I cannot get enough of this stuff. For a Select Committee that held only one public televised hearing, I cannot ever remember another committee that has done so many interviews and depositions in private, and yet keep finding so many creative ways to get important information out to the public. And in a way that crucifies Trump and his cronies.
Today the committee announced subpoenas for four high placed Trump insiders, Rudy Ghouliani, Jenna Ellis, Sydney Kraken Lady Powell, and Boris Epshteyn. Since all 4 of them are, at least for the moment, lawyers, save The Ghoul Man, who has been disbarred, expect them to maker outraged moo-moo noises about attorney-client privilege. Which is rather shaky since most of their work was done on camera, and not advising a client on a legal matter. But it served its purpose.
And the purpose is to drive Trump and what’s left of his coterie insane, and in doing so, force them into fucking up. Trump will now have no choice but to claim executive privilege, attorney-client privilege, and even Dealers Choice in shitting up his minions and slowing things down. But he’s already fucked up under the pressure, at least once.
It turns out that former Ghouliani crony Bernard Kerik, in response to a committee summons, gave the committee a document dump and a deposition. He did this after His Lowness signed a waiver of privilege for the summons. This is a fuck up of the first order! Trump doesn’t know shit about Kerik, other than he’s bent. Kerik dealt with Giuliani, not Trump. Trump has no idea of what Kerik knows. But once Trump signed that waiver, all bets were off, and Kerik could no longer claim privilege for any question. And who knows what he said? I’m guessing more than was good for Trump.
But there are two other ways in which the committee is turning Trump’s defense into sushi, with no possible response possible from the Trump camp to defend themselves.The first is in Trump cronies refusing to appear for their depositions. Normally, this would be a dud for the committee. But since the committee is meeting anyway, they are gaveling in, and the lead counsel reads into the record all of the questions what he would have asked the person if they had shown up. And then they make the transcript public. Which means that the media dogs of war immediately pounce on the transcript, and broadcast all of those juicy, incriminating questions, for which no answers are forthcoming. This builds suspense for the televised hearings.
But just as important is the committees brilliant use of subpoenas. Usually, subpoenas are rather dry affairs. A date of appearance, a request for specific documents, and a brief synopsis of possible issues to be discussed. But the committee is going well beyond that, making specific references to specific events and discussions, almost like one of their transcripts.
Which is devastating to Trump’s defense. Here’s an example. In the subpoena to Epshteyn, Thompson specifically referred to a phone call between Trump on the morning of 1/6, in which they discussed strategies and options to delay or subvert the electoral count, since Pence would not play ball. There is no way on God’s green earth that Epshteyn can sit down and answer questions about that call.
But while Traitort Tot may be comfortably clueless about the danger he’s in, his lawyers have to be terrified. Look at what I wrote above. Thompson didn’t propose to talk about a call on the morning of 1/6 between Trump and Epstein. But that isn’t what it says. The subpoena gives almost a blow-by-blow description of the exact contents of that call! They don’t actually need to talk to Epstein, they already know all about it, and Thompson made that clear in the subpoena. Who the hell did they talk to, and what the hell else do they know?!? And how secure does Epstein feel tonight, knowing the committee has his call to Trump almost verbatim?
This is why I can’t wait for the televised, hopefully prime time hearings. If you want just an inkling of what the committee already knows, read the transcripts of the no show witness questions, and then peruse the subpoenas. Now think about how much else that they know that they didn’t disclose because they had no need to. These hearings, when they happen, are going to make the Watergate hearings look like an episode of Night Court. Don’t touch that dial.