Monday, December 12, 2022

Last Call For Insurrection Investigation, Con't

Josh Marshall's crew over at Talking Points Memo are publishing the January 6th related texts from former Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, and while some have been published, TPM has gotten their hands on the bulk of the texts and is running a major expose on Meadows and the GOP January 6th conspiracy.
The messages you are about to read are the definitive, real-time record of a plot to overturn an American election.

TPM has obtained the 2,319 text messages that Mark Meadows, who was President Trump’s last White House chief of staff, turned over to the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack. Today, we are publishing The Meadows Texts, a series based on an in-depth analysis of these extraordinary — and disturbing — communications.

The vast majority of Meadows’ texts described in this series are being made public for the very first time. They show the senior-most official in the Trump White House communicating with members of Congress, state-level politicians, and far-right activists as they work feverishly to overturn Trump’s loss in the 2020 election. The Meadows texts illustrate in moment-to-moment detail an authoritarian effort to undermine the will of the people and upend the American democratic system as we know it.

The text messages, obtained from multiple sources, offer new insights into how the assault on the election was rooted in deranged internet paranoia and undemocratic ideology. They show Meadows and other high-level Trump allies reveling in wild conspiracy theories, violent rhetoric, and crackpot legal strategies for refusing to certify Joe Biden’s victory. They expose the previously unknown roles of some members of Congress, local politicians, activists and others in the plot to overturn the election. Now, for the first time, many of those figures will be named and their roles will be described — in their own words.

Meadows turned over the text messages during a brief period of cooperation with the committee before he filed a December 2021 lawsuit arguing that its subpoenas seeking testimony and his phone records were “overly broad” and violations of executive privilege. The committee did not respond to a request for comment on this story. Since then, Meadows has faced losses in his efforts to challenge the subpoena in court. However, that legal battle is ongoing and is unlikely to conclude before next month, when the incoming Republican House majority is widely expected to shutter the committee’s investigation. Earlier this year, Meadows reportedly turned over the same material he gave the select committee to the Justice Department in response to another subpoena. These messages are key evidence in the two major investigations into the Jan. 6 attack. With this series, the American people will be able to evaluate the most important texts for themselves.

Meadows has not, thus far, responded to multiple requests for comment. The texts Meadows provided to the select committee encompass the period from election night in 2020 through President Joe Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20, 2021. It is not clear which, if any, texts Meadows withheld from the committee, but the text message log offers multiple hints it is only a partial record of his conversations. There are discussions that clearly lack prior context and messages where participants indicate there is further communication taking place on encrypted channels.

But despite the seeming gaps, Meadows’ text record is still incredibly revealing. Some of the contents of the log were published in “The Breach,” a book about the Jan. 6 attack that I co-wrote with Denver Riggleman, a former Republican congressman and senior technical adviser to the committee. In our book, Riggleman described how he and his fellow committee investigators dubbed Meadows’ text log “the crown jewels” because they served as the “road map to an insurrection.” Along with the text messages that appeared in “The Breach,” some of Meadows’ messages have also been revealed by media outlets. The Washington Post published his exchanges with Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Some of Meadows’ conversations with Fox News personalities and other members of the media were disclosed by the select committee. CNN and I have published Meadows’ conversations with some Republican members of Congress including; Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX), Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY), Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA), and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA). Additionally, CNN has published Meadows’ texts with Fox News personality Sean Hannity and his messages from the period directly surrounding the Jan. 6 attack. However, there’s more. So much more.

TPM is kicking off this series with an exclusive story showing that the log includes more than 450 messages with 34 Republican members of Congress. Those texts show varying degrees of involvement by members of Congress, from largely benign expressions of support for Trump to the leading roles played by Reps. Jim Jordan (R-OH), Jody Hice (R-GA), Mo Brooks (R-AL), and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) in the plot to reverse Trump’s defeat. We reached out to all these legislators, and will be detailing their roles and responses to our questions in the first installment of the series, which is coming later today.
Those files begin with today's installment, posted here

One message identified as coming from Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC) to Meadows on January 17, 2021, three days before Joe Biden was set to take office, is a raw distillation of the various themes in the congressional correspondence. In the text, despite a typo, Norman seemed to be proposing a dramatic last ditch plan: having Trump impose martial law during his final hours in 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!!Ralph NormanRN

The text, which has not previously been reported, is a particularly vivid example of how congressional opposition to Biden’s election was underpinned by paranoid and debunked conspiracy theories like those about Dominion voting machines. Norman’s text also showed the potentially violent lengths to which some congressional Republicans were willing to go in order to keep Trump in power. The log Meadows provided to the select committee does not include a response to Norman’s message.

Reached via cell phone on Monday morning, Norman asked TPM for a chance to review his messages before commenting.

“It’s been two years,” Norman said. “Send that text to me and I’ll take a look at it.”

TPM forwarded Norman a copy of the message calling for “Marshall Law!!” We did not receive any further response from the congressman.

Based on TPM’s analysis, Meadows received at least 364 messages from Republican members of Congress who discussed attempts to reverse the election results with him. He sent at least 95 messages of his own. The committee did not respond to requests for comment. Some of Meadows’ texts — notably with Fox News personalities and a couple members of Congress — have already been made public by the committee, media outlets, and in the book “The Breach.” However, the full scope of his engagement with congressional Republicans as they worked to overturn the election has not previously been revealed.
It's going to take a while to chew through all this, but keep in mind, January 6th Chair Bennie Johnson has all but said that Trump, Meadows, Rudy, and others will be referred to Merrick Garland for prosecution as part of the J6 Committee's final report coming next week.

Our Little White Supremacist Domestic Terrorism Problem, Con't

I understand that the Southern Poverty Law Center can be hyperbolic at times, but bird-dogging the Manhattan chapter of the NY Young Republicans Club's gala where white nationalist club president Gavin Wax declared "We want total war" is absolutely notable.
A collection of radical right figures including white nationalists and ultranationalist European leaders gathered in Manhattan for the New York Young Republicans Club’s (NYYRC) annual gala Saturday night, where that group’s president declared “total war” on perceived enemies.

“We want to cross the Rubicon. We want total war. We must be prepared to do battle in every arena. In the media. In the courtroom. At the ballot box. And in the streets,” NYYRC president Gavin Wax declared to a room full of supporters at 538 Park Ave., an event venue on New York’s Upper East side.

“This is the only language the left understands. The language of pure and unadulterated power,” Wax added.

At the five-hour event, which Hatewatch reporters attended, white nationalists Peter and Lydia Brimelow of VDARE hobnobbed with Steve Bannon, a former Trump adviser and White House official. Donald Trump Jr. was also in attendance.

Republicans publicly lauded members of an Austrian political party founded by World War II-era German Nazi party members. Racist political operative Jack Posobiec shared jokes across a table with Josh Hammer, the opinion editor of Newsweek. Multiple recently elected GOP congresspeople applauded Marjorie Taylor Greene, who told the NYYRC crowd in the event’s closing remarks that the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol would have succeeded if she had planned it and that the insurrectionists would have been armed.

“Then Jan. 6 happened. And next thing you know, I organized the whole thing, along with Steve Bannon,” Greene said, referring to allegations that she had led reconnaissance tours of the Capitol for soon-to-be insurrectionists in the days prior to the violence.

“I will tell you something, if Steve Bannon and I organized that, we would have won,” she said, as attendees erupted in cheers and applause. “Not to mention, it would’ve been armed.”
Sitting Republican members of Congress are not only in attendance of this who's who of hate crimes, but calling for more armed revolution and sedition against the United States. 
We fended them off in November, but they still have a lot of power and eventually they're going to find a way to use it to set off a war that might not be stopped in my lifetime. 

And I don't know what else to do but say "They want a war, and they want to kill those who they see as enemies, and that means millions of Americans. maybe tens of millions" and we as a collective country continue to go back to arguing about the NFL instant replay rules.

Maybe it's safer that way, but not for much longer.  Eventually the violence is going to come full stop, instead of just random attacks, and we're going to have to find a way to stop it.

And even after all that's happened in the last six, seven years now, we're still not ready as a country to even begin the conversation we need to have.

Getting Out Of A Space Jam

NASA's unmanned, proof-of-concept Orion mission to the moon was an unqualified success as the Orion capsule splashed down in the Pacific on Sunday afternoon.
NASA completed a significant step Sunday toward returning astronauts to the lunar surface with the successful completion of a test mission that sent a capsule designed for human spaceflight to orbit the moon and return safely to Earth.

The Orion spacecraft, which had no astronauts on board, splashed down in the Pacific Ocean at 12:40 p.m. Eastern off the Baja California peninsula of Mexico under a trio of billowing parachutes.

Orion’s homecoming came 50 years to the day after the Apollo 17 spacecraft landing on the lunar surface in 1972 at the Taurus-Littrow valley, the last human mission to the moon. And it heralded, the space agency said, a series of upcoming missions that are to be piloted by a new generation of NASA astronauts as part of the Artemis program.

The flight was delayed repeatedly by technical problems with the massive Space Launch System rocket and the spacecraft. But the 26-day, 1.4 million-mile mission went “exceedingly well,” NASA officials said, from the launch on Nov. 16 to flybys that brought Orion within about 80 miles of the lunar surface and directly over the Apollo 11 landing site at Tranquility Base.

“From Tranquility Base to Taurus-Littrow to the tranquil waters of the Pacific, the latest chapter of NASA’s journey to the moon comes to a close. Orion, back on Earth,” NASA’s Rob Navias said during the agency’s live broadcast of the event.

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said it was “historic because we are now going back to space, to deep space, with a new generation.” The successful mission augurs a new era, he added, “one that marks new technology, a whole new breed of astronauts, and a vision of the future.”

Now that the spacecraft is safely home, NASA will immediately begin to assess the data gathered on the flight and prepare for the Artemis II mission — which would put a crew of astronauts on the spacecraft for another trip in orbit around the moon. NASA hopes that mission would come as early as 2024, with a lunar landing to come as early as 2025 or 2026. That would be the first time people walk on the moon since the last of the Apollo missions.
Any manned mission to another planet in our Solar System was going to require us going back to Luna as a testing ground, and Orion proved we can test the testing ground in the next few years.  It's exciting to see us getting back to exploring space in my lifetime, and yeah, the next big step is that Mars landing I hope I get to see.

Great job, NASA.

Oh, and I'm damn glad to see Bill Nelson as NASA admin. Like John Glenn and Mark Kelly, Nelson was an astronaut himself before joining the US Senate, and now he's been running the rocket show for 18 months. Orion is a great feather for his cap.

Here's to more success.
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