Welcome to WeeklyWilson.com, where author/film critic Connie (Corcoran) Wilson avoids totally losing her marbles in semi-retirement by writing about film (see the Chicago Film Festival reviews and SXSW), politics and books----her own books and those of other people. You'll also find her diverging frequently to share humorous (or not-so-humorous) anecdotes and concerns. Try it! You'll like it!
Presidential caucuses have been Connie’s specialty in Iowa as she followed the elections of 2004, 2008, 2012 and wrote the 2 books “Obama’s Odyssey: The 2008 Race for the White House.” She also continues to follow politics by avidly reading everything she can get her hands on, including “Rolling Stone,” “Mother Jones,” “Newsmax,” “Time,” etc.
I originally found out about Ivana Trump’s burial just off the 1st hole of Donald J. Trump’s New Jersey golf course from a Tweet, which seems somehow apropos. The tweet was accompanied by a copy of the New Jersey Tax Code (see below), to prove the argument that Ivana’s sad-looking grave plot was a tax scheme that The Donald thought up to save money. There were also allegations that Ivana’s estate was dunned as much as $150,000 for her final services. One article claimed that she was even charged, post mortem, for a membership, but that one may be overkill.
The entire contention gained steam when a Dartmouth professor (Brooke Harrington) published the New Jersey relevant tax code. “Vanity Fair” followed up with the (slightly abbreviated) article below.
We all knew DJT was capable of lots of shady behavior, but it is seriously sad that the grave of the woman who bore him three children and was an integral part of his empire for 14 years looks like someone’s pet is buried there. It’s too depressing to put a picture of her grave site here, but look it up for yourself if you doubt my description.
To wit, the “Vanity Fair” account:
“Insider reports that “the location of Ivana Trump’s grave—near the first hole of the golf course at Trump National Golf Club—may have tax implications for the business owned by the former president.” And by “tax implications,” the outlet obviously means burying his first wife on the property of his golf club may help minimize Trump’s tax bill. While ProPublica previously reported that Trump Family Trust tax documents show the family worked to establish a nonprofit cemetery company in Hackettstown, New Jersey—which, under the state’s tax code, would exempt the site from taxes, rates, and assessments, and the company from real estate taxes, rates, and assessments—that’s roughly 20 miles away from where Ivana was laid to rest. But according to one tax expert, the 45th president, who has a long history of getting creative with his taxes, may have found a way.
“As a tax researcher, I was skeptical of rumors Trump buried his ex-wife in that sad little plot of dirt on his Bedminster, NJ golf course just for tax breaks.” Dartmouth sociology professor Brooke Harrington,, tweeted on Saturday. “So I checked the NJ tax code & folks…it’s a trifecta of tax avoidance. Property, income & sales tax, all eliminated.” She noted that, according to state rules, there is “No stipulation regarding a minimum # of human remains necessary for the tax breaks to kick in–looks like one corpse will suffice to make at least 3 forms of tax vanish.”
Speaking to Salon’s Jon Skolnik,Jay Soled, director of Rutgers masters in taxation program, cast doubt on the idea that Trump would use his ex-wife’s burial for such self-serving means, calling the idea “a bit overkill.” On the other hand, it sounds…exactly like something Trump would do!
As Skolnik notes, in 2019, HuffPost reported that Trump was able to save nearly $90,000 a year on taxes by adding goats to the Bedminster golf club, which allowed him to classify the property as a farm. Meanwhile, as The New York Timesreported in 2018, “Trump participated in dubious tax schemes during the 1990s, including instances of outright fraud.” In 2019, the ex-president’s former attorney Michael Cohentold Congress that Trump regularly inflated his assets “when it served his purpose”—like to obtain loans—and deflated them when it would similarly be advantageous—like to minimize his tax bill. In 2020, the Timesrevealed that Trump had paid $750 in federal income taxes in 2016, another $750 in 2017, and nothing whatsoever—as in zero, zilch, nada—in 10 of the previous 15 years.”
I grew up during a time when Democrats and Republicans co-existed relatively peacefully. We have the example of Al Gore’s 2000 concession speech after the Florida “hanging chad” controversy (look it up if you’re too young to remember it). My parents were best friends with Bus and Arlene Raymond of Independence, staunch Republicans, and Arlene (my godmother) was even a Republican lobbyist in Des Moines, while my father was the Democratic County Treasurer of Buchanan County for 4 terms. So you’ll have to excuse me if the news that Jim Leach has left the Republican party after 30 years as a House of Representatives Republican from Iowa is worth mentioning—especially when you hear his words as to why.
Also, back in 2001, on Veterans’ Day (Nov. 11th) right after 9/11, I funded and organized a gathering called “Celebrate Citizenship,” a patriotic sing-along gathering post 9/11, with the money raised to go towards college scholarships for the children orphaned in the World Trade Center explosion on 9/11. Whatever we raised would be matched by my parent company, Sylvan Learning Corporation.
I rented out the Pleasant Valley High School Auditorium and set up a program, which included my students reading from their essays, the Glenview Junior High School Band from East Moline, IL, (best in the state of Illinois that year by actual vote of Illinois music educators) playing for a sing-along of patriotic songs, and various speakers, which included a representative from Channel 6 (Ryan Nolan), a representative from the “Daily Dispatch” (John Marx) and, as the keynote speaker, James Leach, then the long-time GOP House of Representatives delegate from the state of Iowa. Leach served in the House of Representatives for Iowa from 1977 to 2007, thirty years. Getting him as my speaker that day was quite a coup, as he had numerous speaking engagements around the state, but he was most gracious in agreeing to come, and that, in itself, is a story I will tell on here in more detail at another time.
Jim (James) Leach, age 79, switched his party registration from R to D to vote in the June, 2022 primary. He said the switch was prompted by a Republican Party that he described as lurching to the right and lying about the results of the 2020 election. Here, in long-time Republican James Leach’s words, are his thoughts on the present-day GOP:
“My own view is that there is no excuse whatsoever for an insurrection. And that we’re in one of the most profound challenges to American democracy ever, excepting the Civil War. Today, the Republican Party that I spent so many years with has really let the country down. And we need to have a political party that operates in a way that both parties can participate. The Republican Party has just torn itself apart, and it’s got to pull itself together. I’ll lean toward the Democratic party as long as excellent people are running.”
Leach went on to specifically endorse University of Iowa colleague Christina Bohannan, a law professor, running against Marianne Meeks. “This particular year could not be more appropriate for a law school professor to run. She’s intelligent and not an embarrassment to the state or anything. She’s a decent person. I just don’t see anyone standing up to Christina.” Leach also said he would support Mike Franken, a former Navy Admiral and Democrat running to unset 88-year-old Chuck Grassley. Leach cited Franken’s naval experience as a plus to Congress and took issue with Grassley’s role in ushering through conservative picks for the U.S. Supreme Court. Some have also linked Grassley to potential foreknowledge of the impending insurrection (see previous article on Weekly Wilson).
Of Admiral Franken, Leach said, “It’s really important we have some naval knowledge in the Congress which is why I was very pleased to see Admiral Franken run. Leach did not see the chances of a moderate Republican in Iowa winning as very favorable. “It would be awfully, awfully hard in the primary. A lot of Republicans would have a decent chance in the general election, but would have a really hard time, at least over the last year, in a primary.”
James Leach said, “We have an obligation to pull together and vote for anyone who has a moral capacity to lead in a credible way.”
As the January 6th Commission convenes in Prime Time on Thursday evening (7/21), it is good to remember those representatives and Senators who betrayed our democratic values on January 6th. I have listed the states where I live and where my son and daughter live, as the names on the lists below do not deserve our future votes for office.
Here is an opinion reprint from “Daily Kos” that names the traitors in office.
by Brandi Buchmann
Now that the January 6th committee has spent more than a year investigating the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, they have unearthed evidence, in physical records and eyewitness testimony, that overwhelmingly suggests former President Donald Trump desperately schemed to retain power after losing the 2020 election and saw this plot aided or advanced by an increasingly craven series of lawmakers, lackeys, lawyers, aides, and right-wing extremists.
Many of those lawmakers who parroted Trump’s meritless claims of voter fraud did so at relatively the same clip he did, using their sizeable platforms, power, and influence to promote conspiracy theories about the results of the election that were disproven by the nation’s Justice Department and intelligence apparatuses and dismissed by court after court and judge after judge—including those judges Trump appointed.
When Congress finally met for the joint session on Jan. 6 to count certified elector slates and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi gaveled in, throngs of protesters would breach Capitol police barriers just minutes later. Trump, live from the Ellipse, was finishing a speech where he urged his supporters to march on the Capitol. One line encouraging this in his draft speech, according to White House records provided to the committee by the National Archives, shows Trump ad-libbed this call to action four times on Jan. 6.
Testimony and other evidence collected by the committee indicate too that Trump initially tried to conceal a plan to march on the Capitol even as he, members of his campaign staff, and rally organizers moved full steam ahead. This detail drastically undercuts claims by Trump and his allies currently in Congress that say January 6 was a peaceful protest that spontaneously went awry.
The committee has also shown evidence of at least six Republican lawmakers seeking preemptive pardons from Trump in the wake of the insurrection. In a request spearheaded by Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama, he went so far as to ask for a preemptive pardon for all 147 members of Congress who lodged an objection to Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory. Brooks also requested pardons for 126 Republicans who joined an amicus brief filed in Texas that sought to challenge election results in Michigan, Wisconsin, Georgia, and Pennsylvania.
Brooks has since defended his ask while simultaneously trying to distance himself from his own inflammatory remarks delivered at the Ellipse on Jan. 6.
It was Trump who told Brooks to make the pardon request, he wrote, in a Jan. 11, 2021 email.
Notably, Brooks said he was making his inquiry “pursuant to a request” from Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida. More than six weeks after Trump finally left office, it was reported for the first time by The New York Times that Gaetz was under investigation for alleged sex trafficking and sex with a minor.
In addition to Brooks and Gaetz, Hutchinson specifically named House Republicans Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, Louie Gohmert of Texas, Andy Biggs of Arizona, and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia. All have issued various denials about the pardons but remain vocal, staunch supporters of Trump and have continued, until now, to cast doubts or aspersions on the Jan. 6 committee’s work and standing.
Trump never issued the pardons and Brooks fell out of favor with him after he urged prospective voters during his failed campaign for a Senate seat to put the 2020 election “behind them.” Trump said Brooks went “woke” and endorsed his opponent.
The Senators who voted to overturn the 2020 election after the insurrection are:
Since we are on the border with Iowa, it is important to present this Mark Karlin article that ran on “Daily Kos.” Karlin’s point that the Secret Service should know enough not to delete phone text messages sent on one of the most momentous days in our country’s history, January 6, 2021 is common sense. The possible involvement of 88-year-old Iowa Republican Senator Charles Grassley in Trump’s plot is something to consider if you are an Iowa voter going to the polls at mid-terms. This year, Admiral Franken (Grassley’s probable opponent) is a charismatic alternative to the 88-year-old Chuck Grassley and—if Grassley’s slip of the tongue is legitimately a sign of Grassley’s allegiance to DJT, do you want to support a candidate willing to overthrow democratic elections who may not support the democratic principle of the peaceful transition of power?
By Mark Karlin
The bombshell that the pro-Trump Secret Service deleted crucial text messages from January 5 and January 6, 2021, may be a “connect the dots” moment. It’s not just that this excised communication could have corroborated Cassidy Hutchinson’s second-hand account of Trump lunging for the steering wheel and grabbing a Secret Service member to try and compel them to drive him to the Capitol after the January 6 rally.
There might be something much more profoundly concerning: there might be Secret Service collaborators in Trump’s coup plot.
Let’s begin with a July 16, 2021, article from the Independent that is entitled, “Mike Pence refused to get in car in the midst of the January 6th riots, fearing Secret Service ‘conspiracy’, reports claim”: Former Vice President Mike Pence purportedly refused to get into a vehicle with Secret Service agents amid the 6 January riots out of fear there was a “conspiracy” to “vindicate the insurrection”…. Mr Pence refused to evacuate the Capitol a number of additional times on January 6th as pro-Trump rioters stormed the building in a bid to prevent the certification of the 2020 election results. In the midst of the riots, Mr. Pence was evacuated from the Senate chamber to his ceremonial office, where he remained protected by Secret Service agents alongside members of his family present that day. He was also the only elected executive branch member calling for help for the besieged Capitol, as President Trump did nothing for hours. (This will be the subject of the next January 6th Commission hearing in prime time this week.)
Then, let’s move to an eye-raising detail involving the oldest member of the Senate, Charles Grassley (R-IA), about a January 5, 2021, comment he quickly backtracked on. Heather Cox Richardson recalled the short-lived claim in her July 13 column: On January 5, Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA), who was the president pro tempore of the Senate, the second highest-ranking person in the Senate after the vice president, talking to reporters about the next day, said: “Well, first of all, I will be—if the Vice President isn’t there and we don’texpect him to be there— I will be presiding over the Senate.”
Grassley’s office immediately clarified that Grassley meant only that he would preside over counting of the Electoral Votes only if Vice President Mike Pence “had to step away during Wednesday’s proceedings,” and that “‘[e]very indication we have is that the vice president will be there.”
Richardson writes that the largely forgotten “we don’t expect him [Pence] to be there” statement combined with Grassley’s claim that he would then preside over the electoral count “continues to bother” her, as it should. Grassley’s statement appears, given that democracy was at stake, as something more than casual. It seems to reflect the possibility of someone who knew of Trump-world plans, but was quickly told to retract his “prediction.”
Charles “Chuck” Grassley (age 88)
Who knows if Grassley would have accepted the Biden electors in the swing states, given the strenuous pressure from team Trump, if he had been presiding over the electoral count? His eye-popping statement of January 5 certainly raises that question. Why would Pence need “to step away”? Why would Grassley even consider such a possibility the day before the count and insurrection unless he knew more than he was saying? Why was Pence fearful of the Secret Service driving him from the Capitol, with the result being, amidst the mob activity still in full swing at the time, that the electoral count would be delayed indefinitely or Grassley would preside over it when it resumed if Pence had complied?
This leads to the erasure of Secret Service texts from January 5 and 6 in 2021. According to a July 15 article in The Washington Post: A government watchdog accused the U.S. Secret Service of erasing texts from Jan. 5 and 6, 2021, after his office requested them as part of an inquiry into the U.S. Capitol attack, according to a letter sent to lawmakers this week.
Joseph V. Cuffari, head of the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General, wrote to the leaders of the House and Senate Homeland Security committees indicating that the text messages have vanished and that efforts to investigate the Jan. 6, 2021, attack were being hindered…. Cuffari emphasized that the erasures came “after” the Office of Inspector General requested copies of the text messages for its own investigation..
Nicole Carroll, the Editor-in-Chief of “USA Today” was on CNN this morning at 11:28 E.T., talking about the “Austin American Statesman’s” release of the Uvalde videocam footage of the school shooting in that city. “We are thankful for journalists for not stopping, but asking the tough questions that needed to be asked.” The Editor-in-Chief, Ms. Carroll, bemoaned the fact that authorities were misleading the public with press releases and, in particular, that the information coming out of Uvalde, Texas, after the slaughter of students and teachers in their school were erroneous and delayed. Her defense of the release of the video was that the Austin “American Statesman” newspaper felt that the public had a right to know the truth so that what happened in Uvalde would not be repeated.
In similar fashion, an earlier CNN story this morning (Sunday, July 17) went into a fair amount of detail about how a local reporter in Indianapolis was able to document the truth of the ten-year-old rape victim who had to travel to another state, from Ohio, to secure an abortion after she was raped (twice) and became pregnant by an illegal alien. At first, various sources such as Fox News flat out called the news false, making no effort to get to the bottom of the truth. It took a local reporter to notice on the court docket that an arraignment was going to happen in court that day of a male charged with rape of a female under 13. She went to the courthouse and learned that the story was absolutely true and the remarks of commentators like Tucker Carlson were based on nothing.
“The Boston Globe” and the “New York Times” are reporting that only 1 in 4 people who are Democrats want Biden to run again and only about half want to see Trump on a ticket again. (Next was DeSantis with 25%). Young voters have lost trust in it all and want nothing to do with the geriatric candidates they are being offered, according to 585 of those interviewed for a “New York Times” article. Only 3 in 10 (Biden) or 4 in 10 (Trump) want to see either of those men run for President again. The duo was considered too old the first time, so running them for a second time is not considered a good idea by the rank and file.
The stories in my first two paragraphs underline why a robust local media is a necessity. Without the enterprising news reporter who followed the 10-year-old rape story to its source, the public would not know the truth. Without the January 6th Commission hearings, the American public would not know the truth about who did what to cause the insurrection on January 6, 2021.
One GOP stalwart, speaking with me, tried to dismiss the January 6th Commission as “a joke,” admitting that he has not listened to the testimony of ALL REPUBLICAN INSIDERS on what really happened that cold January day after the 2020 election. He simply took one network’s directions on faith, without attempting to inform himself by exposure to all points of view, which is my journalism-based goal. (I tape 3 different main news channels and watch the fringe ones late at night for their viewpoint.)
Trump/Cheney/McCarthy: Three on a Match
The complaint he voiced to me was that all the panel members were “hand-picked.” He has missed the fact that every single person testifying was a GOP insider and the only reason that there aren’t more Republican members of the Commission (aside from Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger) asking the questions is that Nancy Pelosi warned GOP leader McCarthy that they could not be Republican lawmakers who might be implicated in the coup d’etat: Mo Brooks (R, Alabama) was involved, as were Mark Meadows and Rudy Giuiliani, Andy Biggs, Louis Gohmer, Jim Jordan, Scott Perry, Margie Taylor Greene, Brian Babbitt, Matt Gaetz, Paul Goser, Andy Harris, and Jody Heiss. All were involved in pushing for the role of the VP in illegally not certifying the electoral votes (“the Eastman Theory”). Quite obviously, a sitting VP does not have the power to simply throw out the vote of the people, as presented by their official electors. If this were a solid principle, why couldn’t Al Gore have declared himself the “winner” after Florida and the hanging chads in 2000? Obviously, the VP’s role on January 6th was ceremonial, as former Vice President Dan Quayle advised Pence, and the entire 38-page Eastman coup d’etat document was partisan, flawed, and illegal, constituting sedition if not treason, in trying to overthrow the duly elected government of the United States by hampering the peaceful transition of power.
When McCarthy learned that he could not appoint Trump loyalists (and probable conspirators) like Jim Jordan, he refused to appoint any other Republicans, so the relatively small number of GOP representatives asking the questions is because of McCarthy’s decision not to cooperate. McCarthy is also responsibl for, first, loudly denouncing January 6th and then scurrying off to Mar-A-Lago to kiss the DJT ring.
Sticking one’s head in the sand and denying that something really happened does not cause it to disappear as an issue, but that seems to be the current GOP strategy for the January 6th Commission, just as it was for the legal outcome of the 2020 presidential election. The panel has been hearing testimony from high-ranking GOP stalwarts who helped elect DJT and served him in office for 4 years, such as Mr. Cippolone, his Chief Counsel. Fox News won’t cover it, because they know how damaging it is to their appointed dictator-to-be, DJT.
There are several good documentaries about the importance of the local media and investigative reporters in fighting back against Fascism in all its form, one of which, that centered on Storm Lake, Iowa, I reported on for this blog. Storm Lake documentary – Weekly Wilson – Blog of Author Connie C. Wilson) A second one, “Writing with Fire,” detailed how Indian women are making valiant efforts to report on news in that country and are making news, themselves, for their efforts. (This documentary was Oscar-nominated.)
Liz Cheney within the Capitol (Photo courtesy of the Denver Post).
Finally, the commentator spoke sadly about the vast number of Americans who will only watch news from a channel that confirms their biases. This is a mistake, and one I do my best to overcome. I routinely watched OAN in the early morning hours, until cable refused to carry it any more because of the blatant mistruths it was spreading. I tune in Fox News on occasion. I tape “Meet the Press,” “Face the Nation,” and “George Stephanopoulus” and “Fahreed Zakaria” (whose program seems to be airing earlier than it used to. I subscribe to the “Austin American-Statesman,” the “Chicago Tribune,” the “Quad City Times,” a Seattle newspaper, and the “New York Times” (which has, by far, the best and most-detailed Ukraine coverage.)
Make an effort. Try to get your news from a variety of sources, even if you don’t agree with the point-of-view of some of your sources. I was a journalism major in college and the recipient of that year’s Ferner-Hearst Journalism Scholarship. I care that truth comes out, and I hope you do, too.
These 10 presidential quotes were gathered and explained by folklorist and free lance writer Ben Gazur. He went into some detail about the background of each quote, which I am not going to do. Let it simply be a test of your knowledge of each of these presidents that you recognize the quotes. Mr. Gazur gave the background of each quotation, and its significance in history. Since I tend to write about politics a lot, they seem apropos. I’d need some time and some access to political books read to compile my own Top Ten Presidential quotes, but these are all good.
The period for a new election of a citizen to administer the executive government of the United States being not far distant… I should now apprise you of the resolution I have formed, to decline being considered among the number of those out of whom a choice is to be made. — George Washington
A house divided against itself cannot stand.’ I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free. — Abraham Lincoln
With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations. — Abraham Lincoln
It is that the world be made fit and safe to live in; and particularly that it be made safe for every peace-loving nation which, like our own, wishes to live its own life, determine its own institutions, be assured of justice and fair dealing by the other peoples of the world as against force and selfish aggression. All the peoples of the world are in effect partners in this interest, and for our own part we see very clearly that unless justice be done to others it will not be done to us. — Woodrow Wilson
Let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. — Franklin D. Roosevelt
The United States pledges before you — and therefore before the world, its determination to help solve the fearful atomic dilemma — to devote its entire heart and mind to find the way by which the miraculous inventiveness of man shall not be dedicated to his death, but consecrated to his life. — Dwight Eisenhower
And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man. — John F. Kennedy
We cannot, we must not, refuse to protect the right of every American to vote in every election that he may desire to participate in… It is all of us, who must overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice. And we shall overcome. — Lyndon Johnson
Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall! — Ronald Reagan
For when we have faced down impossible odds, when we’ve been told we’re not ready or that we shouldn’t try or that we can’t, generations of Americans have responded with a simple creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes, we can. Yes, we can. Yes, we can. — Barack Obama
I’m watching the taped committee hearings and am astounded at the description of the December 18th “Crazies” versus “White House Counsel” that apparently took place within the White House Oval Office (and, later, within what is known as the Yellow Oval Office in the presidential quarters.)
Herschmann, Cipollone and other members of the White House Counsel used the term “unhinged” and it is quite apparent that everything Hillary Clinton warned us about regarding Donald J. Trump’ temperament and how it made him unfit to hold high office was correct. The man didn’t want to admit defeat, so he was prepared to listen only to the crazies in the room and unwilling to listen to lawyers who had been loyal to him throughout his time in office and were—to put it mildly—sane by comparison with Rudy Giuilianni and the female lawyer Sidney Powell.
The meeting took place on December 18th and was so loud that people outside could hear the disturbance. Female attorney Sidney Powell—a major loon—-quoted Trump as saying something like, “You see what I’ve been dealing with” in reference to the sane lawyers advising DJT that none of the schemes to seize voting machines and declare martial law were going to fly.
Pat Cipollone, Chief White House Counsel, repeatedly told the crazies that they had no evidence for their claims of widespread voter fraud and even used the phrase, “put up or shut up.” The crazies couldn’t put up any evidence of voter fraud, because it did not occur in instances large enough to affect the outcome of Biden beating Trump in 2020. More evidence was presented that everyone in Trump’s “inner circle” had been telling him for some time that it was time to move on and admit that he had been defeated. Even his favorite child, daughter Ivanka, tried to get The Donald to think about conceding, but DJT’s narcissism knows no bounds and he was unwilling to admit defeat. (I couldn’t help but think how graciously Al Gore conceded in 2000 after the hanging chad controversy.)
Instead, on the heels of the unhinged December 18th meeting in the Oval Office, Trump released a tweet on Twitter on December 19th calling for all of the militant militia groups to come to the Capitol on January 6th. A woman’s group that had already applied for a permit to hold a rally asked to move its date up by two weeks in order to be present on January 6th, and two former militant Trump fanatical supporters testified about the influence of DJT on bringing them and their groups to the Capitol that day.
Testimony was heard from Dr. Donell Harvin, former Chief of Homeland Security and Intelligence, who said, “All the red flags went up at that point” referencing DJT’s December 19th tweet about coming to D.C. because it’s “gonna’ be wild.” He pointed to the coordinating of the random groups like the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys and cited operational intelligence that was gleaned from watching the Internet and was “clearly alarming.”
The Proud Boys represent White Supremacy and promote violence. Many of the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers have been charged with seditious conspiracy to overthrow the government of the United States on January 6th. Dec 19, 10:22 am. Kelly Meggs: “I organized an alliance between Oath Keepers, Forida 3% and Proud Boys” to “shut this shit down” (meaning the Big Lie of Stop the Steal.)
Ministry of Self Defense encrypted communications were shared that showed maps, plans and other work coordinating with Trump allies, including Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn. Flynn had connections with Roberto Minuto, Stewart Rhodes, and Roger Stone. (He is actually pictured giving the Proud Boys salute during an initiation of some sort in a photo.)
The tweet sent on Dec. 19th served as a rallying cry for these differing groups to join together. FOS: Friends of Stone focused on various pro-Trump events and followed Roger Stone. Nov. 14th encrypted e-mail was shown telling followers to go to their state capitols and cause problems with the voter count(s), which caused the Georgia Capitol to be invaded.
“If he doesn’t do it now, as Commander in Chief, we are going to have to do it alone, on our own, in a much bloodier way.” (Stewart Rhodes) Alex Jones is shown issuing threats: “We will be back in January!”
Encrypted chats showed that Kelly Meggs spoke directly with Roger Stone to make plans for January 6th. Stone used Oath Keepers as his security force. Stone admitted that the Oath Keepers were willing and ready to use violent force against anyone, including the National Guard, who might try to remove Donald J. Trump from the presidency. Lawyer for the Oath Keepers Kelley SoRelle, explained Roger Stone’s connection to the Oath Keepers.
Ali Alexander, Roger Stone and Alex Jones: an unholy trio represented the worst of the worst. Katrina Pierson testified that Trump liked the “crazies” who defended him violently in person. “Things have gotten crazy and I definitely need some guidance” she wrote to Mark Meadows, asking him for advice about allowing the radical speakers scheduled for Trump’s January 6th rally to appear; Mark Meadows returned her call 8 minutes later. She was raising the red flag because of the very suspect nature of some of the speakers.
“I will be making a Big Speech at 10 a.m. on January 6th at the Ellipse. Please arrive early, massive crowds expected. March to the Capitol after. Stop the steal!!” (A tweet not sent, but seenby the POTUS.) “Potus is going to call for it (the march) unexpectedly,” said Ali Alexander. Ali Alexander’ twitter clearly shows that DJT was expected to urge his followers to march on the Capitol and that it was a deliberate strategy settled upon by the President. Many lines pointing out Mike Pence’s failure to do Trump’s bidding were taken from his January 6th speech and then re-inserted after Pence refused to do DJT’s bidding.
Dec. 21st White House meeting:
Mo Brooks (R, Alabama) was involved, as were Mark Meadows, Rudy Giuiliani, Andy Biggs, Louis Gohmer, Jim Jordan, Scott Perry, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Brian Babbitt, Matt Gaetz, Paul Goser, Andy Harris, and Jody Heiss. All were involved in discussing the role of the VP in certifying the electoral votes (“the Eastman Theory”).
There was a January 4th meeting between the President, the VP and John Eastman; Pat Cipollone (Chief White House Counsel and sane legal mind) was not allowed to attend. He subsequently scoffed at the idea of the VP being able to simply announce that he was not going to do his official job of determining the winner of the presidential election.
Sarah Matthews expressed that she was part of a group of aides in the Oval Office hearing “Ideas of how we can make the RINOs do the right thing.” Trump asked that the windows of the Oval Office be left open so that the Freedom Plaza rally (of crazies) could be heard. Ali Alexander: “1776 is always an option. These degenerates in the Deep State are going to give us what we want or we are going to shut this country down.”
A former Twitter employer who wanted Trump’s messaging to his followers shut down testified: ‘When people are shooting at each other tomorrow I will try to rest in the knowledge that we tried.’ (former Twitter employee who warned of Trump’s use of Twitter to stir up insurrection.)
Debbie Lesko (R, AZ) – “We have Antifa, we also have, quite honestly, Trump supporters who actually believe that we are going to be able to overturn the election and when we don’t, they are going to go nuts!”
These are the Democratic candidates running tomorrow to represent Illinois’ 17th Congressional district. This district was formerly represented by Cheri Bustos, who is not running for re-election and faced a tough battle against Esther Joy King last time out. This district is considered a Battleground District, with no incumbents running. You may find the $ spent by each, listed near the end, interesting. (I did). Or the redistricting information about the district, itself. to know which candidate to vote for, you may find the information below, from Ballotpedia helpful.
There are 6 Democratic candidates to select amongst in tomorrow’s primary. One of them seems to be running on a very pro-marijuana cannabis platform, [which is somewhat novel.] (McGowan). One of them was the weatherman and is running a lot of TV ads; he also said he was afraid of storms in his candidate statement. [Interesting job choice.] (Sorensen). One of them, from Rockford, was on the Moline School Board (Normoyle). One of them was a member of the Rockford City Council (Logemann), One of them (Williams) keeps talking about running for the 16th District. Confused me plenty, because I’m not Ballotpedia. The Black candidate from Chicago, Litesa Wallace, is on the right side of Roe v. Wade and many other issues and was a Bernie Sanders supporter in 2020. There was a lot of information about how redistricting changed the lines of the districts, so perhaps that is an explanation as to why Williams says she is running in District #16, when I thought it was #17. Williams statement has a heavy trade school emphasis.
One thing is clear: keeping the district in Democratic hands is paramount in a year that has seen a packed Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade and the January 6th Commission hearings are uncovering more ties to the top levels of the GOP and attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election. Esther Joy King (GOP candidate) is a threat. Whomever you select from the list of 6 Democratic candidates, make sure they can go the distance to stand up for our democracy in the face of the corrupt GOP attempts to take over the levers of power at the local level(s) by turning poll watchers into poll workers.
Litesa E. Wallace (born 1978) is an American politician who served as a member of the Illinois House of Representatives for the 67th district from August 2014 to January 2019.
Early life and education
Wallace was born in Chicago. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Western Illinois University, followed by a Master of Arts in marriage and family counseling and a Ph.D. in educational psychology from Northern Illinois University. She was appointed to the Illinois House of Representatives in August, 2014, by the Winnebago County Democratic Party, succeeding Charles E. Jefferson, whose Chief of Staff she had been. Litesa’s mother was a postal worker. Her father was a policeman who helped integrate the San Diego Police Department.
2018 Illinois Gubernatorial Campaign and Aftermath
Wallace ran for Lieutenant Governor of Illinois in the 2018 Democratic primary alongside State Senator Daniel Biss, replacing Biss’s initial pick, Chicago alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa. In a video announcing the joint ticket, Wallace commented that she and Biss had both “fought for childcare assistance, a $15 minimum wage, to expand healthcare, and to make millionaires pay their fair share.” Biss and Wallace lost the Democratic primary to J. B. Pritzker (coincidentally, a millionaire) and his running mate Julianna Stratton.
From Twitter: My thoughts are with @RepKinzinger. The Big Lie is a terrible cancer on this nation. It makes the work of the @January6thCmte even more urgent. We must reject political violence, restore sanity to the public sphere and raise our voices against extremism. twitter.com/thehill/status…
Adam Kinzinger was gerrymandered out of existence in Ottawa; his district will probably be ceded to GOP candidate Darren LaHood (who used to be my next-door neighbor and is the son of Ray LaHood, former Secretary of Transportation under Barack Obama).
Latesa is a big supporter of a woman’s right to choose and features a Ruth Bader-Ginsburg quote on her official site as a candidate for the 17th Congressional District.
The lines of the 17th district changed after re-districting. According to FiveThirtyEight, the old district had a partisan lean of R+5, while the new district has a partisan lean of D+4. One election forecaster rates the general election Tilt Democratic, while two rate it a Toss-up, suggesting it will be competitive.
This section includes candidate profiles created in one of two ways: either the candidate completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey, or Ballotpedia staff compiled a profile based on campaign websites, advertisements, and public statements after identifying the candidate as noteworthy. For more on how we select candidates to include, click here.
Biography: Logemann earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2009, an MBA from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and a master of public policy & administration from Northwestern University. Logemann joined the Army National Guard in 2012 and led advising missions in Afghanistan. He worked as an educator in the Rockford public schools system and was elected Rockford’s 2nd Ward alderman in 2017.
The following key messages were curated by Ballotpedia staff. For more on how we identify key messages, click here.
Logemann said he decided to run because he felt a call to serve. “My country is very important to me, and my community is very important to me,” Logemann said in October. “As a teacher, and with my service in the Illinois National Guard and as an alderman … none of these are glamorous jobs at all, but service to community is something that’s very important to me,” he wrote.
On the economy, Logemann’s website said, “What working families need most right now is more money in their pockets. That’s why I support a middle-class tax cut, while making the wealthy pay their fair share. We also need to extend the child tax credit and make child care more accessible and affordable.”
Logemann wrote, “Our country has a lot of work to do to get back on its feet from the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of my service with the Illinois Army National Guard, I’m proud to have played a role in my unit’s mission to support vaccine distribution and COVID-19 testing sites in Illinois. In Congress, I’ll be a champion for pandemic preparedness and planning for any future crises Illinoisans may face –– including preparation for the next threat, the next pandemic.”
Submitted Biography: “I was born and raised in California and moved to Chicago after high school. This is when I began an 18 year career as a stock broker; 9 of those years in Illinois and another 9 in New York. After a very successful career in a fast paced and male dominated industry where I negotiated high stakes deals, I left to become a cannabis policy advisor. The proudest project I worked on was where my two career worlds collided, I helped facilitate the sale of an abandoned prison for a cannabis company due to both my negotiating skills, and my cannabis policy expertise, I helped ensure that this process was fully compliant with local, state, and federal laws. This facility is now growing cannabis where it used to grow food for inmates. I aspire to become the first openly proud cannabis consuming Congressperson in D.C. and feel that more of us need to be open about our use of this plant in order to help destigmatize this type of medical consumption. Congress is an exceptionally brutal field and I feel I am the most dominating and most qualified Democrat to represent this wonderful district of hard working people. ”
To read this candidate’s full survey responses, click here.
I am certain that I am the most qualified candidate to beat a Trump Republican in this District. I offer the greatest probability of retaining this a blue seat. I have a proven record of differentiating myself and thriving in challenging , competitive, and demanding situations.
Like the majority of my constituents, I know what it takes to be self made, and self driven. I understand how important and valuable the access to opportunity is and how Congress must continue to invest in our District to create opportunities.
We have several great candidates but I don’t believe they are as tough as I am. I am goal oriented and outcome driven. My goal is singularly focused and that is to keep this seat blue. I will not rest until I have exhausted every possible path to ensuring that Kevin McCarthy does not become the next Speaker of the House. There is no more ruthless environment than Wall Street, and there is no more convoluted political environment than in the cannabis policy space and I have exceptional experience and success in both of these arenas. It is my experience that makes me the most qualified to go into this political shark tank and succeed in fighting for the hard working people in District 17.
Submitted Biography: “This district is my home; I was born in Rockford and grew up just north of the city. I’ve lived in the Quad Cities for 25 years, where I raised my family. I have family in the Peoria and Galesburg areas, and I pledge to reach every county multiple times throughout my bid for Congress. I earned my bachelor’s degree from Augustana College and my M.A. and Ph.D. from Northwestern University. I have served on both the Rock Island County Board and the Moline School Board and currently teach at Augustana College. We need more representatives in Washington who lead with a local approach – who meet with community leaders, hold open meetings, and listen to residents of the district, not special interests. Throughout my time serving my community here, I have done just that. I am running for Congress to keep the promise of the American dream—if you are willing to work hard, you should be able to get a great education, buy a home, raise a family, and retire with dignity in your own community.”
This district has been my home for the majority of my life, and I’m deeply committed to investing in a healthy community. We need more representatives who lead with a local approach – who meet with community leaders, hold open meetings, and listen to community members, not special interests.
I will be a representative for everyone, so we can work on strengthening our economy, investing in our schools, and improving our infrastructure. I want my kids and your kids to see a future here at home.
I will fight for economic policies that protect workers and small businesses. I will promote universal preschool and increased funding for public schools. I will help update our infrastructure by supporting clean water, local bridges, and broadband access for all.
Submitted Biography: “Growing up, I was terrified of storms. But my local weatherman, “TV Eric,” explained what was happening, and helped me feel safe during them. From a young age I knew that I wanted to be “TV Eric,” and at age 27 that dream came true when I became the Chief Meteorologist at WREX in Rockford. For two decades, I was your weatherman. I spent 22 years keeping you safe by telling the truth, informing, and educating our communities daily. Because telling you how the weather impacted your jobs, schools, weekends, and yes, sometimes your lives, I earned your trust through thousands of broadcasts bringing you the daily weather and important updates about “once in a century” storms. To me, being a meteorologist has always been about protecting our neighbors and our communities, values I learned from my family at an early age. Today I live in Moline with my partner Shawn and our two dogs Oliver and Petey. We enjoy bike riding, kayaking, and exploring good food in the Quad Cities and surrounding areas.”
I was a TV news meteorologist for 22 years, earning community trust and keeping people safe by telling the truth. We need more trust between Congress and the people, and I’ll work to rebuild trust by looking out for people just like when I was the local weatherman.
I dedicated my career to discovering the truth and keeping people accurately informed. The pandemic, vaccine disinformation, and ongoing climate crises show that it’s more important than ever to elect scientists to Congress. We need more science leadership to keep people informed, not political partisanship.
In Congress, I will continue to stand up for vulnerable communities, and I will fight to protect the rights of all people against discriminatio
Submitted Biography: “Marsha is a mother of three, philanthropist and community advocate running for Congress in Illinois’ 16th congressional district. Through her work at a local trade school, Marsha has helped hundreds of people obtain job training to lift themselves out of poverty through good-paying, stable careers. Marsha’s compassion, candor, and love of people makes her THE candidate to represent Illinois District 16. And with her refusal to accept a dime of corporate PAC or lobbyist money, it’s going to take a lot of small-dollar contributions from folks like you to get her over the finish line.”
Income Based Repayment Programs for Trade Schools
Medicare for All
Reducing Maternal, fetal and infant mortality rates.
Ballotpedia asks all federal, state, and local candidates to complete a survey and share what motivates them on political and personal levels. Our survey allows voters to really access their candidates and get the information they need to feel confident they’re picking the best candidate for the role. The section below shows responses from candidates in this race who completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey.
Survey responses from candidates in this race
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Ballotpedia did not come across any campaign ads for Williams while conducting research on this election. If you are aware of any ads that should be included, please email us.
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Ballotpedia provides race ratings from three outlets: The Cook Political Report, Inside Elections, and Sabato’s Crystal Ball. Each race rating indicates if one party is perceived to have an advantage in the race and, if so, the degree of advantage:
Safe and Solid ratings indicate that one party has a clear edge and the race is not competitive.
Likely ratings indicate that one party has a clear edge, but an upset is possible.
Lean ratings indicate that one party has a small edge, but the race is competitive.
Toss-up ratings indicate that neither party has an advantage.
Race ratings are informed by a number of factors, including polling, candidate quality, and election result history in the race’s district or state.
Race ratings: Illinois’ 17th Congressional District election, 2022Note: Ballotpedia updates external race ratings every week throughout the election season.
This section contains campaign finance figures from the Federal Election Commission covering all candidate fundraising and spending in this election. It does not include information on fundraising before the current campaign cycle or on spending by satellite groups. The numbers in this section are updated as candidates file new campaign finance reports. Candidates for Congress are required to file financial reports on a quarterly basis, as well as two weeks before any primary, runoff, or general election in which they will be on the ballot and upon the termination of any campaign committees. Click here to view the reporting schedule for candidates for U.S. Congress in 2022. The next campaign finance filing deadline is July 15, 2022.
U.S. Congress campaign reporting schedule, 2022ReportClose of booksFiling deadline
* According to the FEC, “Receipts are anything of value (money, goods, services or property) received by a political committee.” ** According to the FEC, a disbursement “is a purchase, payment, distribution, loan, advance, deposit or gift of money or anything of value to influence a federal election,” plus other kinds of payments not made to influence a federal election.
BEE GONE: A POLITICAL PARABLE
Republican primary for U.S. House Illinois District 17
Tomorrow, June 28, Tuesday, is the Primary Election in Illinois. Poll hours are 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Here in East Moline, the polling place for us (South Moline Township #1) is 637 17th Avenue, the Senior Citizens’ Center.
Running tomorrow are a couple of candidates about whom I’ve done some preliminary research. Alexi Giannoulias is running for the position of SECRETARY OF STATE as a Democrat.
Subsequently, Giannoulias stepped back from public life, currently serving as Senior Director of BNY Mellon Wealth Management. On June 26, 2018, he was confirmed to the Chicago Public Library Board, marking his first return to public service since leaving the Treasurer’s office.
HE’S BACK, BABY! THE PRIMARY IS TUESDAY, JUNE 28th.
Taken during a McCain rally at the Cedar Rapids Municipal Airport during the 2008 presidential campaign. Cover of Volume II of “Obama’s Odyssey: The 2008 Race for the White House.” (Available on Amazon in paperback and e-book).
If elected, Alexi promises to· fight against Republican led voter suppression measures
Increase voter registration opportunities – also wants to do pre-registration for voting when 16 and 17 year-olds go to get their license.
Make government more efficient by reducing lines and waits at driver’s license facilities
Crack down on corruption with tighter rules and more transparency governing public officials and lobbyists.
[*I would appreciate Alexi making it less difficult for me, personally, to renew my driver’s license. The last time I drove for the examiner (in Aledo, Illinois) the examiner complimented me on being “a very good driver.” This was well deserved, as I AM a very good driver. But, because I am an older driver, I am now going to have to show up and drive quite frequently, which does not sound fun. This last renewal was a real trial. It was during the pandemic and my license expires on July 23rd. I showed up at the East Moline driver’s license renewal office and a huge line was outside in 100 degree heat. They couldn’t be inside because of the pandemic and the line was at least 30 people long. We drove to the small town of Aledo, but there was also a line outside there (because of the pandemic.) My husband and I took turns standing in line in the rain, because we only had one umbrella. When I completed my compliment-winning drive and we went inside,—although I had asked my spouse if he had the insurance papers in the glove box before we left home— I learned that he had forgotten to bring any copy of our insurance papers. We were there until closing waiting for our insurance agent to fax us copies of our insurance. I spent at least an hour playing euchre on my phone. The entire process took all day. I include this story only to see if you’re still reading this.]
Alexi Giannoulias: More Information
With Vice President Joseph Biden (then Senator Biden) at the Jefferson Jackson dinner in Davenport, Iowa, caucus season, 2008.
Giannoulias was born in Chicago, to Greek immigrants. His mother, Anna, is from Chania, and his late father, Alexis (previously President of the Broadway Bank), was from Kalavryta.] He has two older brothers, Demetris and George. Giannoulias attended The Latin School of Chicago and then the University of Chicago before transferring to Boston University. Giannoulias graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in economics. He then moved to Greece to play basketball with Panionios B.C. for a year (1998–99).
After returning from Greece, Giannoulias attended Tulane University Law School. Upon earning his J.D. degree, Alexi returned to Chicago to help manage Broadway Bank, a community bank in Chicago’s Edgewater neighborhood that was founded by his father in 1979.
Giannoulias served on the board of directors of the Community Bankers’ Association of Illinois Legislative Committee, the South Side/Wabash YMCA, and the Edgewater Chamber of Commerce. Giannoulias also founded and chaired the AG Foundation, a not-for-profit charity that donated money to treat child-related illnesses, curb poverty and assist disaster relief organizations.
2006 Campaign for Illinois State Treasurer
Barack Obama in Davenport, Iowa (River Center) during the 2008 caucus season.
Although the state Democratic Party led by House Speaker Mike Madigan backed his opponent, Paul Mangieri, in the primary, Giannoulias was endorsed by U.S. Representatives Jan Schakowsky and Jesse Jackson, Jr. and by then-Senator Barack Obama.
The Chicago Sun-Times news group also endorsed Giannoulias in the general election, arguing that he would “bring valuable private enterprise experience from banking to the job” and praising his “creative” policy proposals like a securities lending program, improving Bright Start, and promoting green energy. Running on a campaign platform that emphasized comprehensive ethics reform for the Treasurer’s office, Giannoulias won the March 2006 primary and went on to defeat Republican candidate Christine Radogno in the general election.
The Wikipedia.org entry from which much of the above is taken has 2 bits of information on the collapse of the Broadway Bank and on the Core Plus/Bright Start college savings program, information that is not as positive in nature as most of the other information above. [Once you mention Tony Rezko’s name, you know what happens.] But explanations were given. Moving right along….
Alexi’s father was president of Broadway Bank. My father was founder and president of Security State Bank in Independence, Iowa, established in 1941. It is still going strong and has expanded into several other Midwestern communities while remaining independent and turning down offers from several other big chains. I think the Broadway Bank collapsed under the weight of the crisis that greeted Obama and Biden when they were sworn into office.
My dad was also (Democratic) Country Treasurer of Buchanan County, Iowa, and laid the cornerstone for the county courthouse. He actually lost the election, but his Republican opponent died before he could be sworn in and they offered it to my father, John Corcoran, Jr. He served four terms before founding the Security State Bank.
Giannoulias launched the “Green Rewards” program, which gave a $1,000 rebate to Illinois residents who purchase a new hybrid or other fuel-efficient vehicle. I became very excited about the possibility of getting a $1,000 rebate for purchasing (to date) SIX different Toyota Priuses. I started in 2002 with one of the first hybrid vehicles (cost: $20,050, 0% interest, plus rebates from the government). I clicked on the link to this “green reward” but found it went back to 2007, which is about when I went to a party that Alexi Giannoulias hosted in Denver at the DNC in 2008, when Alexi Giannoulias was Secretary of State.
MY ATTENDANCE AT the 2008 ALEXI GIANNOULIAS PARTY IN DENVER*
I was covering the DNC Convention in Denver for Associated Content/Yahoo. This led to me being named the Yahoo Content Producer of the Year for Politics and to two books, “Obama’s Odyssey: The 2008 Race for the White House,” Vols, I & II.
Entering the party without knowing anyone, I drifted over to a table that had several cute young girls present. I asked if I could sit with their group; they couldn’t have been nicer. They were aides for Alexi Giannoulias and had been in charge of putting on the party. One girl at the table was the daughter of the Fire Chief in Denver. Her father couldn’t wait for the DNC to leave town, as he was kept busy with things like soldering down manhole covers over security concerns.
My own state representative, who shall remain nameless for purposes of this story, had barely given me the time of day when I greeted him and told him I was from his district. He was underwhelmed at meeting one of his middle-aged constituents. The picture to the left is of Carol and Victory Bell of Rockford, guests at the Giannoulias party, who had OBAMA written on one side of their top hats and CLINTON on the other. No matter who carried the day, they were ready!
I talked one of the cutest and youngest of the girls, wearing a low-cut short black dress, into going over with me to his table and watching the difference we would encounter if I had her with me. The rest of the table was told to watch how quickly My Representative (later seen dancing, solo, to the theme from “Thriller,”— I’m not making that up) got to his feet.
So, this extremely cute young Giannoulias aide and I made our way across the dance floor to where my representative was seated. He could not have gotten to his feet any faster if he had been sitting on a spring. I glanced over at the table. The other girls, watching to see what happened, were convulsed in laughter.
I never actually met Alexi Giannoulias, but it was a good party and I want to thank him, belatedly, for throwing it for the Illinois delegation.
“Thanks to your bullshit, we are now under siege.”
These were the words of Pence Chief Legal Counsel Greg Jacob to John Eastman on January 6th, 2021. It was Eastman who wrote the 38-page plan to seize control of our government. (It was supposed to be Day Three, although CNN had omitted Day Two, supposedly so that they could prepare more film clips.) There were meetings at the Willard Hotel to refine this plan and attempt to make it a reality on January 6th.
The June 16th (2022) presentation at 1 p.m. (CDT) focused on the pressure that Trump and his cronies had put on Vice President Mike Pence, urging him to do a number of illegal things that Constitutional scholars agree were not allowed under the powers of the vice presidency. As one mentioned, if the VP could simply declare himself the winner, then Al Gore could have done that in 2000 in Florida. But Al Gore, unlike Donald J. Trump, was a good man who had a conscience. Al Gore’s statement back then was: “In all of human history, the choice between one’s own disappointment and upholding the noble traditions of America’s democracy, it’s a pretty easy choice when it comes down to it.” (What a difference between Al Gore and Donald J. Trump).
I am faithfully watching the hearings, because I care whether my country remains a democracy or not. If you are not watching, because you are not at liberty to do so, tune in here and I will do my best to replay the important things we learned.
J. Michael Litteg, SELF-IDENTIFIED WINDBAG
One of the chief GOP voices this day was a Constitutional scholar and Pence advisor named J. Michael Litteg. By his own admission, J. Michael was a huge windbag, although his closing comments this day were right to the point of the great danger we all face from Trump fanatics, come 2024 (and earlier, in the midterms). Mr. Litteg, when asked a question that only required a “yes” or “no” answer took over 30 seconds to even begin responding and then spoke for 5 minutes (I timed this). Here is some of what he said about the infamous Eastman plan to overthrow the counting process, via Mike Pence, and, therefore, retain power for DJT.:
Litteg: “There was no basis in the Constitution or the laws of the U.S. at all with the theory espoused by Mr. Eastman. At all. None. With all respect to my co-panelists I believe in partial response to one of the committee’s questions, that a single sentence in the 12th amendment was inartfully written. That single sentence is not inartfully written. It was pristine clear that the President of the Senate on January 6th (Pence) had little substantive Constitutional authority. Any. At all. The 12th amendment sentence says, in substance, that following the transmission of the certificates to the Congress and the electoral count of 1887 that the presiding officer (Pence) shall open the certificates in the presence of the Congress of the United States in joint session. It then says, unmistakeably, not only that the VP himself shall count the electoral votes, but clearly says that the electoral count votes shall then be counted. It was the electoral count act of 1887 that filled in, if you will, the simple words of the 12th amendment in order to construct for the country a process for the counting of the electoral votes from the states that neither our original Constitituion nor even the 12th amendment had done. The irony, if you will, is that from its founding until 1887 when the electoral count act was passed, the nation had been in considerable turmoil during at least 5 of its presidential elections, beginning as soon thereafter from the founding as 1800, so it wasn’t until almost 100 years later that the Electoral Count Act was passed. In my view, that piece of legislation is not only a work in progress for the country, but, in this moment in history, …”that was long-winded, I understand.” [Mr. Litteg was “a slow talker” and not the most riveting witness we heard on this second day of testimony.]
They asked Old Windbag what he would have said had he been advising Pence….”If I had been advising the VP on 1/6 and even if then VP Jefferson and even then VP John Adams and even then VP Richard Nixon had done exactly what the President of the U.S. wanted his VP to do, I would have laid my body across the road before I would have let the VP overturn the 2020 election on the basis of that historic precedent. What this body needs to know and America needs to know is that that was the centerpiece of the plan to overturn the 2020election. It was the historical precedent and in the years and with the VP I named the effort by Mr. Eastman and others was to drive that historic precedent up to and under that single pristine sentence in the 12th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, taking advantage of what many have said is the inartful wording of that sentence in the 12th Amendment. Scholars before 2020 would have used that historical precedent could overturn the 2020 election by accepting non-certified state electoral votes, but they would have made arguments as to some substantive (not merely procedural) authority possessed by the VP of the US on the day proscribed for counting the electoral votes. This is Constitutional mischief.”
[Listening to Mr. Litteg required a great deal of patience and it was truly a good idea when one of the questioners simply read a synopsis of the man’s previous writing on the subject. I wrote down “Praise the Lord!”]
TRUMP AS LOSER
Over and over, this day and the first day, we learned that Trump knew, all along, that he had lost the election. He didn’t like losing, and has a fear of being dubbed “a loser” so he denied it then; he denies it now. His usual lies continued to the point that when on the podium for the infamous rally that preceded the riot, he and his cronies lied about their justification for “taking back” the government. Remember the “Fight like hell or you won’t have a country any more” admonitions?—that one from Trump, himself, but others from his buddies, including the John Eastman mentioned above, who was one of the few attorneys willing to “trump up” a plan to overthrow the government. Almost everything they presented to the crowd was a lie.
One of the least windbag-y speakers this day was Eric Herschmann, a former White House counsel, who, after the 62 court cases had been adjudicated and found wanting, took a phone call from John Eastman.
Eric Herschmann’s call from John Eastman: He started to ask me something about Georgia. And I just said, “Are you out of your fucking mind? I only want to hear 2 words coming out of your mouth from now on: ORDERLY TRANSITION. Repeat those words to me. Good John, and now I’m going to give you the best free legal advice you’re ever going to get in your life. Get yourself a good criminal lawyer.”
Later, we learn that Eastman did, indeed, ask to be put on the list of those seeking presidential pardons from Trump before he left office. His request was phrased this way:
“I’ve decided I should be on the pardon list, if that is still in the works.” (to Trump, from Eastman)
That didn’t happen and, instead, Eastman took the 5th 146 times when asked about his actions by the January 6th Commission.
The courts have called Eastman’s plan “a coup in search of a legal theory.”
Simply put, Eastman wanted Mike Pence to step far beyond his true authority, which was purely ceremonial, and announce that the states were going to “look into” some mysterious “alternate slates of electors from 7 states,” slates which did not exist. As the testimony told us, here is the lie that Eastman spread:
“7 states have transmitted dual states of electors to the President of the Senate. “(bogus)” VP Pence could simply declare Trump the winner.” During testimony, the question was asked: Were there really 7 states of alternative electors? A: “No, there were not.”
“There is very solid legal authority and historical precedent for the view that the President of the Senate (i.e., Mike Pence as VP) does the counting, including the resolution of disputed electoral votes.” (from Eastman). False. That statement was a bold-faced lie.
On Dec. 19, 4 days before the memo, Eastman admitted in an e-mail that the fake electors had no legal weight and that the argument would be“Dead on arrival” in Congress.
THE TRUTH ABOUT THE VP’s POWER ON JANUARY 6th
Critically, no VP in history had ever claimed to have that kind of authority, nor had claimed authority to return electoral votes to the states. At no time had electoral votes ever been returned to the states to be recounted. Justice Bradley had specifically looked at that question and had said that clearly the VP does not have the authority to decide anything nor to send things back for a public look. The history was absolutely decisive. “If you were right, don’t you think that Al Gore would have simply declared that he could declare himself President.” (from Gregory Jacob, Pence’s Chief Legal Counsel.) Al Gore did not and should not have this authority, agreed John Eastman. There is almost no idea more un-American. The VP did not have such power. (Statement from Litteg and others).
Marc Short, former Pence Chief of Staff: “So, despite the fact that he may have said otherthings to the President or others, he understood that the VP did not have such authority.” (A: Yes)
“Yeah, they thought he was crazy.” (about John Eastman, as articulated by Jason Miller, former Trump campaign senior adviser, who was wearing a doofy-looking mask).
TRUMP ISSUES A TWEET SAYING HE & THE VP ARE IN TOTAL AGREEMENT; THEY ARE NOT
“The VP and I are in total agreement that the VP has the power to act.” (That was categorically untrue, said Greg Jacobs).
Marc Short: The statement did not represent the VP’s viewpoint. “I think the record shows that it was incorrect.” So, essentially, the President is sending out a bald statement that the President and VP were in total agreement, which was untrue. “He clearly was not pleased.” Jason Miller inquired, “What’s the process for putting out a statement for a meeting where only 2 people were in the room.”
Jason Miller: “The tone was very clearly ..he strongly inferred that the VP did not agree with this statement. Trump dictated most of it. Typically on these, I might have a couple of wording suggestions or maybe I have a sense or a rough framework, but I know with specificity on this one, it was me and him on the phone talking about it and ultimately the way it came out was the way he wanted it to.” (About their “agreement” on how the Pres and the VP were “in agreement on this.)
Jason Miller wore a face mask throughout his testimony, and it appeared to be one of the truly unattractive ones that the government has distributed, free of charge. Was he hoping people would not recognize him later? No one else was wearing a face mask on the panel(s).
TRUMP 2:24 TWEET PUTS VP PENCE IN DANGER
The most dangerous part of what DJT did he, himself did, in targeting Mike Pence for retribution. In early drafts of the Ellipse speech, there was no mention of the VP, but the President revised it to add mentions of the VP and he ad libbed more about Trump’s need to act on January 6th at the Ellipse speech. (“Send it back to the states to re-certify”) Example: “And Mike Pence is just gonna’ have to come through for us, and if he doesn’t, that will be a sad day for our country. The only way re-certification can happen is if Mike Pence sends it back to the states.” Once Trump’s tweet went out, at 2:24 p.m., the mob went wild, chanting “Hang Mike Pence!” An FBI informant embedded with the Proud Boys said that, had they gotten their hands on Pence or Pelosi, they would have killed them.
2:24 p.m. tweet about Mike Pence was instrumental in riling up the crowd. Trump never called to see if his VP was in danger, before, during or after the riot. Not only that, but he has apparently said that he agreed with the crowd regarding the violence to be perpetrated against Mike Pence. Of the “Hang Mike Pence” chants, former Trump Press Secretary Sarah Matthews said. “It felt like he (DJT) was pouring gasoline on the fire.” Pence’s Cheif of Staff, Marc Short was alarmed enough about the possibility that Trump would seek vengeance against Pence for not doing his bidding that he warned Pence’s security detail one day in advance.
There is testimony that Pence refused to leave the Capitol because he did not want to give the insurrectionists the satisfaction of seeing the Vice President of the United States fleeing the Capitol in weakness. Pence refused to get in the car with the Secret Service. Some have said that, although he trusted those he knew in his detail, his suspicion(s) and distrust of DJT were high enough that he did not want to be driven away by agents he did not know. [Think about that one for a moment.]
John Eastman’s constant insistence that Pence had powers he did NOT have, when conveyed to Pence himself, caused Pence to say, “That is rubber room stuff,” meaning that he thought Eastman was certifiably crazy.