Here’s what happened this week
If there was any doubt the upcoming book by New York Times journalists Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns would break some news about the last year in American politics, those doubts were put to rest on Thursday when the Times released an excerpt of This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden, and the Battle for America’s Future.
It contains a few juicy nuggets:
- Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told associates Trump was at fault for the Capitol riot on January 6.
- Even though McCarthy released a public statement cautiously criticizing Trump for the riot, in a private phone call he said the president’s actions were “atrocious.”
- McCarthy also inquired on that call about invoking the Twenty-Fifth Amendment to remove Trump from office.
- As Democrats began to mobilize to impeach Trump, McCarthy planned to call the president and recommend he resign. In the end, he didn’t do it.
- In the days after January 6, McConnell told two advisers that “the Democrats are going to take care of the son of a bitch for us.”
Burns and Martin’s book comes out on May 3.
The Times also reported Thursday that conspiracist Alex Jones reached out to the January 6 committee to begin discussing a deal with the Justice Department to lay out his role in the lead-up to the Stop the Steal rally. Interesting that Jones reached out to the committee. Hard to speculate about what that means, but it’s certainly unexpected. The way the Times report was written, it sounds as though Jones is seeking some kind of deal or maybe even immunity. The obvious questions, if that’s the case, are what he has to trade and whom he would point to if he flipped.
It’s worth pausing for a moment to note that Jones—who (1) runs the fake news and conspiracy website Infowars, (2) is one of the most toxic public figures in America, and (3) alleged that the deaths of 20 first-graders was a false-flag operation—was close enough to a president who often defers to unfounded theories for prosecutors to at least think he may have valuable information to trade to the committee or to the Justice Department. Sobering.
That article also reported that the committee has quietly added Thomas Windom, a federal prosecutor from Maryland, to its expanded investigation. As Talking Points Memo notes, Windom’s focus is on whether the efforts by Trump and his allies to change the 2020 election results should be added to the Justice Department’s investigation into January 6. It seems like a sign that the department is getting more serious about charging Trump—although, as the article notes, Windom isn’t staffed up yet.
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This past week, CNN reported on a new set of texts between Senator Mike Lee, Representative Chip Roy, and then White House chief of staff Mark Meadows in which all three Republicans schemed on ways to overturn the election results. One text from Lee reads: “If a very small handful of states were to have their legislatures appoint alternative slates of delegates, there could be a path.” Another text, from Roy to Meadows, reads: “If you’re still in the game ... dude, we need ammo. We need fraud examples. We need it this weekend.”
On upcoming interviews, Donald Trump Jr. is planning to meet with the committee. His sister has already spoken with the group for eight hours.
Kimberly Guilfoyle, aka the significant other of Don Jr., met with the January 6 committee this week. Recall that video footage of Guilfoyle has surfaced showing her dancing backstage at the Stop the Steal rally. She also encouraged the crowd to “fight” during that rally. Guilfoyle was with the president, Ivanka Trump, and other family members in the tent while Laura Branigan’s “Gloria” blared. The committee has prioritized investigating the Stop the Steal rally, its organizers, and participants as part of its broader investigation. It’s interesting to note that Guilfoyle has been sticking with the Senate campaign of disgraced former Missouri Governor Eric Greitens, even after he was freshly accused this year by his ex-wife of physically abusing her and their children.
- USA Today has a breakdown of the visitor logs, calls, and records released to the January 6 committee already.
- Some lawmakers are worried that the events in 2020 have already created an outline for how to overturn elections in the future, according to NBC News.
- Congressional investigators are piecing together details of the final call between Trump and Vice President Mike Pence on January 6, according to Politico.
- Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene paid $10,000 in legal fees to Constitutional Counsel Group, the firm of John Eastman.
Best quote of the week on January 6
“If they ever subpoena me, I would love to talk to them, because I want it to be nationally televised.” —MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell to Insider on whether he would speak to the January 6 committee