in the universe
which supports any form of consciousness (that we know of), will be
asked to give even that up if it threatens the corporate fortunes of the
Will money flow to those think-tanks arguing that our existence is just
an evolutionary accident, anyway, so why limit the happiness of many
just so the majority can survive?
Will money flow to organizations, to organizers and leaders of
Will money flow to social media, the famous stuff that makes people
suicidal -- but free! -- and which will confuse the issues and
smoke-screen the possibilities of improving and innovating ourselves
out of this future?
Must the four or five percent who own most of the world's resources keep
control of those assets, even if it means a surprisingly quick end to