December 16, 2021

Jan. 6 Commission

“Former President Donald Trump's chief of staff, Mark Meadows, could face criminal prosecution for refusing to cooperate fully with a probe into the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol, after the House of Representatives voted on Tuesday to hold him in contempt of Congress.” Reuters

“As a mob overran the U.S. Capitol last January, some of Donald Trump’s highest-profile defenders in the media — and even his own son — sent urgent text messages to the White House chief of staff urging him to get the then-president to do more to stop the violence.” AP News

See past issues

From the Left

The left argues that Meadows should testify and worries that efforts at overturning elections may succeed in the future.

"Meadows was the intermediary between Trump and everyone else that day. He was in and out of the Oval Office, relaying requests to the president. He got a phone call from D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, pleading for help from the National Guard. He talked throughout the day with Kash Patel, Trump’s point man at the Department of Defense. He got text messages warning him that the Capitol was ‘under siege’ and that ‘if someone doesn’t say something, people will die.’ According to the people who sent those messages—including former White House Communications Director Alyssa Farah—Meadows never replied…

“That’s why it’s important that Meadows testify. He’s the key to finding out what Trump was told and how the president responded… let’s find out whether the president, as alleged by at least one witness, ‘rebuffed and resisted requests to mobilize the National Guard.’  We need to know not just what Trump did that day, but what he didn’t do, and why.”
William Saletan, Slate

"This is a moment for reassessment. Evidence about the insurrection suggests that although the mob was an obvious threat to human life, it was never an especially serious one to American democracy. Coordination within the crowd seems to have been sporadic, and if White House officials were in touch with organizers, they weren’t likely directing them. Moreover, it’s not clear how the insurrection might have successfully kept Trump in office, even if it had managed to prevent certification that day. This was an inchoate moan, a spasm of despair for a cause already lost…

“Meanwhile, we now have a better sense of how dangerous what we might call the ‘paperwork coup’ was… What looked from the outside like one of Trump’s classic chaotic improvisations was in fact a concerted effort, coordinated among multiple Trump loyalists over a matter of weeks.”
David A. Graham, The Atlantic

"We knew that Trump had many different plans to overturn the election. The memos prepared by right-wing lawyer John Eastman, Trump telling Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen ‘just say that the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the Republican Congressmen’ and threatening to replace him with a toady, Jeffrey Clark, if he refused were just a few examples. All of this was grossly unethical. But [a newly released] PowerPoint emphasizes just how desperate they were…

“The presentation indicated that Mike Pence had more than one way to overturn the election. As vice president, he could seat alternate Republican electors (which Rudy Giuliani and the boys were working feverishly to round up), he could reject the electoral votes of the states Donald Trump was disputing (with no evidence) or he could delay by refusing to certify until there was a recount of all paper ballots… Finally, Pence could just throw up his hands and say there was no way to ever know the real outcome and throw it to the House of Representatives which would vote as if it were a tie and Trump would win under the rules that each state delegation has one vote.”
Heather Digby Parton, Salon

“[Brendan Nyhan, a political scientist at Dartmouth College] said that Democrats should consider eliminating or changing the filibuster in order to pass the Freedom to Vote Act, a watered-down election-reform bill endorsed by Senator Joe Manchin, of West Virginia, which currently has some bipartisan support in the Senate. It includes measures that would make it more difficult for state legislators to dismiss election results certified by nonpartisan state officials—a tactic Trump tried to use in 2020…

“Nyhan also called for reform of the Electoral Count Act—an obscure and poorly drafted 1887 law that describes how Congress should count the electoral votes—before Democrats potentially lose their control of the Senate and House in next year’s midterm elections.”
David Rohde, New Yorker

From the Right

The right argues that the text messages show there was no organized plan to breach the Capitol and that concerns about election integrity are overblown.

The right argues that the text messages show there was no organized plan to breach the Capitol and that concerns about election integrity are overblown.

“Are we to believe that Donald Trump orchestrated ‘what happened on January 6th’ but didn’t let his own son in on it? Or that Trump didn’t share his plans with any of his closest confidantes in the media? That belabors belief, especially since Meadows himself responded to those texts in agreement, noting that he was coordinating with the president on how to respond…

“It is abundantly clear at this point that whatever you think of Donald Trump, what happened on January 6th was as much a surprise to him as anyone else. The idea that he hatched and led some master plan in an attempt to seize power and remain in office never made any sense given what we know. Besides, it makes even less sense when you consider that it…didn’t happen. Normally, when you want to enact a coup, you actually, you know, enact a coup. Instead, Trump denounced what occurred, even if it was a few hours later than some would have liked. He then left the White House without any objections.”
Bonchie, RedState

“Three Fox anchors sent messages to Mark Meadows, and none of them cheered what was happening at the Capitol on Jan. 6. In fact, they were upset by it, even in private, when they assume no one was listening. And that shouldn't surprise you… If you get a text from Brian Kilmeade, it sounds pretty much identical to Brian Kilmeade on Fox & Friends…

“So Fox anchors on TV and in private opposed the BLM riots in the summer of 2020. Fox anchors opposed the riot on Capitol Hill in January 2021. It turns out that Fox anchors opposed riots. All riots. No matter who's rioting… As with the prosecution of Kyle Rittenhouse, Liz Cheney is proving the defendant's case inadvertently.”
Tucker Carlson, Fox News

Some argue that “there’s a flip side to these texts. They tend to exonerate everyone from the idea of a coup plot, but they also demonstrate that Meadows and/or Trump simply didn’t care much if rioters disrupted and assaulted Congress, either. That’s the point that the committee wants to dissect with Meadows under oath, and that’s the point that Meadows refuses to discuss with them…

“Did Meadows pass along any of those messages? If so, what was Trump’s response? He waited a long time before issuing a statement asking rioters to back off. Why? It’s not because there was a coup plot, obviously, but did Meadows not bother to pass the messages along — or did Trump just not give a damn while sulking over his election loss?”
Ed Morrissey, Hot Air

Regarding concerns about election integrity, “Some states have changed their election laws, with some changes wiser than others. Arizona, for example, put its attorney general, currently a Republican, in charge of responding to election lawsuits instead of its secretary of state, a Democrat. This may be a petty partisan effort to cut a Democrat out of election litigation in the state, but ultimately, any lawsuit will be heard and decided by judges. That is not a threat to the Constitution or the republic…

“Other changes, such as those made in Georgia, are far more reasonable. Democrats' completely disingenuous and hyperbolic reaction aside, Georgia extended early voting hours, established the use of drop boxes by statute, added a voter identification requirement for mail-in ballots, and decreased the number of days voters have to request a mail-in ballot…

“All of these are common-sense reforms that will make counting votes easier, and the window Georgia voters have to request mail-in ballots is still longer than it is in many Democratic-controlled states. Voting in Georgia in 2022 will be easier than it was in 2018. Again, a threat to the republic this is not… Democrats are in for a world of pain at the ballot box in 2022 if they think they can persuade anyone with this nonsense.”
Editorial Board, Washington Examiner

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