On today's BradCast: Special coverage of Day 3 of the bipartisan U.S. House Select Committee hearings investigating the Trump-incited Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and the disgraced former President's multiple attempts to steal the 2020 election from the American people. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]
Before diving into details with our two guests today, I want to cite the must-read written statement [PDF] submitted by one of today's live witnesses, the very conservative, oft-cited and well-respected (if extremely slow-talking) former Judge J. Michael Luttig. Appointed by George H.W. Bush to the appellate court in 1991, Luttig was considered several times during his decades on the federal bench for the Supreme Court. He is often compared to Justice Antonin Scalia and virtually all of his law clerks eventually went on to clerk for Scalia or Clarence Thomas. He was one of several advisors who then Vice President Mike Pence turned to as he was being pressured hard by both Donald Trump and his corrupt attorney John Eastman to toss out legitimate electoral votes on January 6 in an effort to steal the election for Trump.
In short, Luttig is no lefty. He advised the Vice President that he had no legal or Constitutional authority to do anything but essentially read the Electoral College votes aloud during the joint session of Congressional to certify the final results of the 2020 election. Despite extraordinary pressure not to, Pence did the right thing and followed Luttig's advice.
But in Luttig's written statement to the Committee, as I note at the top of today's show, he describes the Republican Party's "war on democracy" and correctly characterizes what so many Democrats and most in the corporate media seem to have a problem saying outloud: "The former president's accountability under the law for the riot on the United States Capitol on January 6 is incidental to his responsibility and accountability for his attempt to steal the 2020 presidential election from the American People and thereby steal America's democracy from America herself."
Was that so hard? Go read his statement in full.
Among the many new items revealed during Thursday's hearing, at which Pence's top attorney Greg Jacob was also a live witness, along with a boatload of videotaped testimony and more disturbing, previously unseen footage from the day of the Insurrection...
- All of Trump's top White House and Campaign attorneys knew the scheme to have Pence invalidate the election was unlawful and/or unconstitutional, describing it as "nuts", "crazy" and worse.
- Trump knew as well, because they told him as much. Repeatedly.
- Even John Eastman, credited with devising the scheme, is known to have conceded its illegality on several different occasions.
- Eastman said he would have seen Al Gore or Kamala Harris using the same scheme to nullify an election as unlawful, but wanted Pence to do it anyway.
- Eastman invoked the Fifth Amendment 100 times during his video-taped, subpoenaed testimony with the Committee.
- After his scheme failed miserably, Eastman sought a pardon from Trump. (He didn't get one.)
- Jan. 6 insurrectionists came within 40 feet of Pence after he had been removed from the House chamber.
- One of the Proud Boys cooperating with the Feds has testified that the white nationalist extremist group would have killed Mike Pence or anyone they got their hands on, including Nancy Pelosi, if given a chance.
We've got a lot to cover once again today and are joined by George Washington University law professor, WaPo contributor and blogger RANDALL D. ELIASON, a former Asst. U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, where he served as Chief of the Public Corruption/Government Fraud section. And, as always during our J6 coverage, HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Hullabaloo. Both offer important insight on today's hearing and the ones that preceded it, as the damning case against Donald Trump continues to come smartly together.
Among the issues discussed, the "outlandishly blatant partisan hackery" of Eastman, as Parton correctly characterizes it and the criminal liability Trump (and Eastman) now face, as Eliason details. In particular, given his background in criminal fraud as a federal prosecutor, Eliason notes that the scheme detailed in Monday's hearing regarding a fake "Official Election Defense Fund" that Trump used to raise $250 million from his duped supporters is classic criminal wire fraud that should spawn an entirely separate criminal investigation from the one now underway at DoJ. He also speaks to the bogus notion that Trump can't be charged because he truly believed that the election was fraudulent and that the Vice President had the authority to overthrow the election. Both of those points have been decimated by the Committee over the past two hearings.
We also hash out the "controversy" over whether the Committee should issue a formal criminal referral to the DoJ at the end of their proceedings; the absurd, and rather pathetic, whining defenses offered by both Trump and Fox "News" in response to the gripping revelations emerging from these hearings; and much more.
And, as if all of that is not enough, we close with Desi Doyen and our latest Green News Report as the nation (and globe) swelters; Texas thanking its lucky stars right now for renewable energy; the U.N. begging the world to knock it off already with fossil fuels; and a potentially game-changing way to produce emissions-free concrete comes to light...
(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)