Cup of Joe – 6/10/22

Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) set the tone of the hearing with a truly extraordinary opening statement: “It was domestic enemies of the Constitution who stormed the Capitol.”

And he made clear that Domestic Enemy Number One was Donald Trump.

Thompson continued: “Donald Trump was at the center of a conspiracy to spur a mob of domestic enemies to march to the Capitol to subvert American democracy. January 6th was the culmination of an attempted coup to overthrow the government.”

Thompson handed the baton to Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), who was truly extraordinary. She proved herself a remarkably effective communicator, synthesizing video and written evidence clearly, succinctly and dispassionately.

And she also absolutely tore apart the former president: “Trump did not condemn the attack, he justified it… as you will see President Trump believed his supporters were ‘doing what he should be doing.’ This is what he told his staff.”

Cheney noted that when Trump was told by staff of the very real threat of a mob murdering Vice President Mike Pence, Trump responded: “Maybe he deserves it.”

She concluded that Trump “summoned the mob, assembled the mob and lit the flame of this attack.”

The opening statements were more like opening arguments by prosecutors than the typical hearing. Thompson and Cheney were very successful in making their case. The video of depositions interspersed throughout was also extraordinarily effective. It showed Trump loyalists — many of whom claim to remain close to the former president to this day — turning against Trump himself when under oath.

The immediate effect will be to isolate Trump from his advisors — perhaps even his own daughter, who testified under oath that she believed her father lost the election. 

There were also bombshells: Cheney pledged to provide proof that Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) and “multiple other Republican congressmen” sought pardons from Trump for their actions after January 6. That’s an extraordinary charge. And another: The Proud Boys were positioning to seize the Capitol while Trump was still speaking at the rally. And another: A new video showed a rioter reading a Trump tweet to the mob which incited the chant: “Hang Mike Pence!”

And one more: The Department of Justice is working with “cooperating witnesses,” confirming a criminal investigation is underway.

But tonight was just a preview. The coming hearings will attempt to detail that:

  • Trump knew he lost the election but actively pushed the Big Lie anyway.
  • Trump tried to replace Attorney General Bill Barr to force the Department of Justice to keep him in office
  • Trump pressured Vice President Mike Pence to ignore his constitutional responsibility in certifying the electoral vote.
  • Trump pressured state election officials to overturn the election results.

We’ll see how the remaining hearings play out, but it’s already clear that there will be enormous pressure on Attorney General Merrick Garland as a result.

The committee is laying out what amounts to a criminal case against Trump.

Associated Press: “Thursday’s prime-time hearing [opened] with eyewitness testimony from the first police officer pummeled in the mob riot and from a documentary filmmaker who recorded the melee, and it will feature the committee’s accounts from Trump’s aides and family members of the deadly siege that put U.S. democracy at risk.”

Josh Marshall: “I would say the first hearing was pretty powerful. The second half was emotively powerful. But it was the first portion of the hearing which seemed to make some critical connections and add some new facts that I either wasn’t aware of or hadn’t seen connected like that before. There were a lot examples where they hinted at things to come – claiming that the White House was getting lots of intelligence that violence was being planned.

As I mentioned earlier, the part that seemed new to me was seeing so many Trump diehards saying straightforwardly that the whole thing was a lie. That’s not new information. Or not surprising information. But it’s remarkable to see it so clearly. That the whole thing was a lie. A cynical lie. We know that. But this just brings it to the fore in such a graphic way.

The one other point I’ll emphasize again: I didn’t quite grasp how much of this would be wrong-footing the Trump world. You’ve got existing diehards. Not just like Bill Barr who we know has basically washed his hands of Trump. But people who still very much in that world saying yeah that was all crap. That has to sow a lot of dissension in that milieu and put Trump on the warpath against his own loyalists.”

“Leaked text messages between Utah Sen. Mike Lee and former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows suggest Lee was a participant in the plot to keep Donald Trump in office, a charge Lee vehemently disputes,” the Salt Lake Tribune reports.

“Recently released court documents could prove problematic for Lee’s defense.”

ABC News has obtained a video that will be shown at tonight’s hearing of the January 6 committee. The footage “shows some of the most infamous Capitol rioters in the hours before they appeared in the halls of Congress.”

The committee also plans to “feature clips of taped interviews with Trump administration officials and family members, including Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump.”

“Former President Donald Trump’s political committee is spending $500,000 on a national digital and TV ad painting the Jan. 6 committee as a partisan witch hunt,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

Politico: “Coordination remains underway between aides to former President Donald Trump, GOP allies on Capitol Hill, and the Republican National Committee. But aides in those circles say that with the Jan. 6 committee having not yet revealed its witness list or the content to be unveiled, their actual plans for pushback remain TBD.”

“Among Trump allies, there is also a sense that the public’s opinions on Jan. 6 are already baked in place and that even expertly produced hearings won’t materially change that.”

Leaked audio shows House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy supported a congressional inquiry into the January 6 insurrection — just five days after it happened — the opposite to the opinion he later argued in public.

Said McCarthy: “We cannot just sweep this under the rug. We need to know why it happened, who did it and people need to be held accountable for it. And I’m committed to make sure that happens.”

In the weeks after the riot, McCarthy completely reversed his position.

Aaron Blake: “House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) took to a news conference Thursday to offer a prebuttal of the Jan. 6 committee’s public hearings, which were set to begin Thursday night. He cast the committee as illegitimate and overly political, suggesting the House’s time would be better used on issues such as inflation, gas prices and crime.”

“What he also did, though, was reinforce just how much the chief questions about Jan. 6, 2021 and what preceded it remain largely unanswered — or at least unsettled, thanks to people like McCarthy, who once expressed great interest in them.”

“In the space of 60 seconds, McCarthy was asked five times whether President Biden’s win in the 2020 election was legitimate. Each time, he declined to answer.”

“As then-President Donald Trump left a rally with his supporters on Jan. 6, 2021, he appears to have held out hope until the last minute — even as chaos unfolded — that he’d be able to join them at the Capitol,” Politico reports. “Trump even raised the prospect privately with the head of his Secret Service detail at the time, Robert Engel.”

Donald Trump called the 2021 Capitol assault “the greatest movement in the history of our country” in a meandering rant Thursday — hours ahead of a congressional hearing aimed at demonstrating his culpability for the deadly siege, Yahoo News reports.

Said Trump: “January 6th was not simply a protest, it represented the greatest movement in the history of our Country to Make America Great Again.”

Jonathan Last: “The story of Mike Pence is the negative space in the January 6 Committee investigation. As more details about the machinations of John Eastman, Mark Meadows, Ted Cruz, and others emerge, Pence’s own actions are ever present in the background. Without him, we might not have this committee. Without him, we might not even have this republic.”

“Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) is in talks with the Jan. 6 committee to testify publicly,” Politico reports.

“Raffensperger’s appearance would likely accompany testimony from other state and local election officials who have discussed threats and pressure to support Trump’s bogus claims of fraud and would come as the panel is starting to present its findings in public hearings. But Raffensperger’s account is likely to be the most direct evidence of Trump’s personal engagement in his effort to flip the results of the election. That effort is also under scrutiny from local prosecutors.”

David Brooks: “Using the events of Jan. 6 as campaign fodder is small-minded and likely to be ineffective. If you think you can find the magic moment that will finally discredit Donald Trump in the eyes of the electorate, you haven’t been paying attention over the last six years. Sorry, boomers, but this is not the Watergate scandal in which we need an investigation to find out who said what to whom in the Oval Office. The horrors of Jan. 6 were out in public. The shocking truth of it was what we all saw that day and what we’ve learned about the raw violence since.”

“We don’t need a committee to simply regurgitate what happened on Jan. 6, 2021. We need a committee that will preserve democracy on Jan. 6, 2025, and Jan. 6, 2029. We need a committee to locate the weaknesses in our democratic system and society and find ways to address them.”

“The core problem here is not the minutiae of who texted what to chief of staff Mark Meadows on Jan. 6 last year. The core problem is that there are millions of Americans who have three convictions: that the election was stolen, that violence is justified in order to rectify it and that the rules and norms that hold our society together don’t matter.”

Former GOP adviser Kurt Bardella told The Independent that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA) decision to withdraw all his picks from the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 insurrection was a “massive strategic error.”

Bardella predicted that Donald Trump would “lose his mind” when he watches the select committee’s hearings and realizes no one is there to interject with talking points representing his side of the argument.

“Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), the lead Republican negotiator on a bipartisan gun control package, struck a decidedly optimistic tone this afternoon, predicting the group of more than 10 senators could produce legislation that President Joe Biden can sign into law,” Punchbowl News reports.

CEOs of more than 220 U.S. companies on Thursday will release a letter calling on the Senate to “take immediate action” to reduce gun violence, Axios reports.

“Facebook prohibits gun sales on its service. But buyers and sellers can violate the rule 10 times before they are kicked off the social network,” the Washington Post reports.

Rep. Pat Fallon (R-TX) blamed the rise in mass shootings on “the overuse of these dang smartphones.”

“Former President Trump and his adult children, Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr., are scheduled to testify under oath on July 15 as part of a probe by the New York attorney general into his finances,” Axios reports.

“The longtime chief financial officer of the Trump Organization is shaking up his legal team as he and the company prepare for a likely trial this fall on tax-fraud charges,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“None of it makes sense to me… You can’t take politics out of politics.” — Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC), quoted by CNN, on Attorney General Merrick Garland being cautious about bringing charges against Donald Trump.

“Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the Biden administration is considering ways to reconfigure tariffs on imports from China as a means of helping to ease decades-high inflation,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Ms. Yellen, speaking at a House Ways and Means Committee hearing on Wednesday, said she expected the administration to have additional information on its plans in the coming weeks, although there is no firm timeline.”

Polish President Andrzej Duda has slammed the leaders of France and Germany over their phone calls with Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying it was like having talks with Adolf Hitler during World War II, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

Said Duda: “Did anyone speak like this with Adolf Hitler during World War II? Did anyone say that Adolf Hitler must save face? That we should proceed in such a way that it is not humiliating for Adolf Hitler? I have not heard such voices.”

“Shanghai and Beijing went back on fresh Covid-19 alert on Thursday after parts of China’s largest economic hub started imposing new lockdown restrictions while the most populous district in the Chinese capital shut entertainment venues,” Reuters reports.

“Both cities had eased widespread Covid curbs recently after a decline in new cases. However, the country has stuck with a ‘dynamic zero-Covid’ policy aimed at shutting down transmission chains as soon as possible.”

Financial Times: China digs in for permanent zero-Covid with testing and quarantine regime.

“Progressive Democrats were knocked on the defensive in their own party over crime and homelessness on Wednesday after voters in two high-profile California races delivered a stark warning about the potency of law and order as a political message in 2022,” the New York Times reports.

“The landslide recall of a progressive prosecutor in San Francisco, Chesa Boudin, and the strength of a Republican-turned-Democratic mayoral candidate in deep-blue Los Angeles, Rick Caruso, who ran relentlessly as a crime-fighter eager to clean up the streets, showed the extent to which voter anxieties about public safety have taken hold — even in some of the most progressive corners of the nation.”

Washington Post: Worries over crime haunt Democrats ahead of the midterm elections.

Pastor Dillon Awes delivered a sermon saying that all gay people should be killed, LGBTQ Nation reports.

Said Awes: “Every single homosexual in our country should be charged with the crime, the abomination of homosexuality, that they have. They should be convicted in a lawful trial. They should be sentenced with death.”

He added: “They should be lined up against the wall and shot in the back of the head! That’s what God teaches. That’s what the Bible says. You don’t like it? You don’t like God’s Word, because that is what God says.”

“Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro cast doubt on the 2020 election victory of U.S. President Joe Biden, just two days before they are due to meet for the first time during the Summit of the Americas,” Reuters reports.

“Bolsonaro, an outspoken admirer of former President Donald Trump, said in a TV interview that he still harbors suspicions about Biden’s victory and he again praised Trump’s government.”

“The Senate failed to confirm Lisa Gomez to lead the Employee Benefits Security Administration within the Labor Department on Wednesday. The vote was 49-51, with Majority Leader Chuck Schumer voting nay for procedural reasons to allow a vote again at a later date,” Politico reports.

“The problem here? Vice President Kamala Harris is needed to break a tie on the nomination. But she was on the West Coast.”

“After a weeks-long impasse, Twitter’s board plans to comply with Elon Musk’s demands for internal data by offering access to its full ‘firehose,’ the massive stream of data comprising more than 500 million tweets posted each day,” the Washington Post reports.

“The move aims to end a standoff with the billionaire, who has threatened to pull out of his $44 billion deal to buy Twitter unless the company provides access to data he says is necessary to evaluate the number of fake users on the platform.”

“Thousands of workers in Britain had another reason to celebrate after returning from a long weekend to mark Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee,” the Washington Post reports.  “They’re participating in the world’s biggest trial of the four-day workweek, as the global movement toward fewer workdays gathers momentum in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.”

“A spokeswoman for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) this week registered as a foreign agent of a former president of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, belatedly detailing work she performed for the politician between 2018 and 2020,” the Washington Post reports.  Of course, she did so only after being contacted by the Justice Department.

Associated Press: “The administration is undergoing a period of unusually high staff turnover as President Joe Biden nears 18 months in office. Long hours, low morale and relatively low pay are taking a toll on both the ranks of the senior staff and the more numerous junior aides who keep the White House functioning.”

“It’s not unusual for staff to turn over at this point in a presidency, but the swiftness of the change has been stark at times: Two-thirds of the White House press shop, much of the Covid-19 response team, two of the deputy counsels to the president, even the staffer who manages the White House Twitter account are all leaving within a few weeks of each other.”

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

1 comment on “Cup of Joe – 6/10/22

  1. cassandram

    The hearings on Thursday were riveting and I was surprised when they ended after only two hours. David Brooks is dead wrung in his assessment. No doubt that there are many Americans who have been brainwashed into thinking Jan 6 was no big deal — Brooks needs to come to terms with his role in setting the place for that kind of fealty to a Big Lie AND he needs to understand the point of the hearings is to push for some accountability for the people who fomented this insurrection, who followed the orders, and who are still plotting the killing of our Democracy.

    I don’t think I’ll ever stop being mad at Republicans.

    And I want more Democrats who will talk about the GOP and their anti-democratic efforts the way Liz Cheney does.

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