We’ll know in 10 days. On December 21st, the House J6 Committee is holding one last public hearing in order to unveil their findings, and tie it all together into one neat ball of wax. And as a part of that presentation, they’ll announce what criminal referrals, if any they have decided to forward to the DOJ for investigation and possible criminal prosecution.

While the committee is teasing to build the suspense, for me it’s inevitable. The J6 Committee must send formal criminal referrals to the DOJ, and one of them must be Donald John Trump. Because not doing so risks painting the committee as an 18 month boondoggle. Which is blatantly unfair, and even deceptive, but this is politics.

From day one, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats did everything possible to temper expectations. With the announcement of the Permanent Select Committee on January 6th, Pelosi and Chairman Bennie Thompson made it clear to anybody who would listen that this was not a criminal investigation. It was deep dive into the Capitol riot, and the events leading up to it, with an eye for educating the public, and recommending legislative and regulatory fixes to prevent it from occurring again.

That was the last thing that Traitor Tot, McConnell and Kreepy Kevin McCarthy wanted. After all, the basic facts were already crustal clear to anybody who had turned on a television that day. The Trumpster Fire summoned a crazed, armed mob of faithful Trombies, jazzed them up on the Trump political rhetorical version of PCP, and then turned them loose on the Capitol Police, and the Capitol itself. This wouldn’t just sink Hair Twitler, it would sink the slavish GOP with him. There was only one thing to do.

Turn His Lowness into a political victim. From day one, both Trump and the GOP writ large branded the committee a political witch hunt meant solely to get Trump, so he couldn’t bedevil the Democrats anymore. Let’s be clear, Trump, McCarthy and McConnell could give a shit less if the mainstream population believes them, the object was to make The Mango Messiah a martyr to his base.

McCarthy did his part. He had the chance to appoint 4 sane members to the committee, but he punted by appointing 2 partisan bomb throwers, and when Pelosi rejected them, he pulled everybody from the field, claiming that the whole thing was a biased partisan political witch hunt against Trump, with no legitimate GO representation. When Pelosi named Cheney and Kinzinger to the committee, the GOP labeled them as RINO sorehead turncoats. The hypocrisy remained intact.

Which brings us to today. And unfortunately, the J6 committee may have hoist itself on its own petard. Because while the committee ballyhooed that it was a fact finding investigation, and not a criminal investigation, they just couldn’t resist dropping 10 gallon hints at possible criminal referrals in that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. And as thorough and brilliantly informative and devastating as the hearing have been, they were still slickly produced and choreographed televised events. And people will spend 2 hours watching a Die Hard movie, just so long as Bruce Willis Gets the bad guys at the end!

That’s the conundrum here. Pure and simple, there is no clean, media easy way out for the committee here. If they use their hearing on December 21st to remind everybody that this was at its heart an investigative committee, and decline to make criminal referrals while making legislative recommendations and declines to make criminal referrals, the GOP will immediately claim victory! The committee spent 18 months, and couldn’t even find evidence to refer Trump or anybody else for criminal prosecution.

But if the J6 Committee comes out on the 21st and makes criminal referrals for Trombie miscreants, like Eastman, Meadows, Clark, Stone, and Giuliani, as well as Trump himself, the GOP will immediately switch back to the tired old Partisan witch hunt! But you know what? Tough titty city kitty, cuz the milk tastes shitty!

Here’s the cardinal rule of politics. If you’re in politics? Then Play. Fucking. Politics. And play to win! It doesn’t matter if the committee brings out whips and thumb screws, they’re never going to convince the Trumbie base that Trump is anything short of the second coming if Christ. But the vast majority of Americans who tuned into the hearings have found them compelling. And that’s why the last poll I saw showed that 64% of Americans felt that The Mango Messiah was either solely, or largely responsible for the J6 insurrection. And those are the people you’re trying to reach!

Chairman Thompson, I beg you, in the name of all that’s holy, Drop. The. Hammer. And the more the merrier. If you can hammer scumbags like Michael Flynn, Alex Jones, and Steve Bannon, let your freak flag fly. Because the more criminal referrals you make, the more thorough the mainstream of America will think your investigation was in the first place. You turned over every rock, and caught the critters by the tails.

Because here’s the McGuffin . It’s all political theater! because whether the J6 Committee issues 1 criminal referral or 50 criminal referrals, all they are is official congressional memos to the DOJ that We think these shitheels are guilty, so rack ’em up! But it’s the DOJ investigators and lawyers who will take the referrals under consideration, and decide whether or not to bring charges.

Which is fine. Because the damage is already done in the public eye. The J6 Committee did it’s investigation, found proof of wrongdoing, and sent the evidence over to the DOJ for processing. What they do with it is no skin off of the J6 Committee’s nose. The committee did its job, it fund criminal liability, and it referred it to the DOJ for prosecution. It’s the DOJ’s problem now. But in the public perception is that the J6 Committee was wildly successful.

If I have one regret in this process, it’s this. The DOJ has clearly been running a parallel investigation into the criminality of the J6 insurrection to the committee’s. and recent reporting has shown that it much further advanced than most people realize. I completely understand the committee’s feeling of proprietary ownership over their work product, and wanting the glory of releasing it themselves. But the DOJ and the FNI run their investigations on the QT. If the committee had been a bit more forthcoming with information on some of the ancillary figures on J6, then the DOJ investigations may be further along on those investigations than the DOJ having to wait until January 21st to get all the information. What the hell. Politics is politics.

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  1. They can make criminal referrals but it won’t matter. Unless I’m mistaken the full Congress (House) would have to approve a formal referral and that ain’t happening because there won’t be a chance to bring it to the floor. Come January 3 the J6 Committee will be disbanded and even with a food fight over who will be Speaker with the GOP in control of the new House the votes won’t be there.

    So, in a variation on the “non-apology apology” we’ll get a “non-referral referral(s)” The Committee can announce that IF they were able to continue their work after the first of the year because Democrats still controlled the House they be sending formal recommendations to the floor for a vote on criminal referrals. However, they can also state (how forcefully is what to watch for) they have evidence supporting criminal prosecution that has been/will be (immediately) turned over to the DOJ to aid them in making criminal cases!

    • Whether the referral is formal or not does not really matter. What is most important is the transfer of the evidence over the to prosecuting agency. I used to draft civil and criminal referrals to the Attorney Generals Office of a State as an enforcement officer for that State. Many referrals took months of research and investigation accompanied by the who what when where and how each violation occurred; the numbers of days of each violation, the penalty sought, a list of the names of witnesses; copies of documentation of supporting evidence, and all the pros and cons. Many times the Attorney General’s Office chose not to pursuing filing a Complaint because of “the who” (politics); because of the likelihood of litigation (extremely resource intensive); or because the calculated statutory maximum penalty would not have enough of a deterrent effect; or because negative press against the government agency. Obviously, the J6 matter is about as serious as it gets – sedition & treason involving so many perps. I applaud the DOJ for taking its time, considering the consequences of each step in its investigation, peeling away layer after layer and going up the chain. I also applaud the J6 committees depth of investigation and the way it handled everything with tact and professionalism. This is one case the entire United States of America cannot afford to screw up, possibly the most important consequential criminal matter in our nearly 247 year history as a nation.

      • I understand there has been tension at times between DOJ and the J6 Committee over that transfer of evidence. The latter appeared for a long time to believe the DOJ was working too slowly and didn’t want to compromise their own investigation. It’s only relatively recently that the Committee has realized the DOJ was much more on the ball than anyone realized. And/or that while Garland is a cautious person by nature and loathe to have politics appear to be part of DOJ decision making he’s willing to “go there” – perhaps it’s finally sunk in to him that conservatives are going to tar and feather him no matter what he does so he might as well turn his people loose. It does matter however that DOJ has ALL the available information/evidence in hand when it comes to so many of the prosecutions we hope to see. And the J6 Committee has made it clear they will give the DOJ everything they have. Stuff might wind up being withheld from what they release to the public in fact precisely so the DOJ has a head start on getting people in front of a grand jury! I for one think it’s gonna be a helluva ride next year because once they’ve got everything the Committee has the DOJ can add it to what they’ve developed on their own (and again, by most accounts it’s a lot more than most people knew) it will be off to the (prosecutorial) races.


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