House uncovers a second villain

Thursday’s hearing of the House committee investigating Jan. 6 might have been called Pressure Cooker — Part II.

A former paratrooper drops bombs at hearing

The Tuesday hearing produced testimony from several elected Republican officials — and from Donald J. Trump himself on recorded calls — that the president tried to pressure them into not accepting the election results and a demand, or maybe a request, but begging for sure that they “find” some votes for him.

Having failed that, Trump then allegedly tried to get the Department of Justice to overturn the election results.

Thursday’s hearing was part tragedy, part comedy, with Trump having to share the stage, according to testimony, with a co-villain named Jeffrey Clark, a native Philadelphian and a graduate of Father Judge. He’s an environmental lawyer with the Department of Justice. 

The testimony came closest to what has been called a coup — the replacement of an acting attorney general who would not do Trump’s illegal bidding — with an unqualified but compliant substitute, Clark.

Key witnesses were Jeffrey Rosen, appointed acting attorney general by Trump to replace Bill Barr, and Rosen’s acting deputy attorney general, Richard Donoghue, a 20-year veteran who had served with the 82nd Airborne. 

Donoghue’s contempt for Clark was palpable and visceral, because he saw Clark as a jellyfish who sought to usurp Rosen’s job. We’ll call you when there’s an oil spill, he hissed at Clark.

The skinny is this: Trump viewed the U.S. Attorney General as his personal mouthpiece. Remember that he fired his first Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, for refusing to interfere with the work of a special counsel.

Trump hired an acting A.G., Matthew Whitaker, followed by Bill Barr, and then Jeffrey Rosen — the 4th A.G. in four years.

When Clark maneuvered to become the 5th, that’s where the wheels fell off. (Clark refused to answer the committee’s questions, and the FBI searched his home on Wednesday.)

Trump was interested in Clark, because he was willing to send a letter to the Georgia legislature requesting them to overturn the election.

Rosen said there was no evidence to ask for that, it would be illegal anyway, and he refused to do it. Former White House Senior Adviser Eric Herschman said, “Jeff’s proposal was nuts.”

At a meeting with the president that resembled an episode of The Apprentice, Trump met with his top aides and top DOJ officials and asked what would happen if he appointed Clark to replace Rosen.

This put me in mind of Richard Nixon’s “Saturday Night Massacre,” when U.S. Attorney General Elliot Richardson and deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus  quit rather than fire special prosecutor Archibold Cox.

This was the moment you might call a coup, or a putsch in a soft glove. Yes, Trump could do it, but. . .

Trump got an assurance of a massive resignation within the DOJ. 

“Jeff Clark will be left leading a graveyard,” said Steve Engel, assistant attorney general. He quoted White House counsel Pat Cipollone as calling it a “murder suicide.”

Trump backed down.

In his conversations with DOJ officials, and others, Trump insisted the law enforcement branch had “not done enough” to investigate charges of impropriety, some of which Trump pulled off the Internet.

Almost daily, DOJ got “an arsenal of allegations” from Trump, said Donoghue, a highlight being that Italian spy satellites were changing votes from Donald Trump to Joe Biden.

Trump was told that was completely false, and other allegations had been investigated and found to be baseless.

Donoghue ran down a list of them with Trump, and refuted them, point by point. “No, that is not true,” he told Trump time and again during a 90-minute meeting.

It did not matter to Trump. I believe he believes he won because he has a history of being impervious to facts he does not like. He is self delusional.

Frustrated, he told DOJ, “Just say the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me and Republican congressmen.”

And Italian satellites.

18 thoughts on “House uncovers a second villain”

  1. As the child of Holocaust survivors I had always been astounded and wondered at what happened in Germany to delude or frighten much of the nation into doing the bidding of the Nazi leadership. I read book after book trying to understand it. I no longer wonder, nor am I astounded. What astounds me now is how few people had the courage to stand up to this delusional grifter and how many of our citizens are still taken in by him. And it makes me very sad. I am glad that my parents are not here to see what has happened to the country to which they emigrated.

      1. I hope you are not referring to me as the one who despises Repubs. I despise deluded MAGAs and now most Repubs. Sure, a few — too few stood up and did the right thing. I did mention that in my post.

    1. The difference is thar here we have people and institutions that stand up to tyranny. The proof is that we inaugurated a new president just as we always have. Germany did not have either the institutions or the people.

      1. This is true. Pence, DOJ leadership, Millley, White House counsel all balked at destroying the constitution. The disappointing and, frankly, frightening part is the number of Trump cronies, who not only thought the unthinkable, but did it, and tried to convince others to do it. Another difference is that there has been no “night of the long knives” in the GOP, though Trump’s efforts to dislodge his Republican opponents (i.e., those with some degree of integrity and commitment to democracy) has the same goal of consolidating his power against all internal opposition.

        Trump, a novice politician and new to the Republican party, originally stocked his administration from the experienced GOP bench. This is why, for example, “Trump judges” are sending January 6 rioters to prison and rejected his election challenges. Next time around, things will be different. Imagine an Eastman, Giuliani, Powell, Wood or Clark as the AG, White House Counsel, and on the Supreme Court in the first instance. Imagine a Michael Flynn in the place of General Millie, a Peter Navarro as VP and an Oathkeeper/Proudboy at the FBI, DHS and the CIA. Heck, if just Pence had gone along, there’d have been a constitutional disaster, although, as Eastman conceded, the Supreme Court would have ruled 9-0 against it. (RINO traitors!)
        So, thankfully, we have plenty of guardrails in this country. But guardrails that are repeatedly crashed against are weakened over time, so I am less triumphant than concerned about these occurrences.

  2. Our institutions have legitimacy because our people respect the rule of law. We do not bend the law for political benefit of individual or political parties. This is what separates the US from other governments. Integrity matters, not political bullshit.

    I couldn’t be any earlier with my words of wisdom ( HA ! ). Had my heart checked out this a.m.. Still works, ut no buyers, So I’m stuck with it.
    Let’s play, ‘he said, she said’. I’ll accept that every one under oath is telling the truth. I’ll accept that this is a ‘hand picked’ group of insiders who have what the dims want. SHARK BAIT ! If it isn’t obvious that the dims want to bury Trump – and his family, then those folks are a little bit naïve.
    Sorry to say. This Donald Trump. An ego big enough to support the weight of the world. Brains enough to build the world, and sorry to say lacking the brains to rule the world. His fiefdom is buildings for the most part. Not what occupies them and there is the trouble with genius. You can’t do everything. Try as you may, it just doesn’t work.

        1. Stude, It appears to me Wanda’s head is plenty clear and she sees things, and people for what and who they really are. I know that bothers you, and your kind, quite a bit.

    1. I have conceded the committee wants to hang Trump. That requires evidence, and they are gleaning it from Trump loyalists.
      One-sided, yes. But none of them dissed him. They just said what happened.

  4. Trump is a traitor!!! Lock him up!!!
    P.S. I belong to the party of Lincoln, Eisenhower, & Reagan, not the cult of Trump! He is totally unfit to be President!

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