The Top 10 WTF Moments From Day 3 Of The January 6 Hearings
Usually, congressional hearings are hours-long excuses for legislators to grandstand for their constituents or score cheap points. In contrast, the House January 6 Select Committee hearings have been extremely well-executed, with effective questioners, witnesses, and video displays. And even if you've been all the way up the ass-end of this crime spree since the first election challenge was filed (Hey-o!), there were still surprises.
So, here's our top 10 moments from yesterday's hearing.
10: Judge Luttig
Judge J. Michael Luttig is a superstar in the conservative firmament whom Republicans wanted on the Supreme Court. So it matters that he told Vice President Mike Pence in December that the plan to unilaterally reject Electoral College votes was total bullshit.
Everyone in the room knew when he said "It was my honor, Mr. Wood, to have you serve as my law clerk" to John Wood, the committee's senior investigative counsel, that he was implicitly dinging his former law clerk John Eastman, whose coup plot was the topic of this hearing, and also Sen. Ted Cruz, another former law clerk he has criticized for participating in the plot.
Luttig published but did not read his opening statement, which was an amazing piece of rhetoric. So, let's just pull one excerpt here:
False claims that our elections have been stolen from us corrupt our democracy, as they corrupt us. To continue to insist and persist in the false claim that the 2020 presidential election was stolen is itself an affront to our democracy and to the Constitution of the United States — an affront without precedent.
Those who think that because America is a republic, theft and corruption of our national elections and electoral process are not theft and corruption of our democracy are sorely mistaken. America is both a republic and a representative democracy, and therefore a sustained attack on our national elections is a fortiori an attack on our democracy, any political theory otherwise notwithstanding.
Accordingly, if, and when, one of our national elections is actually stolen from us, our democracy will have been stolen from us. To steal an election in the United States of America is to steal her democracy.
Thank you, Judge Luttig.
9: Jason Miller A Liar-Fuckin'-Liar? UNPOSSIBLE!
Yeah, don't faint, kids. Turns out Jason Miller, who famously impregnated both his wife and a fellow campaign staffer in 2016, when he wasn't catting around the strip club, wasn't entirely on the up and up. The video of Miller testifying that White House Counsel Pat Cipollone and every other lawyer in Trumpland knew that John Eastman's plan for Pence to unilaterally reject electors was "nutty," followed by footage of Miller on Fox urging Pence to "do the right thing" and reject the electors was ... something else.
That guy is such a cheap whore, and yet they never get tired of his ass in Trumpland. Is it the goatee that looks like pudenda? Gotta be, right?
8: Eric Herschmann Knifes Rudy Giuliani
White House lawyer Eric Herschmann is nobody's idea of a sweetheart. His sharp elbows were prominently on display in the first impeachment hearing, and he famously instigated a breakup between Kraken lawyer Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani in order to derail their joint effort to get Trump spun up about fake election claims, daring Powell to "repeat to Rudy what you just told the president in the Oval Office — that he has no idea about the case and that he only just began to understand it a few hours ago."
But it was pretty wild when he testified that Rudy privately admitted to him on the morning of January 6 that Eastman's theories about the Electoral College were little more than mental masturbation and would never hold up in court. And of course the committee followed that up with footage of Rudy telling the mob at the Ellipse that Eastman's legal reasoning was beyond question and that he was only following in Thomas Jefferson's footsteps.
\u201cWhite House lawyer Eric Herschmann says Giuliani admitted to him, on the morning of Jan. 6, that he was probably right to call Eastman's election steal theory bogus. Rudy turned around and said the opposite hours later.\u201d— Talking Points Memo (@Talking Points Memo) 1655402755
Don't worry, guys, Rudy has a perfect response for that, and it is ...
\u201cRudy Giuliani responds to WH lawyer Eric Herschmann's testimony that on the morning of 1/6 Giuliani agreed with him that VP Pence did not have the authority to reject certification of the election...\u201d— Vaughn Golden (@Vaughn Golden) 1655406135
LOL, did we say perfect? Maybe not exactly.
7: Eastman Also Knew His Legal Theories Were Horse Shit
You knew John Eastman's legal theories were horse shit. And I knew his legal theories were horse shit. And every lawyer in Trumpland, up to and including Rudy Giuliani, knew his legal theories were horse shit. But would it shock you to find out that Eastman himself knew it, too?
Well, maybe you should sit down for a minute, because here's Pence's chief counsel Greg Jacob, one of the five times he testified that, if you pushed Eastman, he'd admit that his theories would never pass muster in any court in the land and would get bounced out of the Supreme Court 9-0.
\u201cFormer Pence counsel Greg Jacob testifies that John Eastman eventually admitted the Supreme Court would have ruled 9-0 against Pence blocking the election certification.\u201d— The Recount (@The Recount) 1655403593
How you livin', Professor?
6: We're Going To Have To Figure Out Who 'Kenneth Chesebro' Is? Ughh, Okay.
As we mentioned yesterday before the hearing, this Ginni Thomas shit is popping off!
On Wednesday, the New York Times reported on an email exchange between Eastman and an attorney named Kenneth Chesebro, who spearheaded the fake electors scheme in Wisconsin. (At least his name isn't Cheesecurd?)
“So the odds are not based on the legal merits but an assessment of the justices’ spines, and I understand that there is a heated fight underway,” Eastman wrote Chesebro on December 24, adding, “For those willing to do their duty, we should help them by giving them a Wisconsin cert petition to add into the mix.”
How does John Eastman, former Clarence Thomas law clerk and Ginni Thomas's good buddy, have insight into internal Supreme Court deliberations? GOOD QUESTION.
Chesebro responded that they needed to up the pressure on the court by sending dangerous people out into the streets, writing, “odds of action before Jan. 6 will become more favorable if the justices start to fear that there will be ‘wild’ chaos on Jan. 6 unless they rule by then, either way.”
5: Trump Lied
Okay, yes, that is not breaking news on any day that ends in "Y." But the ticktock of events on January 5 was pretty stark. It started with, according to Bob Woodward and Robert Costa's account, a meeting in which Trump pressured Pence to go along with Eastman's scheme. When Pence told him "It's simply not possible," Trump lost his shit and whined, "You don't understand, Mike. You can do this. I don't want to be your friend anymore if you don't do this."
The New York Times reported that Pence had said no, at which point the campaign put out a statement from Trump saying, "The New York Times report regarding comments Vice President Pence supposedly made to me today is fake news. He never said that. The Vice President and I are in total agreement that the Vice President has the power to act."
Jason Miller testified that Trump himself dictated the statement. Then Marc Short testified that he called up Miller and reamed him out for telling lies about Pence.
4: The Oval Office Call On January 6
We'd all read before about Trump calling up Pence in the morning before they all went out to foment a riot. But the juxtaposition of the photo of his kids, the people who always held the real power in this administration, clustered around him as he called Pence a "wimp" and a "pussy" for refusing to mount a coup was pretty stark.
Plus it got Jake Tapper to say "pussy" live on CNN, which is hawhaw and also, maybe if the press had accurately reported the disgusting, vulgar, moronic things this asshole said every day, we wouldn't have gotten in this mess in the first place.
3: Thanks to Your Bullshit, We Are Now Under Siege!
“Thanks to your bullshit, we are now under siege,” Jacob wrote to Eastman at 12:14 as the mob overtook the building.
“The ‘siege’ is because YOU and your boss did not do what was necessary to allow this to be aired in a public way so that the American people can see for themselves what happened,” Eastman responded at 12:25.
"The advice provided has, whether intended to or not, functioned as a serpent in the ear of the President of the United States, the most powerful office in the world. And here we are," Jacob shot back at 1:05.
And even hours later, at 9:44 p.m., after everything we'd all witnessed, Eastman was still pressuring Pence to overturn the election results on the theory that the delay caused by the riot had already violated the Electoral Count Act, so why not violate it more with a little coup?
2: Trump Knew Pence Was In Danger, And He Did Not Give One Shit
“Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands truth!” Trump tweeted at 2:24 as the mob was flooding into the building.
It would have been shocking enough, juxtaposed with footage of the crowd surging forward and braying for Pence's head as they learned of the President's order.
But then we saw two of Mark Meadows's aides testify that their boss had gone down to the Oval Office to tell Trump that the mob was inside the Capitol and Pence had been evacuated before he sent that message.
1: The First Rule Of Pardon List Club Is You Don't Talk About Pardon List Club
Sometimes something is simultaneously so hilarious and so egregious that everyone on Twitter can laugh together as one. Eastman emailing Giuliani a few days after the Capitol Riot, "I've decided that I should be on the pardon list, if that is still in the works" is one of those times.
It is so incriminating, so indicative of awareness of guilt, so injudicious ... just MY GOD, MAN, YOU WERE A LAW PROFESSOR!
So, thank you for that, John Eastman. And good luck with your future endeavors. As your erstwhile colleague Eric Herschmann said, "Get a great f’ing criminal defense lawyer. You’re going to need it."
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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.