It’s important to remember that Bill Barr was Comrade Trump’s hand-picked Attorney General. He replaced Jeff Sessions who, if you’ll recall, was fired–well, asked to resign–by Trump because he properly recused himself from any investigations relating to Russian interference to aid Trump in the 2016 election. Barr was selected because he was more willing to accede to Trump’s questionable legal practices.
Barr, in videotaped testimony, can be heard referring to Trump’s refusal to accept the 2020 election results as “rubbish.” He also called it “nonsense” and “garbage.” He called it “crazy” and “annoying” and “idiotic” and “stupid.” He called it “bullshit.” He even suggested Trump may have been “detached from reality.” But he never called it “criminal.”
Criminal is exactly what it was. Not the lying, but the financial profiting from the lie. Barr has been around the block long enough to know that’s fraud. Fraud is “the deliberate misrepresentation of fact for the purpose of depriving someone of a valuable possession.”
The Attorney General of the United States was essentially witnessing a crime in progress. He didn’t report it, he didn’t act on it, he just tried to dodge any responsibility for the mess by resigning his job. Bill Barr doesn’t get any credit now for speaking out now. He failed to do his job, he failed to do his duty, the most senior law enforcement officer in the nation failed to perform the most basic function of law enforcement.
I confess to having high hopes and low expectations from the January 6th Insurrection Committee hearings. I fully expected to be underwhelmed by last week’s prime time hearing and was surprised that it was as well orchestrated and effective as it was. But I seriously doubted this morning’s hearing would be as organized and productive.
I was wrong.
This committee is different. They’re actually focused and disciplined. In most congressional hearings, the members use the time relegated for questions to make political statements, score political points, and create sound bites in the hope of getting a moment on the evening news. These committee members have somehow found the strength of purpose to sit back, shut the fuck up, and let one or two people run the show.
This means we’re getting a coherent narrative, one that everybody on the committee agrees with and supports. It’s also a compelling narrative, and they’re presenting it in a way that trial attorneys will appreciate. At the beginning of each hearing so far, they said, “This is what the evidence will show.” Then they’re using each hearing to show individual elements of the evidence. And at the end, they repeat, “Here’s what the evidence we just presented means.” Structurally, the hearings have been beautiful.
I did NOT expect to learn anything new from the hearings. But again, I was wrong. I learned that Pennsylvania Congressman Scott Perry had been in touch with the White House after the insurrection to seek a presidential pardon, and that “multiple other Republicans” had done the same. Multiple. Now I want to know which ones–and I think there’s a good chance the hearings will produce the names.
I learned Jared Kushner, the lizard-brained son-in-law of Comrade Trump, dismissed threats by White House lawyers and DOJ legal staff to resign if Trump followed through on various blatantly illegal/unconstitutional schemes. He said the most Jared Kushner thing ever:
“My interest at that time was on trying to get as many pardons done, and I know that he was always, him and the team, were always saying ‘Oh we are going to resign’. So, I kind of took it up to just be whining, to be honest with you.”
That’s right. He was too busy arranging pardons–around 120 pardons in the post-election period–many of them for Trump cronies who were involved in crimes aiding Trump. So busy he assumed resignation threats by multiple legal staff from multiple agencies claiming Trump was knowingly advocating criminal acts was just ‘whining’. Lawdy.
But the most astonishing thing I learned was this: Liz Cheney is Keyser Söze. If you’ll remember from the movie, Keyser Söze was threatened by a Hungarian drug gang, told to get out of the drug business. When he refused, they took Söze’s family and threatened to kill them unless he gave up his drug business. To prove their point, they killed one of his children. Instead of giving in, Söze then shoots and kills his own family and he kills all the Hungarians holding them–except one. Then…
“He lets the last Hungarian go. He waits until his wife and kids are in the ground and then he goes after the rest of the mob. He kills their kids, he kills their wives, he kills their parents and their parents’ friends. He burns down the houses they live in and the stores they work in, he kills people that owe them money.”
Liz Cheney was threatened by the GOP hierarchy, told not to cooperate with the 1/6 Committee. When she refused, she was stripped of her committee assignments and her leadership position. When she stood her ground, refusing to go along with Trump’s Big Lie, she was booed on the House floor by some of her colleagues.
Big mistake. She’s almost certainly burned her political career to the ground, and now she’s in the process of hunting down the insurrection wing of the Republican Party, the ones who forced her to make the choice. Donald Trump probably twitches when he hears her name. She’s on her way to becoming a myth, a spook story that Republicans tell their kids at night, “Rat on your pop, and Liz Cheney will get you.”