Bennie Thompson

It's goin' down for real in the insurrection investigation. Yesterday the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol dropped a massive request for records on the National Archives. If someone in the government had a passing thought about doing coups while taking a leak, they want to know about it.

The Committee is demanding all the call and visitor logs, notes, minutes, agendas, emails, voicemails, texts, photographs, and videos having to do with overturning the election and arranging the January 6 rally. Committee Chair Rep. Bennie Thompson wants this stuff by September 9, and he doesn't give a shit about executive privilege.


Here's a few of the things the Committee asked for:

  • Documents pertaining to Trump's speech on January 6, including communications with his horrible adult children and plans to erect that hideous tent where they all danced in gleeful anticipation;
  • Communications within the White House and Justice Department pertaining to the Electoral College, certification of the election, and launching investigations into supposed fraud at the state level;
  • All the details on how this rally got permitted, how many attendees were expected, all discussion of it at the White House and on social media, whether there was an assessment of the possibility of violence, and coordination between the White House and outside groups flogging lies and encouraging supporters to attack Congress, including the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers;
  • Documentation of White House refusal to implement an orderly presidential transition; and
  • Defense Department memos and orders pertaining to planning and readiness for January 6, specifically including Devin Nunes's lackey Kash Patel.

They'd also like all record of communications with dozens of people, including:

  • Michael Flynn, Sidney Powell, Rudy Giuliani, Bernie Kerik, and Mike Lindell;
  • Owen Shroyer, Alex Jones, Steve Bannon, Pastor Greg Locke, Ali Alexander, Amy Kremer, Doug Logan;
  • Enrique Tarrio, Jack Posobiec, and George Papadopoulos.

Naturally, Jack Posobiec raced to barf out the stupidest possible response, lest other competitors think they could out-derp him.

"This is completely illegal and my lawyers will make short work of it," he huffed, seemingly oblivious of the fact that he and his lawyers have exactly zero say in what documents the National Archives hands over to Congress. "These ugly communists want to go full Stalin and Gestapo as they flail about to distract from the failures of the dementia patient they got as president who even Obama called a 'f*** up.' Be cautious!"

Well, he would say that.

But a slightly more credible threat to throw a spanner in the works came from the former president himself, who has been making noises about invoking executive privilege even after he got evicted from the White House.

"Executive privilege will be defended, not just on behalf of my Administration and the Patriots who worked beside me, but on behalf of the Office of the President of the United States and the future of our Nation," he arglebargled. And although we strongly doubt that he knows what any of those words mean, his lawyers might well be able to cobble together a lawsuit to block access to former White House communications and staffers on the basis of executive privilege. Don't forget that Trump managed to run out the clock last time Congress issued subpoenas for former White House Counsel Don McGahn's testimony, and it's a safe bet he'll be able to do it again, particularly if Republicans take back the House and shitcan the Select Committee in 2023.

In the shorter term, though, don't bet on Merrick Garland's Justice Department dutifully coughing up everything the Committee is asking for. Although the DOJ says it won't be invoking privilege as to testimony from high-ranking DOJ officials, it seems highly unlikely that the agency is going to set a precedent that executive privilege goes out the window completely in an emergency. Particularly after four years when the White House pulled the fire alarm and shouted "EMERGENCY!" every five minutes as justification for everything from the Muslim ban to steel tariffs to expropriating military funds for his stupid border wall.

Dunno what comes next, but it's gonna be ugly.

[Select Committee Letter to Archivist/ CNN]

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Liz Dye

Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.

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