14 most urgent lines from today’s committee’s January 6 session

I watched the whole session and pulled out the 14 most important lines. They are below. (These are in approximate chronological order.)

1. “Trump’s campaign legal team knew there was no legitimate argument… to cancel the election, yet President Trump went ahead with his plan for January 6 anyway.” Representative of the Republican Party in Wyoming. Liz Cheney

Cheney, the commission’s vice chair, set here the goal of not just today’s hearing but the commission’s broader presentation: Trump knew he had lost, was told he had lost on dozens of occasions and not only refused to accept. But he actively pushed conspiracy theories and other false claims he knew were false to move his party base. Proving that this is the crux of the question about whether Trump can or should be referred to by the Justice Department as criminal.

2. “Mr. Trump decided before the election… that he would claim it was rigged.” California Democratic Republic. Zoe Lofgren

This is 100% true. I wrote earlier in March 2019 that “Donald Trump is laying the groundwork for delegitimizing the 2020 election,” noting quotes from the president that say just as much. “When the Republicans were in the majority, they did not act with such hatred and contempt,” Trump said at the time. “The Democrats are trying to win the 2020 election knowing they can’t legitimately win!” Reminder: This was about 18 months before the 2020 election.

3. “The Major was definitely drunk.” Former Trump advisor Jason Miller

So here’s what we learned about Election Night 2020 at the White House from today’s hearing: A) Former New York City Major Rudy Giuliani appeared at the White House wanting to talk to Trump B) Giuliani was, according to Miller, drunk) Giuliani ended up speaking to the President , a conversation in which he said Trump should declare victory – which the president did at the time. Amazing. Amazing.

4. “I don’t know that I have a solid view of what he should say.” – Ivanka Trump

The former president’s eldest daughter was – and still is – defining quite clearly and very carefully how her closeness (or lack thereof) to her father was perceived after the election. She, more than any other witness whose testimony we have seen before the Jan. 6 commission, speaks hesitantly (shortly) as she tries to distance herself from her father’s actions without understanding what she’s doing.

5. “My recommendation was to say that ‘the votes are still being counted.’” It’s too early to tell, too early to call the race but we’re proud of the race we’ve had, and we think we’re in a good place. ” — Former Trump campaign manager Bill Stebbin

Realizing that there were many, many perfectly legal ballots yet to be counted, Stebbin advised the president not to declare victory on election night. Instead, Trump took the advice of allegedly drunk Giuliani

6. “Immediately upon being taken out of the box on election night, the president claimed that there was a massive fraud operation going on. I mean, this happened, as far as I knew, before there was really any prospect of looking at the evidence.” Attorney General Bill Barr

Barr was the star of the second public hearing, making clear that not only did he think the allegations of election fraud were absurd, but he also told Trump of that view in any number of face-to-face conversations. This quote, in particular, is so shocking because it indicates that Trump was alleging fraud even before any large number of votes were counted.

7. “Very, very, very bad.” – Steppin’

This was Stebbin’s analysis of Trump’s chances of winning in the week after the election. He added that he told Trump at the time that the chance of the election campaign winning was only 5-10%.

8. “I didn’t mind being considered part of the regular team.” – Steppin’

Stebbin drew a stark line between the “normal team” – those who campaigned and who, over time, clearly believed Trump had lost – and those on another team populated by the likes of Giuliani and lawyers like Sidney Powell and John Eastman. Which is, well, awesome.

9. “Not the approach I would have taken if I were you.” – Jared Kushner

After much grumbling and sentiment about whether he spoke to the president about his views on Giuliani, and efforts to overturn the election results, Kushner finally admitted he had told the president. Trump apparently ignored him and his advice.

10. “The administration does not take sides in the elections, and the district is not an extension of your legal team.” –

The attorney general told Trump this in a personal meeting on November 23, 2020. Trump, neither in this conversation nor before or after it, appears to understand that the Department of Justice has long been seen as an independent organization within the broader government.

11. “I told him the things his men were shoveling for the public were nonsense.” –

This quote came from a December 1 meeting between Trump and Barr. It came on the heels of an Associated Press story earlier in the day in which Barr said this: “So far, we haven’t seen fraud on a scale that could have had a different outcome in the election.”

12. “There was no indication of interest in what the actual facts were.” –

Barr recounted that before the 2020 election he felt like he could convince Trump of the facts and the facts — even if it took some time and was a bit painful for everyone involved. After the election, Barr said, everything changed — Trump simply wasn’t interested in any view that didn’t support his baseless allegations of election fraud. “After the election, he didn’t seem to listen,” Barr told the Jan. 6 committee.

13. “The 2020 elections weren’t close.” GOP campaign attorney Ben Ginsberg

Ginsburg was closely involved in the 2000 presidential election, which swung by more than 500 votes in Florida. During his testimony on Monday, he noted that no state came so close in 2020 (the lowest margin – at just over 10,000 – was in Arizona).

14. “The Trump campaign has not made its case.” – Ginsburg

This is a statement of truth that often gets lost in the back and forth about legal cases that Trump brought after the 2020 election. Here are the facts: The Trump campaign has filed 62 cases in a variety of courts across the country. They have lost 61 of those cases. And the thing they won had no material impact on the vote. (The goal was to rule out the relative dearth of mail-in ballots because voters had not confirmed their identity by November 9.)

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