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Daily Archives: December 14th, 2021

December 13, 2021

Heather Cox Richardson5 hr ago270172

Tonight, the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol held a televised hearing to vote on whether to hold Trump’s White House chief of staff Mark Meadows in contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena. Their answer was yes, unanimously, by a vote of 9–0. More, even than that, though, was that in order to justify their votes they dropped some details about what happened on January 6. 

What they revealed was eye-popping.

All members of the committee spoke tonight, underscoring the importance of the moment. 

Representative Liz Cheney (R-WY) grabbed the headlines, though, as she read text messages Meadows received on January 6. They included texts from lawmakers to Meadows begging Trump to call off the rioters, making it crystal clear that those closest to him understood that those attacking the Capitol would respond to his orders. Dozens of texts urged the president to act to stop the protesters: “Someone is going to get killed.” “POTUS needs to calm this sh*t down.” 

Those writing the texts to Meadows about the president also included his son Donald Trump, Jr. (why was he communicating with his father through Meadows?), and Fox News Channel personalities Laura Ingraham, Brian Kilmeade, and Sean Hannity, revealing how dangerously intertwined the right-wing media system is with Republican lawmakers. “This is hurting all of us,” Ingraham wrote to Meadows during the insurrection.

Cheney said: “These texts leave no doubt: the White House knew exactly what was happening at the Capitol. Members of Congress, the press, and others wrote to Mark Meadows as the attack was underway.”

And yet, Trump remained unmoved for 187 minutes while our Capitol was under attack and lawmakers hid from the mob. As Cheney said: “Hours passed without necessary action by the president. These non privileged texts are further evidence of President Trump’s supreme dereliction of duty during those 187 minutes.”

Cheney took the fight directly to Trump with her accusation of “dereliction of duty.” The Capitol was under attack, and the one person who everyone believed could stop the attack, the commander-in-chief, refused to. A number of lawmakers tossed the term “dereliction of duty” around immediately after the insurrection, but it has faded from conversation as Republicans have lined up again behind the former president. It is, though, an offense under the U.S. military code, and therefore is something that people understand is serious. 

Cheney was more specific in another accusation of criminal behavior. After establishing that many lawmakers and media personalities begged then-president Trump to call off the rioters, she asked: “Did Donald Trump, through action or inaction, corruptly seek to obstruct or impede Congress’s proceedings?” 

What Cheney did tonight was courageous. She put herself on the line in the struggle to hold Trump and his loyalists accountable. As other lawmakers claim to be afraid to stand up to Trump out of fear for their safety, she has made herself a key target of the Trump loyalists in order to defend our democracy.  

But that was not all that happened in the hearing. 

To underscore that the material Meadows handed over was not privileged, Representative Stephanie Murphy (D-FL) explained that Meadows conducted business on a personal cell phone and over personal email accounts, as well as over Signal, a secure messaging system that encrypts messages so they cannot be unlocked by anyone but the receiver.

The committee members also increased pressure on those continuing to protect the former president.

Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA) revealed other messages, from unnamed lawmakers, expressing sympathy for the insurrection. One lawmaker texted Meadows: “On January 6, 2021, Vice President Mike Pence, as President of the Senate, should call out all electoral votes that he believes are unconstitutional as no electoral votes at all.” A message from a lawmaker the next day read. “Yesterday was a terrible day. We tried everything we could in our objection to the 6 states. I’m sorry nothing worked.”

This evening, Thompson told reporters that “the information we received has been quite revealing about members of Congress involved in the activities of January 6th as well as staff.” He said the names of the lawmakers involved in the events of that day will come out. One of those involved is almost certainly Representative Jim Jordan (R-OH), who has been evasive about when and how many times he talked to Trump on January 6, although says with certainty he did. 

Rolling Stone reported tonight that two people who helped to organize the January 6 rally at the Ellipse are saying they will cooperate with the committee fully. Dustin Stockton and Jennifer Lawrence, who have both been subpoenaed by the committee, are longtime activists who tended to operate on the margins of established politics.

CNN business journalist Brian Stelter noted that right-wing media channels—including the Fox News ChannelNewsmax, and One America News—did not cover the January 6 committee hearing at all tonight. Hannity, though, did interview Meadows, opening his show by telling viewers: “The hyperpartisan predetermined-outcome anti-Trump January 6 committee just voted 9 to 0 to hold Mark Meadows in contempt for refusing to comply with their orders.” He went on to ask Meadows why Congress is not investigating what Hannity painted as the terrible riots in the summer of 2020.

Their discomfort might reflect, in part, that they, too, were implicated in the events of January 6. After begging Trump to call off his supporters during the insurrection, the same personalities went in front of their audiences on camera and lied that Trump had nothing to do with the insurrection. Ingraham, for example, blamed Antifa for the attack on the Capitol, suggested the riot was staged by provocateurs, and suggested there were just three dozen people. 

The suggestion that Antifa was the real culprit on January 6 might or might not have been related to the plan suggested yesterday that Trump had expected counter-protesters and had been prepared to use the ensuing violence as a pretext to declare martial law. At 5:25 p.m. on January 5, Trump tweeted: “Antifa is a Terrorist Organization, stay out of Washington. Law enforcement is watching you very closely!” 

Just three days ago, on Friday, December 10, Ingraham interviewed Trump, who told her he wasn’t involved in the rioting on January 6 and that his words that day “were extremely calming.”

The resolution to hold Meadows in contempt will go to the full House tomorrow.

Notes:January 6th Committee @January6thCmte”These texts leave no doubt: the White House knew exactly what was happening at the Capitol. Members of Congress, the press, and others wrote to Mark Meadows as the attack was underway.” -Vice Chair @RepLizCheney December 14th 20211,430 Retweets3,876 Likes,not%20more%20than%20one%20year.Aaron Blake @AaronBlakeIngraham text 2 Meadows on 1/6 (per Cheney): “[Trump] needs to tell people in the Capitol to go home. This is hurting all of us. He is destroying his legacy.” Ingraham that night: -Leads w/ antifa -Suggests provocateurs -Suggests it was just 3 dozen ppl (McCarthy corrects her) December 14th 20211,481 Retweets3,168 Likes @AcynThompson: Information we have received has been quite revealing about members of Congress involved in the activities of January 6th as well as staff December 14th 2021495 Retweets1,698 LikesAcyn @AcynDocuments confirm that Meadows had been using personal gmail accounts, a personal cellphone, and Signal for official business and to send communications related to January 6th December 14th 20211,697 Retweets5,536 LikesRolling Stone @RollingStoneNEW: Two Jan. 6 Organizers Are Coming Forward and Naming Names: ‘We’re Turning It All Over’ Two Jan. 6 Organizers Are Coming Forward and Naming Names: ‘We’re Turning It All Over’After losing faith in Trump, the pair plan to hand over text messages, Instagram direct messages, and other documents related to the planning of the Jan. 6 rally on the Ellipse where Trump spokerol.stDecember 14th 2021191 Retweets475 Likes


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Robert Reich, columnist, The Guardian

I’m often asked how I keep up with the news. Obviously, I avoid the unhinged rightwing outlets pushing misinformation, disinformation and poisonous lies.

But I’ve also grown wary of the mainstream media – not because it peddles “fake news” but because of three more subtle biases.

First, it often favors the status quo. Mainstream journalists wanting to appear serious about public policy rip into progressives for the costs of their proposals, but never ask self-styled “moderates” how they plan to cope with the costs of doing nothing or doing too little about the same problems.
A Green New Deal might be expensive but doing nothing about the climate crisis will almost certainly cost far more. Medicare for All will cost a lot, but the price of doing nothing about America’s cruel and dysfunctional healthcare system will soon be in the stratosphere.

Second, it fails to report critical public choices. Any day now, the Senate will approve giving $778bn to the military for this fiscal year. That’s billions more than the Pentagon sought. It’s four times the size of Biden’s Build Back Better bill, which comes to around $175bn a year. But where’s the reporting on the effects of this spending on the national debt, or on inflation, or whether it’s even necessary?

Third, it indulges in false equivalence, claiming that certain Republican and Democratic lawmakers are emerging as “troublemakers” within their parties or that extremists “on both sides” are “radicalizing each other”.

These reports equate Republican lawmakers who are actively promoting Donald Trump’s big lie that the 2020 election was stolen with Democratic lawmakers who are fighting to protect voting rights. These are not equivalent. Trump’s big lie is a direct challenge to American democracy.

In the looming fight over whether to preserve the Senate filibuster, the mainstream media gives equal weight to both sides’ claims of radicalism. But ask yourself which is more radical – abolishing the filibuster to save American democracy or destroying American democracy to save the filibuster?

The old labels “left” versus “right” are fast becoming outdated. Today, it’s democracy versus authoritarianism. Equating them is misleading and dangerous.

Why doesn’t the mainstream media see this? Not just because of its dependence on corporate money. I think the source of the bias is more subtle.

Top editors and reporters, usually based in New York and Washington, want to be accepted into the circles of the powerful – not only for sources of news but also because such acceptance is psychologically seductive. It confers a degree of success. But once accepted, they can’t help but begin to see the world through the eyes of the powerful.

I follow the mainstream media, but I don’t limit myself to it. And I don’t rely on it to educate the public about bold, progressive ideas that would make America and the world fairer and stronger.

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