Another day of hearings in Washington and the story keeps getting darker. Dana Milbank writes:
Two weeks of hearings by the select committee have made clear that the insurrection itself was but a manifestation of a much larger plot by Trump to overturn the election by any means necessary: violence, martial law, seizing voting machines, fake electors, intimidating state officials, harassing election workers, drafting meritless lawsuits — and a contemplated putsch at the Justice Department.
It's quite clear now that Trump himself is certifiable. And he surrounded himself with people who were as crazy as he is:
Though many in the Trump administration admirably (if not quite heroically) resisted his illegality, Trump was aided in his depredations by a seemingly limitless supply of crackpots willing to do his bidding. There were Trump lawyers Rudy Giuliani (‘nuff said), Sidney (“The Kracken”) Powell (Trump wanted her to be appointed as an independent counsel investigating election fraud) and John Eastman, who knew his cockamamie scheme to overturn the election was illegal.
The hearing yesterday focused on one of the crazies -- Jeff Clark -- whose house was raided yesterday by the FBI, while he stood outside in his pajamas. But there were all kinds of other crazies:
Screwballs enabled Trump in Congress, as well. There was Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), whose chief of staff tried to deliver a slate of fake electors to Vice President Mike Pence. And there was Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.), who championed Clark for the attorney general job. According to testimony released by the committee Thursday, Perry was among those seeking presidential pardons for their actions, along with Reps. Mo Brooks (Ala.), Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), Louie Gohmert (R-Tex), Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) and possibly Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.). Trump apparently considered blanket pardons for lawmakers and staff involved in the insurrection. At one point, Trump, frustrated that DOJ officials weren’t backing up his lies, urged them: “Just say the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the Republican congressmen.”
However, the loonie who directed it all was Trump:
At the center of it all was the crackpot-in-chief, whom Attorney General Bill Barr belatedly realized was “detached from reality.” He manipulated the government to back his election lies in ways that had been unimaginable. Donoghue testified Thursday about how Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows repeatedly insisted that DOJ investigate a YouTube-driven conspiracy theory claiming the CIA and MI6 worked with an Italian satellite company to erase Trump votes. Donoghue called it was “pure insanity,” “patently absurd” and “debunked.” Not satisfied with that answer, Trump’s White House secured the help of Pentagon official Kash Patel and acting defense secretary Christopher Miller, who reached out to an official in Italy to probe the bogus claim.
With so many screwballs running around, it's amazing the whole place didn't blow up. In truth, it almost did.
Image: Rolling Stone