Many Staffers In Pence’s Office Have Spoken To Jan. 6 Committee. Will The Former VP?

It’s the autogolpe anniversary and, of course, a lot of things happened. Here are some of them.

Pence And His Office Become A Focus For Jan. 6 Committee

The January 6 Committee is working its way to the top. Many in Pence’s office have already spoken with the committee, according to a wave of new reporting.

  • Now the committee wants to speak to Pence himself, and hopes he will sit down with investigators. “I would hope that he would do the right thing and come forward and voluntarily talk to the committee,” Chair Bennie Thompson told CNN this week.
  • The former VP was, of course, the focus of the ex-president’s pressure campaign, and could speak to many of our unresolved questions.
  • We have not formally asked. But if he offered, we’d gladly accept,” Thompson added to CNN. “Everything is under consideration.”
  • Pence’s former chief of staff Marc Short is cooperating with the committee, we learned last month.
  • Short would not have done so without approval from Pence himself, Axios reported late Wednesday.
  • Press secretary Alyssa Farah is also cooperating, per Axios. “You could see how much information they already had,” Farah said of her interviews with the committee.
  • Keith Kellogg, a Pence adviser, has given a deposition too, CNN reports. Kellogg was with Trump in the White House while the insurrection was happening.

The Big Lie Is Alive And Well

Today is, of course, the anniversary of the January 6 insurrection — and Trump’s half-failed attempt at a self-coup. The Big Lie that drove it is alive and well and may, in fact, only be getting healthier. Throughout 2021 and into 2022, we’ve seen a deluge of efforts to continually sow doubt in the 2020 election.

  • At the moment, election truthers are especially excited about Wisconsin’s umpteenth investigation of its election results.
  • A former state Supreme Court justice is leading that effort with subpoenas and threats to punish election administrators and to jail Democratic lawmakers. TPM’s Matt Shuham sifts through that muck here.

Chart Of The Day

Republican voters remained loyal to Trump in the days, months, year following the insurrection. Pence and McConnell suffered steep drops in their popularity when they failed to help — in Pence’s case — or criticized — in McConnell’s case — Trump’s attempts to subvert the election.

  • “The prolonged intraparty punishment of Pence and McConnell for not subverting the 2020 election results explains a lot of what’s happened in GOP politics over the past year,” UC Irvine Political Scientist Michael Tesler writes, presenting the chart at FiveThirtyEight.

Biden To Speak To Trump’s Roll On Jan. 6

The President will address the nation at 9:00 a.m. ET.

  • He will speak specifically about Trump’s responsibility for the insurrection. “I would expect that President Biden will lay out the significance of what happened at the Capitol and the singular responsibility President Trump has for the chaos and carnage that we saw,” Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Wednesday.
  • Biden presents the U.S. as a nation at a dangerous crossroads in an excerpt of his remarks shared by the White House with TPM and other news outlets.

And so at this moment we must decide what kind of nation we are going to be.
Are we going to be a nation that accepts political violence as a norm?
Are we going to be a nation where we allow partisan election officials to overturn the legally expressed will of the people?
Are we going to be a nation that lives not by the light of the truth but in the shadow of lies?
We cannot allow ourselves to be that kind of nation.
The way forward is to recognize the truth and to live by it.

Jimmy Carter Pounds The Alarm

“I now fear that what we have fought so hard to achieve globally — the right to free, fair elections, unhindered by strongman politicians who seek nothing more than to grow their own power — has become dangerously fragile at home,” the 97-year-old former president writes for the New York Times.

Karl Rove Pipes Up Too

The George W. Bush administration strategist takes his fellow Republicans to task for pushing the lie that the insurrectionists were simple “tourists.”

  • “The leaders of this group were intent on committing violence, some having planned to do so for weeks,” he writes in the Wall Street Journal opinion pages. “Many wore tactical gear. Some came armed with chemical agents, flagpoles, batons and sticks.”
  • “There can be no soft-pedaling what happened and no absolution for those who planned, encouraged and aided the attempt to overthrow our democracy. Love of country demands nothing less.”

The ‘Republican Rebuttal’ 

For some Republicans, the insurrection has apparently gone from horrific attack on our seat of government to standard issue State of the Union-like political event — it requires a rebuttal. Trump scrapped plans to deliver one after allies reportedly told him to maybe not draw attention to the lowest point in his presidency, and that it likely wouldn’t attract the wall-to-wall news coverage he craves. So American heroes Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) stepped up. 

  • The two will “expose the truth” of what happened on Jan. 6 at a 2:15 p.m. press conference from one of the House office buildings. 
  • Many other Republicans are skipping the slate of planned events, some bound for the funeral of former Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA).
  • “I do think that there will be attempts by the Democrats obviously to gain, or trying to get, some political advantage out of it,” said Sen. John Thune (R-SD), chair of the Senate Republican conference. 

Ramping Up

Beyond Pence, there’s been a slew of other news from the January 6 committee, as more Trump-era characters are called out of the past tense. Subpoenas have rained down for Seb Gorka, White House aide-turned-dietary supplement hawker, and Mike Lindell, king of pillows. 

  • The committee is also considering televising some of its upcoming hearings during prime time.
  • William Walker, previously commander of the DC National Guard, contradicted one of the more inflammatory claims that have emerged from the committee’s investigations. He said Tuesday that he had no idea what Mark Meadows was talking about when the former chief of staff allegedly said that Guards would be on standby at the Capitol on Jan. 6 to “protect pro-Trump people.”
  • TPM’s Josh Kovensky notes a trend: Gorka is “the latest in a string of Jan. 6 investigation targets who suddenly lawyered up over the past month, fighting subpoenas for their phone records. In many cases, those filing the lawsuits had partly complied with earlier subpoenas for testimony and documents.”

Must Read

WaPo: More than 40 percent of Americans live in counties hit by climate disasters in 2021

Publishing World Mystery, Maybe Solved?

For years now, someone has been impersonating authors and publishing industry professionals over email to steal unpublished manuscripts of buzzy books. The heists were carried out with such detailed knowledge of the publishing industry that those involved speculated the perp must be one of their own.

  • Now, perhaps, the crime has been solved. “On Wednesday, the Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested Filippo Bernardini, a 29-year-old rights coordinator for Simon & Schuster UK,” the New York Times reports.

National Pantsing Scandal 

The Tennessee House Republican chairman has officially apologized … for trying to pants a referee at a high school basketball game.

  • “Unfortunately, I acted the fool tonight and lost my temper on a ref,” Rep. Jeremy Faison (R) wrote in a statement. “I was wanting him to fight me. Totally lost my junk and got booted from the gym.” 
  • For those of you wondering…the ref’s pants stayed up

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