New details emerge of Oval Office confrontation three days before Jan. 6
June 14, 2022 1:05 PM   Subscribe

Three days before Congress was slated to certify the 2020 presidential election, a little-known Justice Department official named Jeffrey Clark rushed to meet President Donald Trump in the Oval Office to discuss a last-ditch attempt to reverse the results. ... [K]ey witnesses have provided Congress with a fuller account of Clark’s actions, including new details about the confrontation that took place in the Jan. 3 Oval Office meeting, which lasted nearly three hours. [alt link] ...

Clark vowed to send the letter he drafted to Georgia and other states and said that “this was a last opportunity to sort of set things straight with this defective election, and that he could do it, and he had the intelligence and the will and the desire to pursue these matters in the way that the president thought most appropriate.”

Everyone else in the room told Trump they opposed Clark, [Richard] Donoghue said.

Trump repeatedly went after [acting attorney general Jeffrey] Rosen and [his deputy] Donoghue, saying they hadn’t pursued voter fraud allegations.

“You two,” Trump said, pointing to the two top Justice Department officials. “You two haven’t done anything. You two don’t care. You haven’t taken appropriate actions. Everyone tells me I should fire you.”

Trump continually circled back to the idea of replacing Rosen with Clark. ... “Well, suppose I do this,” Trump said to Donoghue. “Suppose I replace [Rosen] with [Clark], what would you do?”

“Sir, I would resign immediately,” Donoghue said he responded. “There’s no way I’m serving under this guy [Clark].”

Trump then turned to Steve Engel, the Justice Department’s assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Counsel, whom Trump reportedly had considered for a seat on the Supreme Court.

“Steve, you wouldn’t resign, would you?” Trump asked.

“Absolutely I would, Mr. President. You’d leave me no choice,” Engel responded, according to Donoghue’s account. ...

“And we’re not the only ones,” Donoghue said he told Trump. “You should understand that your entire department leadership will resign. Every [assistant attorney general] will resign. ... You sent every one of them to the Senate; you got them confirmed. What is that going to say about you, when we all walk out at the same time?”

Donoghue then told Trump that Clark had no qualification to be attorney general: “He’s never been a criminal attorney. He’s never conducted a criminal investigation in his life. He’s never been in front of a grand jury, much less a trial jury.”

Clark objected.

“Well, I’ve done a lot of very complicated appeals and civil litigation, environmental litigation, and things like that,” Clark said, according to Donoghue’s deposition.

“That’s right,” Donoghue said he responded. “You’re an environmental lawyer. How about you go back to your office, and we’ll call you when there’s an oil spill.”

Pat Cipollone, the White House counsel, told Trump that Clark’s proposed letter was “a murder-suicide pact,” according to Donoghue’s deposition. “It’s going to damage everyone who touches it. And we should have nothing to do with that letter. I don’t ever want to see that letter again.” ...

As the Justice Department officials filed out of the White House that night, one grave threat to American democracy had passed.

Three days later, after the president falsely said at a rally that “we won this election, and we won it by a landslide,” a pro-Trump mob broke into the Capitol.
posted by Artifice_Eternity (83 comments total) 42 users marked this as a favorite
 
Maybe they should have fucking resigned for Trump even considering it. I’m tired of cowardice being presented as some act of heroism.
posted by glaucon at 1:18 PM on June 14 [75 favorites]


This s*** is bananas... as in republic.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 1:19 PM on June 14 [21 favorites]


If they'd resigned then and there, Clark would have gotten the job and implemented his election theft scheme. They used the threat of mass resignation to block Clark. That looks to have been the right move under the circumstances. It wasn't about cowardice vs. heroism, it was about effective strategy vs. a pointless gesture.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 1:20 PM on June 14 [99 favorites]


How about you go back to your office, and we’ll call you when there’s an oil spill.

I love this.

Well, no, it's horrible. But that's pretty fucking funny, that a shill for the oil companies (bcz that's what corporate-side environmental lawyers usually are) thinks he can overturn the constitutional order, and he gets laughed out of the room by his superiors.
posted by suelac at 1:22 PM on June 14 [54 favorites]


sweet summer child that i am, when i read that oil spill line my default position was to assume that in the logic of the world of that joke, the lawyer would be called to prosecute some party for an oil spill but no of course they'd be called up to defend exxon or whatever
posted by lazaruslong at 1:25 PM on June 14 [38 favorites]


How about you go back to your office, and we’ll call you when there’s an oil spill.

This is such a brutally hilarious dis.

I'm clinging to the lolz because the other option is just constant panic at the rising tide of fascism.
posted by bile and syntax at 1:28 PM on June 14 [48 favorites]


I think someone already wrote this book.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 1:32 PM on June 14 [1 favorite]


Rosen was stunned. He had known Clark for years and once had worked with him at Kirkland & Ellis. Rosen told the Senate committee that he wondered “what’s going on with Jeff Clark. That this is inconsistent with how I perceived him in the past.”

This seems to be a theme with the Trump years. People who, up til then, had been more-or-less level-headed (even if they were conservatives) suddenly went batshit. And not just politicians or bureaucrats. Your own family members. It’s like someone flipped a switch, and a chunk of the country just immediately lost touch with reality. I hope some future sociologist studies this.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:36 PM on June 14 [125 favorites]


I read this entire article to my spouse while we walked to lunch today, and it was like an episode of Veep if Armando Iannucci had decided not to make it funny anymore.

My final verdict: I remain absolutely gobsmacked that even on the question of whether he should attempt to assume imperial powers, Trump yielded to the last person to talk at him. Just a pathetic shell of a human being.
posted by Etrigan at 1:38 PM on June 14 [24 favorites]



This seems to be a theme with the Trump years. People who, up til then, had been more-or-less level-headed


I'm going to hold to my original theory: the alleged Chinese hack of personnel files was actually done by the FSB. Putin has all the security-clearance disclosures for everyone who is anyone and is my age or older. And the only answer is an age based purge of DC. We have get people who are too young to have been in those files.
posted by ocschwar at 1:41 PM on June 14 [19 favorites]


...not just politicians or bureaucrats. Your own family members. It’s like someone flipped a switch, and a chunk of the country just immediately lost touch with reality.

I've observed this phenomenon in the US right wing and moderate conservatives since 9/11.
posted by Rash at 1:43 PM on June 14 [30 favorites]


Is there some place I can read this article that isn't behind a paywall? Thanks!
posted by all about eevee at 1:50 PM on June 14 [1 favorite]


My final verdict: I remain absolutely gobsmacked that even on the question of whether he should attempt to assume imperial powers, Trump yielded to the last person to talk at him. Just a pathetic shell of a human being.

I'd say he yielded to the people who were best able to play to his ego. Rosen's faction convinced him that replacing Rosen and triggering mass resignations would make him look bad.

I guess it's good that by that time, the less-bad guys had figured out how to use flattery to manipulate him more effectively? But yeah, it feels just like Veep.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 1:53 PM on June 14 [1 favorite]


How is "Sorry, Mr President, I will resign" an appropriate response to Trump basically saying he will turn the government into a dictatorship?
posted by meowzilla at 1:59 PM on June 14 [4 favorites]


I have had this feeling since January 6 that we all thought it was kind of silly and stupid to be pledging allegiance to the flag all the time but on that day it really seemed like literally the only reason we still have a country at this point.
posted by bleep at 2:00 PM on June 14 [4 favorites]


How is "Sorry, Mr President, I will resign" an appropriate response to Trump basically saying he will turn the government into a dictatorship?

It ultimately convinced Trump not to appoint a coup plotter as AG.

What braver, bolder, more morally perfect and devastatingly effective response do you imagine you would have given?
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 2:03 PM on June 14 [22 favorites]


How is "Sorry, Mr President, I will resign" an appropriate response to Trump basically saying he will turn the government into a dictatorship?

Trump has one tiny shred of self-awareness to know that there's shit he doesn't know how to do, or that he needs people around to take the fall for him if necessary, and he knows that this one dude wouldn't be enough.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:03 PM on June 14 [13 favorites]


Is there some place I can read this article that isn't behind a paywall? Thanks!

Yep.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:04 PM on June 14 [12 favorites]


If they'd resigned then and there, Clark would have gotten the job and implemented his election theft scheme. They used the threat of mass resignation to block Clark. That looks to have been the right move under the circumstances. It wasn't about cowardice vs. heroism, it was about effective strategy vs. a pointless gesture.

I agree it's probably better to stay and manage things until transition.

But the second the cheetos was out, there was a moral imperative to throw his ass under the bus run over him a few times to make sure his political career is deader than dead, especially after the Jan 6 events. And this certainly didn't happen from those people.

To me, this is where the cowardice comes into play.
posted by WaterAndPixels at 2:09 PM on June 14 [67 favorites]


We have get people who are too young to have been in those files.

Putin definitely has access to everything ever posted (no matter how privately) on livejournal, so a whole bunch of millennials are out as well.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 2:09 PM on June 14 [10 favorites]


What braver, bolder, more morally perfect and devastatingly effective response do you imagine you would have given?

Why does it need to be any of those things? I'm not arguing for perfection.

How about:

- No, I will not do that.
- You will have to fire me.
- I will go on the record immediately, to the American public, about what you asked me to do, because it is unconstitutional/unAmerican/whatever.
posted by meowzilla at 2:13 PM on June 14 [16 favorites]


This seems to be a theme with the Trump years. People who, up til then, had been more-or-less level-headed (even if they were conservatives) suddenly went batshit. And not just politicians or bureaucrats. Your own family members. It’s like someone flipped a switch, and a chunk of the country just immediately lost touch with reality. I hope some future sociologist studies this.

So much this. I have found myself saying, " i swear they were decent people" right before I delete
, block and ignore in the grocery store someone i have know my whole life. some are returning to somewhat normal, it is clear some never will.
posted by domino at 2:17 PM on June 14 [9 favorites]


The very best thing that anyone in that room could have done would've been to hoist Trump by his own petard: get him on a signed, written record admitting to something criminal, then leak that to the press and DoJ.

It's like when he was asking if they could shoot protestors. Cowardice is keeping that under your hat until you can sell a book. Actual courage is saying "what a great idea! of course we'd need your signature on an order to authorize deadly force", then offer him a short, extremely clear, and extremely clearly illegal order, get his signature on it, and take that shit straight to the papers.

When the president (or a CEO or whatever) is trying to do something blatantly illegal, something that you would be willing to resign over, then the best thing to do is take the fucker down on your way out.
posted by jedicus at 2:18 PM on June 14 [33 favorites]


I mean, Trump routinely committed crimes on television
posted by Jacen at 2:25 PM on June 14 [69 favorites]


I think it certainly would have been good if more of these people had gone public sooner.

But I don't see how telling Trump, at that moment, that they would go public either way would have accomplished anything other than to make Trump feel more threatened and angry, and perhaps more likely to defy them.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 2:30 PM on June 14


The very best thing that anyone in that room could have done would've been to hoist Trump by his own petard: get him on a signed, written record admitting to something criminal, then leak that to the press and DoJ.

He seems to have always been pretty careful to avoid signing anything of the sort.

But also, I think the idea that catching him red-handed in a legal violation would automatically lead to consequences presupposes a well-functioning justice system and/or a press and public that would, for the most part, characterize his actions for what they were. It was not at all an obvious at the time that such conditions existed. It's still unclear.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 2:34 PM on June 14 [42 favorites]


"The second item was Clark’s request for an intelligence briefing about an allegation that the Chinese were controlling U.S.-based voting machines via internet-connected smart thermostats," was the laugh out loud part.
posted by Oyéah at 2:44 PM on June 14 [5 favorites]


"The second item was Clark’s request for an intelligence briefing about an allegation that the Chinese were controlling U.S.-based voting machines via internet-connected smart thermostats," was the laugh out loud part.

Laugh-out-loud up until you realize this clown was an orange brainfart away from being the USAG. That’s when the laughs transition to sobs and tears.

It just baffles me how anyone with any modicum of education could take such a wackadoodle idea seriously, let alone plan to leverage the powers of the US Justice Department to look into it.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:54 PM on June 14 [11 favorites]


The absence of security on "Internet of Things" devices like smart thermostats is one of the two reasons I don't use them -- and I am just some schmoe, and not a person who's trying to maintain a SCIF. In other words, that's the one line I didn't laugh at.
posted by wenestvedt at 3:06 PM on June 14 [14 favorites]


Yeah, if your thermostat is connected to your LAN, and it talks to a server somewhere on the internet, then your LAN is not secure. So don't connect any voting machines / uranium centrifuges to it.

The question of why a voting machine would be connected to any network at all is a different kettle of worms.
posted by Horkus at 3:13 PM on June 14 [25 favorites]


The very best thing that anyone in that room could have done would've been to hoist Trump by his own petard: get him on a signed, written record admitting to something criminal, then leak that to the press and DoJ.

Rosen was in the room, he was the acting Attorney General. He is the DoJ. But suppose Rosen decides to do this, and then what. Mueller already concluded that he was constitutionally bound not to prosecute the sitting President. Rosen probably agreed with this. So it would just give Trump every reason to cling to power; if a prosecution did somehow result, it would give him every reason to fire Rosen and replace him with this crony, which was the specific thing they were trying to avoid.
posted by BungaDunga at 3:18 PM on June 14 [5 favorites]


That is: these people's first priority was not to disrupt the vote tally. They knew full well that disruption could cause a constitutional crisis. They knew that if the usual Constitutional machinery creaked into gear properly, Trump would have an orderly exit. Trump was already going down, at least in the one important way they were overwhelmingly worried about at the time; they just needed to make sure nothing intervened, such as the fake elector scheme.
posted by BungaDunga at 3:28 PM on June 14 [9 favorites]


How about:

The catch is that anyone who would have been inclined to any of those actions wouldn’t have been in the room in the first place.
posted by eviemath at 4:05 PM on June 14 [10 favorites]


For the effectiveness (or not) of mass resignations, consider the Saturday Night Massacre and its role as a catalyst for Nixon’s removal.
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 4:31 PM on June 14 [6 favorites]


Nixon wasn't impeached or removed from office. He resigned before any of it could happen.

We impeached Trump twice. And we're looking at him for a 2024 contender if not reelection.
posted by meowzilla at 4:45 PM on June 14 [17 favorites]


It’s like someone flipped a switch, and a chunk of the country just immediately lost touch with reality. I hope some future sociologist studies this.

Case in point foxnews.com right now, there is nothing on the front page about the Jan 6th hearings. Zip. The top headline in large bold type: "New poll reveals how Americans really feel about transgender athletes competing in women’s sports"
posted by storybored at 5:00 PM on June 14 [15 favorites]


This seems to be a theme with the Trump years. People who, up til then, had been more-or-less level-headed (even if they were conservatives) suddenly went batshit. And not just politicians or bureaucrats. Your own family members. It’s like someone flipped a switch, and a chunk of the country just immediately lost touch with reality. I hope some future sociologist studies this.

In some of these people, it is the moving of the moral line. Each step along this path, starting with Reagan but really gaining steam with Bush, was moving the moral line in the sand. The whole "this is fine" meme is speaking to this issue. If, in order to keep following your leader, you have to accept and then champion something which was previously against your values and morals, eventually you have painted yourself into a corner. But they just keep going, doubling down. He was morally bankrupt to start with and they had to accept him. Then they had to show their loyalty. He's the best thing ever! Then he lied and did stupid things and hired horrible people who did stupid things and lied and they had to keep moving their own line in the sand. Erasing it and pretending they hadn't. It'll make people crazy. It has made people crazy. It's a brainwashing technique. It works. It's a fucking tragedy and we're all stuck with it.
posted by amanda at 5:08 PM on June 14 [49 favorites]


age based purge of DC. We have get people who are too young to have been in those files.

Aside from the shitty casual ageism, I am also compelled once again to point out that DC is not the federal government, it is a place, an extremely left-leaning one, and most of us have fuck-all to do with this nonsense until a bunch of lost cause idiots show up and scare the shit out of us. The assholes aren’t coming *from* here, they’re being *sent*.
posted by aspersioncast at 5:09 PM on June 14 [48 favorites]


No one’s suggesting that we literally Logan’s Run the district, aspersionscast.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 5:14 PM on June 14 [13 favorites]


Younger generations have no special claim to moral superiority. The alt-right mostly appears to be Gen Z and millennials, with a smattering of Xers.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 5:20 PM on June 14 [23 favorites]


This seems to be a theme with the Trump years. People who, up til then, had been more-or-less level-headed (even if they were conservatives) suddenly went batshit. And not just politicians or bureaucrats. Your own family members. It’s like someone flipped a switch, and a chunk of the country just immediately lost touch with reality. I hope some future sociologist studies this.

A third of this country -- roughly speaking, add or subtract percentages based on certain circumstances, but it's definitely higher than the American Crazification Factor -- believes that "American" is a caste, not a legal status, and that those of that caste are the only ones who should have the privilege of voting or holding valid opinions on how America should be.

The caste consists of (a) those who check all of the White Anglo-Saxon Protestant (Catholic too, grudgingly) Cis Het Conservative Male checkboxes, and (b) the people who recognize the natural authority of (a).

You can be a woman, a non-white, non-religious, the wrong religion, the wrong race, whatever, but if you bend the knee sufficiently you can keep yourself above the line of demarcation between the in-group and Everybody Else most of the time.

Again, a third of this country believes this natural superiority to be true. It's not just race, it's not just sex/gender, it's not just any one thing. It's not new. It's as old as this nation. It can be pointed to in so many ways in our collective American history.

But it is one thing to believe this in private, to share crude jokes amongst family or trusted friends but to act like a normal person in public. It is quite another when those in power appear to be giving you active permission to act utterly deplorable towards the perceived out-groups. And it is quite another level of magnitude if you sense that via immediate and drastic action, such as with Mr. Clark here, you can make that desired shift of status happen rapidly and legally.

The brass ring of hatred might only come around once.
posted by delfin at 5:24 PM on June 14 [60 favorites]


Mueller already concluded that he was constitutionally bound not to prosecute the sitting President. Rosen probably agreed with this.

Correction: Mueller thought he was prevented from prosecuting the president because of this Justice Department memo (written during the Nixon administration; refreshed in 2000). Legal experts say the president can be prosecuted despite the policy.
“There is nothing in the Constitution that prevents a sitting president from being indicted,” says Loyola Law School professor Jessica Levinson. “There is nothing in Supreme Court opinions that prevents a sitting president from being indicted. All we have is Department of Justice policy based largely on concerns over separation of powers.”
Mueller's report listed 10 instances where Trump potentially committed obstruction of justice. Because he felt he was bound by the Justice Department policy, he expected Congress to take over.
“The conclusion that Congress may apply obstruction laws to the President’s corrupt exercise of the powers of office accords with our constitutional system of checks and balances and the principle that no person is above the law.”

Mueller wrote that no person — not even the president of the United States — is above the law, and that the US Constitution doesn’t “categorically and permanently immunize a President for obstructing justice.” Congress’ next steps will be critical because Mueller’s report explicitly states, “while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”
Back when precedent mattered, I'd point to Ulysses S. Grant as precedent for the president being arrested.
posted by kirkaracha at 5:29 PM on June 14 [21 favorites]


No one’s suggesting that we literally Logan’s Run the district, aspersionscast.

Really? Because that's sure what the original comment sounded like to me. Even if you phrased it differently, you are still strongly implying everyone in federal employment since before 2015 be fired. I fall in that demographic, are you suggesting I be purged as well?

Besides the ageism, let's not mix up federal workers with those in power. We get enough "deep state" grief as it is, thanks.
posted by photo guy at 5:52 PM on June 14 [19 favorites]


It’s like someone flipped a switch, and a chunk of the country just immediately lost touch with reality. I hope some future sociologist studies this.

It’s not at all sudden. I’m gen x and when I was a kid I grew up with these same people screaming that AIDS was god’s judgment on gays and that affirmative action was discrimination against white people. When I was in high school in the 90s I had friends who regularly fought nazis - nazis our age - from St. Paul, which was known nationally as a center for neo-nazi organizing. These are the people who insisted Obama was born in Kenya and ignored that John McCain was literally born in Panama. These are the people who murdered doctors and tried to shut down abortion providers and scream at women who get Pap smears and breast cancer tests. They’re the people who made online gaming such a toxic space for women, queers, and BIPOC folks. They’re the reason Fox News is so successful. They’ve always been here, the difference is that Trump emboldened them and facebook let them organize.
posted by bile and syntax at 6:15 PM on June 14 [97 favorites]


Aside from the shitty casual ageism

Wellll, if we look at elected officials at the federal level, there are way, way too many boomers vs Gen X and Millennials. Obama was our youngest president since ever and he's not Gen X.

I remember the PM of Finland got in trouble recently for leaving her phone at home when she went clubbing. We can debate the merits of that all day long, but can you imagine having a president young enough to go clubbing? Because I literally cannot. It's going to be old white men for the rest of my life. And I fucking hate that.

And I say that as an aging white man.
posted by nushustu at 6:48 PM on June 14 [27 favorites]


But it is one thing to believe this in private, to share crude jokes amongst family or trusted friends but to act like a normal person in public. It is quite another when those in power appear to be giving you active permission to act utterly deplorable towards the perceived out-groups. And it is quite another level of magnitude if you sense that via immediate and drastic action, such as with Mr. Clark here, you can make that desired shift of status happen rapidly and legally.

but in many areas of the country it wasn't believed in private within some of our living memories - it was acted upon publicly, without shame, and in some places with the full knowledge, encouragement, approval and enforcement of the society and the government

american society was very oppressive until the 60s - since then it's been a constant battle and lately, that one third are doing their best to get back in power

there was a time where active permission wasn't necessary - everyone KNEW it was "ok"

the anger these people feel is terribly strong and frightening
posted by pyramid termite at 6:53 PM on June 14 [9 favorites]


I think Mr. Clark saw an opportunity to grasp at power and took it. Monsters all.
posted by postel's law at 7:47 PM on June 14 [1 favorite]




Here’s the thing. Nobody with any proximity to power respected Trump. He was (and is) a useful idiot. Now, since everyone views themselves as the hero of their own story, Trump’s enablers would never admit that to themselves (with possible exception of Mitch McConnell, who views everyone as a useful idiot). No, they’re doing Good Things because they are Good People. They don’t support Bad People. If Trump is doing something they find embarrassing and/or morally questionable, it’s easier to change their opinion about said action than it is to question their entire worldview.

Frankly, I think the thing that will do Trump in is the realization that the fucker raised $250 million to “Stop the Steal” and only spent a fraction of the money to do stuff like pay Kimberly Guilfoyle $60 grand for a 3 minute speech.

If there’s one thing Trump voters hate, it’s being made to feel like chumps.
posted by Big Al 8000 at 8:28 PM on June 14 [1 favorite]


"If there’s one thing Trump voters hate, it’s being made to feel like chumps."
Eh, not really? I think Trumpers are fine going along with the kayfabe even if they don't benefit, or even suffer, financially, as long as they feel like non-whites and to a large extent women, definitely gays, are going to get theirs eventually.
posted by cidrab at 9:20 PM on June 14 [25 favorites]


Mod note: Added alt link to the post
posted by taz (staff) at 10:09 PM on June 14 [4 favorites]


Most of them will never know they donated to a BS grift. The don’t watch that news and they wouldn’t believe it if they did.
posted by amanda at 10:53 PM on June 14 [6 favorites]


I think there's something in the conservative mindset that believes giving money to the rich is just the natural order of things.
posted by Jacen at 2:53 AM on June 15 [9 favorites]


“ The question of why a voting machine would be connected to any network at all is a different kettle of worms.
posted by Horkus at 3:13 PM on June 14 [17 favorites +] [!]”

To enable “remote maintenance” ?
posted by coldhotel at 5:56 AM on June 15


So many stories about how close we came to the end of democracy. Should we call those who resisted the urge to obey Cheeto Hitler heroes?
posted by tommasz at 6:05 AM on June 15


The point isn't how we've thus far evaded the end of democracy, but that we're nowhere near out of the woods - our democracy (such as it is) is in very serious danger. Don't forget that the Beer Hall Putsch was a failed coup followed by an establishment government that didn't take the fascist threat seriously followed by a series of elections where the fascists started winning seats. We are well on track for this.
posted by bile and syntax at 7:21 AM on June 15 [25 favorites]


It's going to be old white men for the rest of my life. And I fucking hate that.

In my case, exceptions come to mind. languagehat and clavdivs for example.
posted by y2karl at 7:37 AM on June 15


"And so I said to Hitler, 'Mein Furhrer, if you do that, I shall resign, the whole department would resign!' Well we didn't end up resigning and fortunately Goebbels made a funny joke about smokestacks so Hitler forgot about the whole thing. But I'll always remember that as the day I stood up for my integrity."
posted by AlSweigart at 7:42 AM on June 15 [19 favorites]


Attempting a coup in the United States is apparently a foolproof plan, because either it succeeds and you control the government or it fails and nothing in particular happens to you.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:43 AM on June 15 [32 favorites]


New security camera video of Jan 6 rioters taking photos of stairways, security checkpoints, etc. before the riot on a tour led by Congressman Loudermilk (R-GA).
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 9:31 AM on June 15 [16 favorites]


...on a tour led by Congressman Loudermilk (R-GA).

So, genuine Devils'-Advocate-CYA question here.

Would Rep. Loudermilk not have plausible deniability here that "hey, I was just leading a tour of ordinary citizens, like all of us Congressmen do time to time! I never knew they were using it as intel....!"

I mean, we still might be able to get him for gross negligence ("dude, one of your guests was taking photos of things like stairways and checkpoints, that didn't seem weird to you?"), I'm just not as sure that this is sufficient proof of compliance on Loudermilk's part is all.

The dudes actually taking the pictures we've caught red-handed with this, of course.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:40 AM on June 15 [1 favorite]


Would Rep. Loudermilk not have plausible deniability here that "hey, I was just leading a tour of ordinary citizens, like all of us Congressmen do time to time! I never knew they were using it as intel....!"

He can say that, but then this is the point where warrants for his electronic communications become justified, and it is stunningly unlikely that at no point did they refer to their obvious plan in texts or emails or what have you.
posted by mightygodking at 9:46 AM on June 15 [13 favorites]


And then there are the two staffers that come around the corner while dude was taking the pics, realize they walked into the shot and backed up. Clearly those people did not feel there was anything untoward or unusual about a man taking a pic of a hallway. It looks like nobody was concerned about anything that day, just business as usual. It gave me the same feeling that I had when I watched 9/11 and there was a video shot of the Twin Towers, taken from the vantage point of the firehouse on the night of Sept. 10.

(Not trying to argue anyone's point, just thought it was interesting).
posted by sundrop at 10:02 AM on June 15 [1 favorite]


No, sundrop, that's genuinely the kind of thing I was wondering about when I asked the question!
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:04 AM on June 15 [2 favorites]


I have zero faith anything will come of this at all, at least not for anyone prominent.

The powerful people in the American Left have somehow accepted a model where the Right gets to crime on record, on tape, on camera, on live TV, on livestream, and outside of indicating disapproval, exactly fuck all is done about it.

I'm way past denial and anger, I've given up on bargaining, and I'm rounding the corner from depression to acceptance.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:08 AM on June 15 [6 favorites]


Screw acceptance
posted by aleph at 10:52 AM on June 15 [12 favorites]


"This seems to be a theme with the Trump years. People who, up til then, had been more-or-less level-headed (even if they were conservatives) suddenly went batshit. And not just politicians or bureaucrats. Your own family members. It’s like someone flipped a switch, and a chunk of the country just immediately lost touch with reality."

"… and, now, I don't know what's happened to Lindsey Graham. I'll be honest with you, I haven't talked to him in a long… He wrote—you know how Time Magazine has, like, the top 100 people and all that? One year, back a couple years ago when I was in it—he wrote the tribute to me. And then… now it's like… he's… it's like he had a brain snatch."

— Hillary Clinton, interviewed by Howard Stern, Dec 2019
posted by bz at 11:44 AM on June 15 [3 favorites]


I have a feeling that Lindsay wrote that tribute with clenched teeth because he felt like it would the politically smart thing to do. So it wasn't a "brain snatch", he was just thinking "finally I can say what I really think."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:51 AM on June 15 [3 favorites]


my wife and i discovered a level after acceptance called Sell Everything And Move To The Netherlands

level is pretty tough but very satisfying
posted by lazaruslong at 12:02 PM on June 15 [17 favorites]


I tend to view Lindsay Graham as "The Top Dog's Best Boy." He used to be McCain's guy, so he said all of the "voice of reason" things that went with that association, made a show of bipartisanship, etc. Now he's Team Trump, so his public job is to back MAGA bullshit up.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:28 PM on June 15 [3 favorites]


This seems to be a theme with the Trump years. People who, up til then, had been more-or-less level-headed (even if they were conservatives) suddenly went batshit.
It started after 9/11, when the right-wing media started making ideological purity tests a requirement for staying in the party. That happened election cycle by election cycle, and each of them purged moderate or reality-centric voices. You had John Kerry’s Purple Heart smeared by a draft dodger, a thousand lies about Obama, the non-stop conspiracy theories throughout his presidency and then Hillary’s campaign, etc.

Continuously throughout, the most important thing was cutting non-biased news sources out of your life. Most of these people started normal but after a couple decades of dwelling in lies they came unmoored from reality. Trump’s genius was realizing that he didn’t even need to pretend anymore - make the right people angry and he could get everything he wanted.
posted by adamsc at 12:30 PM on June 15 [13 favorites]


Loudermilk claimed for the last year that he led no tours of the Capitol on Jan 5.

I think he might have been lying.
posted by suelac at 1:26 PM on June 15 [15 favorites]


but in many areas of the country it wasn't believed in private within some of our living memories - it was acted upon publicly, without shame, and in some places with the full knowledge, encouragement, approval and enforcement of the society and the government

american society was very oppressive until the 60s - since then it's been a constant battle and lately, that one third are doing their best to get back in power


Absolutely correct, and my privilege is showing. I check enough boxes to pass for a normal amongst the Caste until I open my mouth. There are so many among us who are targets simply via whom they are.
posted by delfin at 2:01 PM on June 15 [3 favorites]




The 5pm Friday newsdump this week is going to be wild.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 3:32 PM on June 15 [1 favorite]


Slight counterpoint (I do think Loudermilk and the others on that tour should be imprisoned) but a few years ago I found the tunnels fascinating. It's hive maze to anywhere in DC! Entered through the Library of Congress and wandered for a long while, finally got to a guard in the middle of a long tunnel that would not let us pass. But there was an equally free to wander tourist within touching on the other side of the guard that had come from another direction. He could not pass. We could go anywhere except cross this invisible line. Perplexing hilarious.

(ps. if you go get a LoC library card, free, takes a while, and totally the coolest card to have! Just finding the office to get the card is an adventure:)
posted by sammyo at 3:49 PM on June 15 [10 favorites]


Were any of Loudermilk's people involved in Washington Tunnels reporting suspicious traffic activity to the FBI?
posted by fluttering hellfire at 4:47 PM on June 15 [2 favorites]


Lazarus, can y'all adopt me and add me to the trip? I'm quite and can help with rent. I just want to live in a country that is not going to try to ban my transition medicine
posted by Jacen at 2:39 AM on June 16 [1 favorite]


we will be able to afford a couch next week, after that our door in Bussum is always open to mefites :)

and FUCK i feel for you re: meds. we are pretty complex medical patients for reasons and so far the experience of the dutch system has been pretty decent.
posted by lazaruslong at 3:08 AM on June 16 [3 favorites]


And now the January 6 committee has said they have stuff from Ginni Thomas. No promises about whether they'll bring that up during the public hearings apparently, but.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:50 AM on June 16 [7 favorites]


i mean, at this point, they have stuff on Ginni Thomas and on Loudermilk and on the rest of the Helpful Congressional Tour Guides and on the entire Trump family and entourage and on the Proud Boys and on Boebert and on Graham and on Meadows and on Brooks and on Gosar and on Hawley and on Cruz and on Grassley and on Bannon and on most of Fox News and even on Peter Navarro saying "this is what the plan was and how we were doing it" on national television like the dumbass that he is.

They welcome the charges because it is proof of their power; all they have to do is deny either their own culpability or the authority of those who charge them, and nothing else happens.

I would like to be proven wrong.
posted by delfin at 7:09 AM on June 16 [23 favorites]


Everything's fine! /s
posted by rhizome at 1:10 PM on June 28


I would like someone to go wrap Cassidy Hutchinson in about 28 miles of bubble wrap, please.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:46 AM on June 29


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