News Update

Analysis: January 6 committee projects confidence. What does it know?

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Rep. Liz Cheney, one of two Republicans on the committee, projected confidence and forward momentum in a Twitter thread Thursday.
What does the committee have? The House committee has met with nearly 300 witnesses, including four Thursday, she tweeted.
It has “received exceptionally interesting and important documents,” she wrote, including text messages from Meadows’ private cellphone.
“Do not be misled: President Trump is trying to hide what happened on January 6th and to delay and obstruct. We will not let that happen,” she promised.
What is the committee getting? Separately, an appeals court on Thursday ruled against the former President’s claim of executive privilege over documents related to the insurrection. The ruling is paused for two weeks, which allows Trump to ask the Supreme Court to weigh in.
Cheney may see the endgame, but it has been a confusing time to follow news about Meadows in particular.
Meadows’ quick change. First he was cooperating with the House January 6 committee.
Then he wasn’t, skipping a deposition and inviting a contempt of Congress charge.
Now he’s suing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and committee members.
The ups and downs have kept his name in headlines. It’s almost like this guy is trying to sell a book.
Wait. He is selling a book! His memoir went on sale this week. One can imagine it would be bad for sales if the man whose book jacket is an image of him standing in the background behind Trump was to be seen as defying the former President.
Revelations from Meadow’s memoir. The book is called “The Chief’s Chief,” and it includes the tidbit about Trump’s hidden positive test for Covid-19 and the worse-than-reported state of Trump’s health during his bout of the coronavirus.
The committee may have to go after Meadows in court to get him to appear in person, but with his text messages and emails from January 6, they may not need to.
The communications were voluntarily handed over to the committee and, according to CNN’s report, “offer a window into what people were texting to Meadows on January 6, what he was telling them about Trump in real time, and what the former President was doing for those hours while the Capitol was under attack and rioters were chanting ‘Hang Mike Pence.'”
Who testified Thursday? Kash Patel, a former chief of staff to then-acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miler, was spotted on Capitol Hill by CNN reporters. He’s also a former aide to Republican Rep. Devin Nunes of California, who this week announced he’ll be resigning at the end of the year to run Trump’s new media venture.
From CNN’s report: CNN previously reported that the committee told Patel “there is substantial reason to believe” that he has important insight and information into how the Department of Defense and White House prepared for and responded to the attack at the US Capitol. The committee also said it wants to learn more about the direct communication Patel had with former Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows on the day of the insurrection.
“Stop the Steal” rally organizer Ali Alexander, whose group had a permit to be on Capitol grounds on January 6, also testified Thursday. Alexander said he was not part of the violence and denied working with Republican congressmen to attack the Capitol — even though he previously outlined his close contact with lawmakers about the rally that preceded the insurrection.
Chris Krebs, the former director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency in the Department of Homeland Security who has rejected Trump’s election fantasy, also appeared before the committee.
Who else is cooperating? CNN reported earlier this week that Marc Short, former chief of staff to Vice President Pence, was issued a subpoena by the committee some weeks ago and that he is cooperating.
What did Short go through on January 6? He spoke to CNN’s David Axelrod on “The Axe Files” podcast about his firsthand experience.
Maybe it’s a good idea to separate people into two batches: the public stonewallers and the private testifiers.
CNN’s Zachary Cohen goes into detail on each of the five known people who are stonewalling — either defying the committee or planning to plead the Fifth Amendment and seek protection against self-incrimination.
You’ve probably heard of all of the stonewallers:
  • Steve Bannon Trump’s one-time chief strategist. The committee wants to know about his involvement in the “so-called war room of Trump allies at the Willard hotel in Washington in early January,” Cohen writes. Bannon’s contempt of Congress trial is set for July 18.
  • Meadows the self-described chief’s chief who is now at odds with the committee over what exactly is covered by Trump’s claim of executive privilege. Cohen notes, “There is also a growing body of evidence indicating Meadows played a direct role in efforts to overturn the 2020 election.”
  • Jeffrey Clark — the former Justice Department official most closely tied to Trump just before the insurrection. Clark wanted the Department of Justice to more actively question election results and intervene in key swing states like Georgia.
  • John Eastman — the conservative lawyer who hatched the bonkers legal strategy that Pence had the constitutional authority to interrupt the certification of the election results. Eastman appeared for a deposition with the committee Thursday but may be pleading the Fifth.
  • Roger Stone the dirty trickster who Trump pardoned after he was convicted of lying to Congress and who encouraged supporters to march on the Capitol on January 6. Stone plans to plead the Fifth.
As the committee quietly works toward accountability, the rest of the political world is, for now, carrying on with life. And elections are approaching.
A primary in Georgia. As the House committee looks at whether Trump and officials in his administration tried to overturn election results in Georgia, a Trump ally and former senator, David Perdue, announced a primary challenge to the state’s sitting Republican Gov. Brian Kemp.
Perdue says he wouldn’t have signed off on the 2020 election results. CNN’s Chris Cillizza writes that election rejection is now a must for aspiring Republican candidates.
Pence in New Hampshire. While his former staffers were in Washington cooperating with the January 6 committee, CNN’s Randi Kaye literally ran into Pence in New Hampshire. New Hampshire! It traditionally holds the first-in-the-nation primary. Pence wouldn’t say if he’ll be running for President in 2024. But it’s early.
Will Trump run again? CNN’s Gabby Orr writes that Trump’s lack of commitment on whether he’ll run has frozen the GOP field in place.
Asked by conservative talk radio host Hugh Hewitt if he might not run, Trump said, “If I do decide that, I think my base is going to be very angry.”
So it at least sounds like he’s running in the next presidential election. Which makes the inquiry into the effort to overturn the last election all the more important.
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