Department of Favors. The Hearing.
“We’ll call you when there is an oil spill.”
-Deputy AG, Richard Donoghue in an email to DOJ official and former Assistant AG of the Environmental Affairs Division, Jeffrey Clark, January 3, 2021.
Today’s Hearing began with the “breaking news” item that former Assistant AG Jeffrey Clark’s residence had been raided by the FBI. The raid occurred more than ten hours before the Hearing was convened by Rep. Bennie Thompson, (Mississippi, 2nd District) Chair of the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the Capitol.
Electronic devices were removed from the Clark residence. Clark was seen on the street outside his home in his pajamas.
Today’s Hearing also began with another Committee “investigation bombshell,” the saliency of a video bite from the Committee’s recorded testimony of Ivanka Trump, the President’s daughter, which was played during the Hearings of Day 4 and reconstituted like orange juice for the insatiable appetites of cable news audiences between Day 4 and Day 5.
In the video testimony Ivanka recalls that she agreed with former AG Bill Barr’s opinion that the claims of the election being stolen were b…s… In a subsequent video appearance Ivanka contradicts her testimony by recalling that her father, the President, would go “to any length” to protect voters for him from having their vote destroyed.
Credit “daughter-in-chief” Ivanka for spinning video testimony into a side show.
Of course, she agrees with Bill Barr’s description of the ‘big lie…’ more reason to follow her father’s public posture to do everything to expose voter fraud. In other words, like father, use every opportunity to deceive the public trust.
Of course, Ivanka can contradict herself: hers were prepared answers, vetted by lawyers, consistent with ‘her rights,’ though perhaps not conforming to reality.
It is a side show.
The relevance of both of these developments would not escape the coverage of the day’s proceedings. Both the FBI raid and seizure of Clark’s documents and the Ivanka Trump video record displayed ‘opportunity’ and ‘motive’ for 45 to commit treason.
In US Criminal law, means, motive, and opportunity is a popular cultural summation of the three aspects of a crime needed to convince a jury of guilt in a criminal proceeding. Respectively, they refer to: the ability of the defendant to commit the crime (means), the reason the defendant had to commit the crime (motive), and whether or not the defendant had the chance to commit the crime (opportunity). Opportunity is most often disproved by use of an alibi, which can prove the accused was not able to commit the crime as he or she did not have the correct set of circumstances to commit the crime. Ironically, motive is not an element of many crimes, but proving motive can often make it easier to convince a jury of the elements that must be proved for a conviction.
-Wikipedia search, “what are the three elements of convincing a jury that a crime has occurred?” (1)
Today’s hearing would demonstrate for the audience, the “means.” In recasting the alleged plot(s) to overturn the 2020 election results, the Committee would be moving the ball further down the “seditious act field.”
Day 5 distinguished itself across several dimensions. As reported earlier (2) publicly the Hearings are not faring well. Ratings are down. Mainstream cable is competing with “haven’t we heard this all before.” Hearing “recaps” are blatant self-promos verging on “nothing burgers.” (3)
Barriers needed to be broken, dimensions crossed. The Committee was prepared.
One dimension crossed on Day 5 was the choice of Adam Kinzinger (Illinois, 16th District), a Republican, to do the questioning on behalf of the Committee of three DOJ Trump-appointed officials. Kinzinger was one of two Republicans appointed by House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, to serve on the Committee.
Republican on Republican. This was a “first.”
Another dimension crossed on Day 5 was witness to the events, corroborating the Committee’s interpretation of “yeah, that’s what happened. In other words, the Committee offered the witnesses, Engel, Rosen and Donoghue, an opportunity to say publicly, ‘no you’ve got it wrong.’
The final dimension crossed was that the multi-media play of the proceedings reached a new level of sophistication. A subpoenaed documentary film would help.
Consider the players, Engel, Rosen and Donoghue.
Like Day 3 and Day 4, the Committee’s choice of these witnesses was brilliant. All we’re career lawyers/prosecutors; all were Republicans; all were ‘in the room.’ All were doing their appointed job; all were observing department protocol. All went ‘by the book.’
And all refused Trump’s efforts to overturn the election results.
Moreover, their collective reproach to Trump’s efforts was tactical and un-dramatic: attempt this, they said, citing Jeffrey Clark’s letter, and you will have a mass defection in the Department of Justice. AG’s will leave.
Screenshot of AG’s.
In effect, Mr. President, you will have your guy, Clark and no DOJ. Nobody to enforce. Nobody to lead.
Jeffrey Clark didn’t have to be present at the Committee Hearing, Day 5, to bring home the point that the cause was no longer about Trump’s fake win but about appearing in charge.
Trump could only ask Engel, “You would resign, too?”
After Kinzinger and Committee had finished the Hearing, three incriminating attempts to defraud and overturn a national election result were publicly substantiated: first, a multi-state election fraud investigation by the FBI had concluded ‘that there was no evidence to support the allegation that voter fraud had resulted in Trump’s loss;’ second, DOJ official Jeffrey Clark had attempted to circulate a letter signed by the Acting AG Jeffrey Rosen and other DOJ leadership that state officials in Georgia and three other states should reconvene electors for the purpose of investigating cases of voter fraud, effectively halting the certifying of elector votes; three, numerous members of Congress had sought Presidential pardons for criminal acts after the election on November 8.
Committee Chair Bennie Thompson ended the Hearing by stating that the Committee was taking a two-week recess to review recent material presented to the Committee for inclusion in the public record, including hours of video recordings done by an independent filmmaker of the Trump family, Trump and White House advisors before and on January 6. (4)
The public has not heard the last of Ivanka Trump.
Nor pardon supplicant Congressman “Mo” Brooks.
3-Beginning with Day 2 of the hearings, MSNBC has been airing an unfortunate and blatant self-promo vehicle, a recap of the hearings with commentary during prime time of the day of the hearing.
In my opinion, either replay the hearings in their entirety, as was done during the Watergate Hearings (1973), or honor the cable viewer’s record button.
2- Maggie Haberman, “Documentary Filmmaker Emerges as Potentially Key Jan. 6 Witness,” NYTimes, Friday, June 24