January 6 Report Is Real, And It's Spectacular

Who wants to read the entire 845-page January 6 Select Committee Final Report?

Oh, nobody?

Fine, then. We'll do it for you. Merry Yule Log from Your Wonkette!

We've read the executive summary, but we're going to skip that part for the time being, since it's a summary (DUH), and we're going to do the whole damn thing for you anyway.

Let's start with Chapter 1: The Big Lie, in which all the grownups tell Donald Trump a million times, "No, dickhead, there was no fraud. You just lost," only to be undercut by Rudy Giuliani, frothing at the mouth about Dominion Voting Systems and suitcases of fake ballots.

'Frankly We DID Win This Election.'

Our story picks up on on election night at the White House when a drunk Giuliani told Trump to go out and declare victory, even after Fox News called Arizona for Joe Biden. Everyone else urged caution, but Trump waddled out before the cameras and started yelling about fraud — even before his team had decided exactly which Black civil servants to pin a target on.

“This is a fraud on the American public. This is an embarrassment to our country,” Trump brayed to the assembled cameras. “We were getting ready to win this election. Frankly, we did win this election. We did win this election.”

He then demanded that voting must stop, by which he meant no more votes should be counted.

“Right out of the box on election night, the President claimed that there was major fraud underway,” former attorney general Bill Barr testified to the committee. “I mean, this happened, as far as I could tell, before there was actually any potential of looking at evidence.”

Frankly, he did not win this election. In fact, he lost the popular vote by 4.5 percent, although it was alarmingly close in some of the swing states. But it was frankly unsurprising that Trump falsely declared victory on election night with tens of millions of ballots uncounted. Indeed, his allies telegraphed that punch with total clarity.

Thanks to Mother Jones, we've all heard the tape of Steve Bannon on Halloween bragging that the president was "just gonna say he’s a winner" and "take advantage" of the late counting of absentee and mail-in ballots, which overwhelmingly favored Biden.

"If Trump is losing, by ten or eleven o’clock at night, it’s going to be even crazier," the putrefying podcaster promised. "No, because he’s gonna sit right there and say ‘They stole it. I’m directing the Attorney General to shut down all ballot places in all 50 states. It’s going to be, no, he’s not going out easy. If Trump—if Biden’s winning, Trump is going to do some crazy shit."

Indeed he did do some extremely crazy shit.

And Roger Stone blustered to a Danish film crew that Trump would simply insist he was the winner and refuse to leave, irrespective of the will of the voters.

"The key thing to do is to claim victory," he vamped. "Possession is nine tenths of the law. No, we won. Fuck you, Sorry. Over. We won. You’re wrong. Fuck you."

No, fuck you, Rog! And fuck you, too, Tim Fitton!

Fitton is like the Forrest Gump of bad legal advice. We recently discovered that the Judicial Watch freak told Trump it was perfectly legal for him to pocket presidential records and stash them in his pool locker. And apparently the Committee's dispute over Trump's presidential records housed at the National Archives kicked loose an email chain from Fitton to Trump vomiting out some inane theory that votes had to be counted on election night to be valid.

Tom Fitton drafted a victory statement for the President to read on election night. On October 31st, he emailed the statement to President Trump’s assistant, Molly Michael, and social media guru, Dan Scavino. Fitton wrote that election day, November 3rd, was the “deadline by which voters in states across the country must choose a president.” Fitton argued that counting ballots that arrived after election day would be part of an effort by “partisans” to “overturn” the election results.

Not for nothing, but Tom Fitton is not a lawyer. Is his theory that ballots were all counted in one day by candlelight back in the 1800s? Why does he think Congress passed the Electoral Count Act of 1887 providing a safe harbor date of December 8 before the certification of electors on December 14? Just ... what???

And speaking of HENGHHHH, Trump's decision to demonize absentee and mail-in voting was always a mistake, which is why his campaign manager Bill Stepien and Rep. Kevin McCarthy begged him not to do it. Instead he spent the spring and summer warning his supporters that "Mailed ballots are corrupt, in my opinion. And they collect them, and they get people to go in and sign them. And then they — they’re forgeries in many cases. It’s a horrible thing."

Which meant that Trump's supporters had to get their asses to the polls and stand in line on November 3, when Biden had already banked millions of votes. As literally everyone including Trump's own campaign had predicted.

Team Comparatively Normal vs. Team Fuckbonkers

After the election, the campaign descended into two factions. Stepien described himself and attorneys Justin Clark, Alex Cannon, and Matthew Morgan as leading up "Team Normal," which is only accurate by comparison to the team of crackpot loons led by Rudy Giuliani. It's easy to call yourself "normal" relative to a pile of broken toys that includes Sidney Powell, Lin Wood, John Eastman, Jenna Ellis, Christina Bobb, and Jeff Clark, all of them twitching and making weird noises about Italian space lasers and Chinese Bluetooth thermostats. A "normal" person wouldn't have signed on to represent a racist circus clown and enthusiastically applauded for months as he told egregious lies, heedlessly destroying civic unity and Americans' faith in the electoral process in service of his own selfish goals.

But okay, according to their own post facto, entirely self-serving testimony, "Team Comparatively Normal" told Trump that he'd lost on November 7 after all the networks called the election for Biden, describing the prospects of a victory as “5, maybe 10 percent ... very, very, very bleak.” In reality, there was a zero percent chance. But having given their assessment, TCN courageously ... ceded the field to Rudy and the weirdos.

“Team Normal” was not impressed. Stepien told the Select Committee the campaign team was concerned that Giuliani would be a distraction to them and to President Trump. When Giuliani suggested traveling to Pennsylvania to assist in the campaign’s efforts, the campaign team “didn’t dissuade him from doing so.” After just 10 to 15 minutes in the conference room, Stepien and other staffers left the meeting. [...]

Giuliani had other ideas and advocated to President Trump that he be put in charge of the Campaign’s legal operation so that he could pursue his preferred strategy. “Mr. Giuliani didn’t seem bound by those cases or by those precedents. He felt he could press forward on anything that he thought was wrong with the election and bring a strategy around that,” Morgan explained. “Rudy was just chasing ghosts,” Clark said. Morgan and Clark excused themselves from the meeting because it “was going nowhere.”

So brave!

On November 14, Giuliani briefed the campaign on the new strategy, which was “to go hard on Dominion/Smartmatic, bringing up Chavez and Maduro.” This caused all the reputable law firms that had been happy to go along with efforts to protect the integrity of the vote — haha! — by fighting expansions of ballot access, particularly those enacted to accommodate coronavirus restrictions, to finally tap out.

“I didn’t think what was happening was necessarily honest or professional at that point in time,” Stepien admitted, adding, “This wasn’t a fight that I was comfortable with."

Cue those teeny, tiny violins.

What followed was a barrage of garbage lawsuits withTeam Fuckbonkers vomiting a bunch of unsubstantiated allegations and facially nonsensical statistical analyses onto various state and federal dockets, and getting soundly beaten back on both procedural and evidentiary grounds. Rudy himself committed such a spectacular act of extra-legal fuckery in a federal court in Pennsylvania that it got him suspended from the practice of law in New York and then DC. (And speaking as someone who liveblogged it, I will never forget him asking for "normal scrutiny" as long as I live.)

And while we appreciate that the committee probably made the right choice when it showcased Trump's loyal team as heroically telling the truth now, most of them didn't do shit to stop him ginning up a coup. Are we supposed to applaud White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany “waving him off of the Dominion theory,” in favor of “fact-driven” arguments? She stood behind him and clapped when he defamed a public company, as did the rest of the so-called normies. And she, along with Mark Meadows, functioned as campaign apparatchiks while on the public payroll and nominally working for the American people. So no, zero points will be awarded for admitting it later!

Look at all these lawyers patting themselves on the back for bravely pointing out that declaring martial law was bad, actually:

President Trump’s fixation on Dominion’s voting machines and the baseless theory that the machines had manipulated votes led to a concerted effort to gain access to voting machines in States where President Trump was claiming election fraud. On the evening of December 18th, Powell, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn (ret.) and Patrick Byrne met with the President at the White House. Over several hours, they argued that President Trump had the authority, under a 2018 executive order, to seize voting machines. Several administration officials joined the meeting and forcefully rejected this extreme proposal. Multiple lawyers in the White House, including Eric Herschmann, Derek Lyons, and White House Counsel Pat Cipollone “pushed back strongly” against the idea of seizing voting machines. Cipollone told the Select Committee it was a “horrible idea,” which had “no legal basis,” and he emphasized that he had “seen no evidence of massive fraud in the election.” White House advisor Eric Herschmann similarly told the Select Committee that he “never saw any evidence whatsoever” to sustain the allegations against Dominion. National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien phoned into the December 18th meeting and was asked if he had seen “any evidence of election fraud in the voting machines or foreign interference in our voting machines.” O’Brien responded that his team had“looked into that, and there’s no evidence of it.”

Most galling is Bill Barr patting himself on the back for saying there was no substantial election fraud, considering that his main concern when he noped out in mid-December of 2020 was making sure that Trump didn't publicly fire him in a humiliating tweet. He can testify now about speaking truth to power, but, my dude, we all saw that ass-kissing resignation letter. At least Jeff Rosen, Rich Donoghue, and Steven Engel threatened to resign and, in so doing, kept Jeff Clark's hands off the tiller at the DOJ. Barr did everything he could in the lead-up to the election to feed Trump's lies about fraudulent mail-in ballots. He's no bloody hero because he laughed at Dinesh D'Souza's stupid home movie in June of 2022.

The Road To The Capitol

The committee goes to great lengths to debunk Trump's lies about election fraud. They point to hand recounts in Michigan and Georgia, confirming the original tallies, as well as Trump's repeated references to "suitcases" of fraudulent ballots, even after being told by his own Justice Department that this was totally false. We don't have to spend a lot of time on that here, because presumably you're not a mouth-breathing MAGAt, brain poisoned by OAN. But Trump attesting in a legal filing to numbers about supposed fraud in Georgia, when he knew those numbers were false, has already been described by a federal judge as "likely" criminal, and may form the basis of a future prosecution.

But just as importantly, Trump fed these lies to his credulous supporters, who believed them because they implicitly trusted that the leader of our country would not rely on totally made up numbers. And he continued to repeat those lies to the mob on January 6:

By the Select Committee’s assessment, there were more than 100 times during his speech in which President Trump falsely claimed that either the election had been stolen from him, or falsely claimed that votes had been compromised by some specific act of fraud or major procedural violations. That day, President Trump repeated many of the same lies he had told for months—even after being informed that many of these claims were false. He lied about Dominion voting machines in Michigan, suitcases of ballots in Georgia, more votes than voters in Pennsylvania, votes cast by noncitizens in Arizona, and dozens of other false claims of election fraud.

None of those claims were true.

Sure, we all giggled at the cosplay electors. We laughed at the Kraken lawsuits. Rudy leaking hair dye at the RNC and convening a press conference in the parking lot of a landscaper across from the porno store was legitimately hilarious. And yet there is a direct through line from these ridiculous people and their obvious bullshit to the mob that descended on the Capitol on January 6.

TL, DR, lock them up. Or, if we can't do that, figure out how to fix this country so this shit never happens again. Because next time, our adversaries probably won't be this bloody stupid.

[January 6 Select Committee Final Report]

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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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