Michael Flynn’s brother allegedly lied to Congress about the delay in responding to the insurrection | 10 new Jan. 6 subpoenas
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A former D.C. National Guard officer, Col. Earl Matthews, accused two Army generals of lying under oath to the House Oversight Committee and the Defense Department Inspector General.
Matthews recalls his experience serving under Commanding General of the D.C. National Guard William Walker (now retired) on Jan. 6 in a memo (pdf) sent to the January 6th Select Committee. He disputes the testimony given by Gen. Charles Flynn, who served as deputy chief of staff for operations on Jan. 6, and Lt. Gen. Walter Piatt, the director of Army staff, calling them “absolute and unmitigated liars.”
An analysis of the facts demonstrates that Piatt, Flynn and their confederates repeatedly and deliberately made false statements under oath or false official statements to the [Inspector General] and/or a congressional committee in order to support their contrived narrative, to discredit MG Walker, to absolve Army Senior Leaders of any responsibility in the delays on 6 January, and to burnish the promotion chances of Walter Piatt…
Piatt and Flynn consistently and repeatedly misrepresented, understated, or misled the House Oversight Committee and the [Inspector General] regarding the capability, readiness and motivation of the [D.C. National Guard] to respond on the afternoon of 6 January. They falsely claimed that the [D.C. National Guard] did not have the training and resources to move quickly, to pivot from traffic control to civil disturbance operations. This was untrue. Flynn falsely stated that the Army Staff (which is supposed to be running the global operations of the U.S. Army) had to devote 30 to 40 officers and non-commissioned officers to get 154 ill-prepared DC Guardsmen to Capitol Hill. This assertion constituted the willful deception of Congress. It is not just imprecision, it is lying. Senior Army officers lied about little stuff.
The Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol adopted another contempt resolution last week, this time against former DOJ official Jeffrey Clark.
Clark served as the acting assistant attorney general for the Civil Division of the Justice Department during Trump’s final year in office. In late December 2020, Clark drafted a letter to be sent to Georgia election officials, falsely stating that “the Department of Justice is investigating various irregularities in the 2020 election for President of the United States” and urging the state legislature to “call itself into special session for [t]he limited purpose of considering issues pertaining to the appointment of Presidential Electors.” He proposed similar letters be sent to officials in every swing state.
Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue refused to sign the letter. But that wasn’t the end of Clark’s election interference; Clark met with President Trump to discuss efforts to delegitimize and overturn the election results. Upset with the Justice Department’s rejection of his election fraud claims, Trump intended to fire Rosen and appoint Clark as Attorney General in January. The plan was ultimately abandoned after top DOJ and White House officials threatened to resign.
The Select Committee issued a subpoena for documents and testimony from Clark on October 15, 2021. He appeared for his scheduled deposition on November 5, when he told the Committee refused to answer any questions.
Despite the Select Committee’s attempts to determine the scope or nature of his objections on a question-by-question basis, Mr. Clark and his counsel refused to clarify their positions. When pressed to proceed through the Select Committee’s questions, including topics to which there could be no colorable claim of privilege, Mr. Clark abruptly left the deposition. (pdf)
The evening before the Committee’s contempt meeting, Clark’s attorney sent Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) a letter stating that his client intends to assert his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination. However, in order to do so, Clark will be required to appear in person again (clip:
Thompson: I want to note that around eight o’clock last evening, Mr. Clark’s attorney sent a letter to the committee—another in a long series of long letters—stating that Mr. Clark now intends to assert his Fifth Amendment privilege against incriminating himself in this process. He offers no specific basis for that assertion. He offers no facts that would allow the committee to consider it. Of course, Mr. Clark had the opportunity to assert this privilege and any other in response to questions we intended to ask him at the November 5th deposition. He declined to do so. He walked out.
Thompson: This is, in my view, a last-ditch attempt to delay the Select Committee’s proceedings. However, a Fifth Amendment privilege assertion is a weighty one. Even though Mr. Clark previously had the opportunity to make these claims on the record, the Select Committee will provide him another chance to do so. I have informed Mr. Clark’s attorney that I am willing to convene another deposition at which Mr. Clark can assert that privilege on a question-by-question basis, which is what the law requires of someone who asserts the privilege against self-incrimination.
The Committee unanimously voted to approve of the criminal contempt resolution. Clark’s second deposition is scheduled for December 16.
During the course of this process, we also learned that the Committee has reason to believe that Clark “had conversations with…Members of Congress regarding efforts to delegitimize, disrupt, or overturn the election results in the weeks leading up to January 6th” (page 3 of contempt resolution). This may be a reference to Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, who confirmed that he was responsible for introducing Clark to Trump. However, it could also mean that Clark was in contact with more lawmakers than we are aware of.
The lawyer who wrote a memo outlining how Pence could overturn the 2020 election, John Eastman, told the Select Committee that he will also plead the Fifth in response to a subpoena. In a letter (pdf) written by his own attorney, Eastman explains that he “fears” that his testimony will lead to “criminal prosecution”:
Dr. Eastman has faced suggestions from multiple sources that he should be criminally investigated for his service as an adviser to former President Trump. Members of this very Committee have openly spoken of making criminal referrals to the Department of Justice and described the Committee’s work in terms of determining “guilt or innocence.” Dr. Eastman has a more than reasonable fear that any statements he makes pursuant to this subpoena will be used in an attempt to mount a criminal investigation against him.
The fact that Clark and Eastman invoked the Fifth Amendment does not necessarily preclude the Committee from soliciting information from the pair. As former House Judiciary Committee special counsel Norm Eisen explains, an individual claiming the Fifth must explain the basis for their assertion in response to specific questions. The Committee can also seek to grant either individual immunity, preventing prosecution in return for testimony and documents:
The committee is entitled to probe the validity of Clark’s latest excuse. He may have waived the Fifth by failing to assert it the first time he refused to testify. Although the committee members seem disinclined to press that point, they shouldn’t be too hasty in giving it up. The committee also should explore whether there’s a sufficient basis for Clark to invoke — or whether this is just another manipulation. The timing of this last-minute assertion seems to be evidence of the latter.
Taking the Fifth doesn’t absolve Clark from the requirement to show up and reply to questions. He can invoke his rights against self-incrimination on a carefully considered, question-by-question basis — but it’ll be another sign of bad faith if he simply refuses to talk at all. The Fifth Amendment also doesn’t protect Clark against the committee’s demand that he produce at least some documents.
White House implicated
The chief investigative counsel to the Select Committee slid a potential bombshell into the transcript of Clark’s Nov. 5 deposition when he described what questions he wanted to ask:
I also wanted to ask him about metadata in that draft letter that indicates some involvement with the White House Communications Agency [in] the drafting or preparation of that letter.
While it is only one sentence, it implies that the White House may have played a role in drafting Clark’s letter pressuring Georgia officials to overturn the election. The letter was drafted just days before Trump called Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and told him to “find 11,780 votes” to flip the state from Biden to Trump.
The Rolling Stone obtained text messages documenting “extensive interactions” between Jan. 6 rally organizers and the White House in the lead-up to the insurrection.
Amy and Kylie Kremer, the mother-and-daughter duo behind Women for America First, were subpoenaed by the Select Committee in late September. We don’t know yet if the pair have complied, but nevertheless, group text messages leaked to Rolling Stone provide a glimpse into what the Committee may be seeking.
Amy Kremer informed organizers of a bus tour to the Ellipse that she would be meeting with Trump in early December:
“For those of you that weren’t aware, I have jumped off the tour for the night and am headed to DC. I have a mtg at the WH tomorrow afternoon and then will be back tomorrow night,” wrote Kremer. “Rest well. I’ll make sure the President knows about the tour tomorrow!”
The message describing Kremer’s White House meeting is one of several where she and Kylie, indicated they were in communication with Trump’s team… The texts reviewed by Rolling Stone reveal that on December 13, 2020, Kremer texted the group to say she was “still waiting to hear from the WH on the photo op with the bus.”…
“We are following POTUS’ lead,” Kylie wrote, using an abbreviation for the president. Two days later, on January 3, March For Trump activist Dustin Stockton texted one of the team’s groups to ask who was “handling” rally credentials for VIPs. “It’s a combination of us and WH,” Kylie replied.
Stockton’s fiancee, Jennifer Lawrence, had a similar question when she asked a chat group where media credential requests for the Ellipse rally were going after being submitted on the group’s website. “To campaign,” Kylie responded in an apparent reference to Trump’s re-election team. “They are handling all.”
The public also learned more details this past week about Trump’s involvement in the insurrection.
According to The Guardian, Trump made several calls to the “war room” at the Willard Hotel in the hours before the attack on the Capitol. The former president’s most loyal supporters convened at the Willard, blocks away from the White House, in the weeks after Trump’s election loss. They included lawyers Rudy Giuliani and John Eastman, former police commissioner Bernard Kerik, former White House Communications staffer Boris Epshteyn, and former White House strategist Steve Bannon.
Trump reportedly called the team to complain about Vice President Mike Pence’s refusal to go along with the plan to overturn the election on Jan. 6.
“He’s arrogant,” Trump, for instance, told Bannon of Pence – his own way of communicating that Pence was unlikely to play ball – in an exchange reported in Peril and confirmed by the Guardian.
Trump also called the “war room” group to solicit ways to stop the Jan. 6 certification of the election, trying to buy time for friendly state representatives to send Congress an alternative slate of electors.
The lead Trump lawyer at the Willard, Giuliani, appearing to follow that fallback plan, called at least one Republican senator later that same evening, asking him to help keep Congress adjourned and stall the joint session beyond 6 January.
In a voicemail recorded at about 7pm on 6 January, and reported by the Dispatch, Giuliani implored the Republican senator Tommy Tuberville to object to 10 states Biden won once Congress reconvened at 8pm, a process that would have concluded 15 hours later, close to 7 January.
Before taking a break over Thanksgiving, the Select Committee issued 10 new subpoenas to planners of the Jan. 5th and 6th rallies and to extremists who took part in the insurrection.
Duston Stockton (pdf) and his fiance, Jennifer Lawrence (pdf), assisted the Kremers in organizing a series of rallies after the 2020 election, including the one held at the Ellipse immediately preceding the insurrection. Both were reportedly in contact with Trump and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and tried to warn officials of “possible danger” related to the Jan. 6 march (pdf).
Taylor Budowich (pdf) solicited an unnamed non-profit organization to conduct a social media and radio advertising campaign encouraging attendance at the Jan. 6 rally. The Committee states it “has reason to believe” Budowich transferred $200,000 to the organization, possibly with the help of top Trump fundraiser Caroline Wren.
Roger Stone spoke at rallies in D.C. held by extremist groups on January 5 and was scheduled to appear at the Ellipse rally on the 6th (pdf).
Alex Jones worked with Trump fundraiser Caroline Wren to organize the Ellipse rally on January 6. Jones reportedly facilitated a $300,000 donation to Women for America First from Publix heiress Julie Fancelli. He spoke at the January 5th rally and marched with the crowd on Jan. 6 from Trump’s speech to the Capitol building (pdf).
Members of Proud Boys International (pdf) called for violence leading up to January 6th, and at least 34 individuals affiliated with the Proud Boys have been indicted for their participation in the insurrection.
Henry “Enrique” Tarrio (pdf), then-Chairman of the Proud Boys, took part in a December rally protesting the result of the 2020 election, during which he burned a Black Lives Matter banner stolen from a church. He was arrested on January 4th and barred from entering D.C.
Members of the Oath Keepers (pdf) took part in numerous protests and marches to protest the 2020 election. 18 members were indicted by a federal grand jury for storming the Capitol on Jan. 6. The Oath Keepers were also recorded providing security to Roger Stone before and on the 6th.
Elmer Stewart Rhodes (pdf), President of The Oath Keepers, helped plan and direct the 18 indicted Oath Keepers who stormed the Capitol. Rhodes explicitly encouraged violence in the lead-up to the insurrection.
Robert Patrick Lewis (pdf) is the leader of the 1st Amendment Praetorian, a far-right paramilitary group that provided security at multiple rallies leading up to January 6th.
Former Pence Chief of Staff Marc Short: “One source told CNN the committee is getting “significant cooperation with Team Pence,” even if the committee has not openly discussed that.”
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger: Interviewed for more than four hours last week, including about Trump’s January phone call.
Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and former Michigan director of elections Chris Thomas: Benson was interviewed virtually last week and Benson was interviewed last month.