This is getting to a level of high comedy. Jim Jordan is quiet for once and Mark Meadows is silent as the grave. The reason: They are both totally in over their heads and they know it. They don’t know which way to turn or what to do. If and when they testify before the January 6 Committee they risk perjuring themselves and the idea of telling the truth is political sepukku for sure. They’re both cowards, so suicide is not their style. Running and hiding is their style and there’s no place to do that now.

And then along comes Michael Cohen to stroll down memory lane and dredge up a humiliating episode from his own congressional testimony. They were such fat cats then and they are scared and shivering ones now.

That part starts at 2:50, if you don’t want to listen to the introductory material.

If you missed this Arizona congressman calling Jim Jordan a traitor, this is something.

And Mark Meadows is in even worse circumstances, if you can believe that. Meadows is in farrrr deeper than Jordan. There is no way that he can claim he was an innocent bystander. He can forget all about that, if he ever was delusional enough to hold that view, and most probably he was. From what has already come out, Meadows was the clearinghouse for the entire January 6 operation. Everybody was contacting him. Slate:

The more we learn about what Donald Trump and his aides heard and did on Jan. 6, the more clearly we understand his corrupt intent. The latest revelations come from newly disclosed text messages sent to Mark Meadows, Trump’s then-chief of staff, that afternoon. The messages show that Trump’s family, his media allies, and people inside the U.S. Capitol begged him to call off the attack but were ignored for most of the day. And they confirm that Meadows, who has refused to testify in the Jan. 6 investigation and now faces possible indictment for contempt of Congress, was at the center of what unfolded that day.

But the messages also clarify a standoff that took place in the middle of the afternoon. Shortly after 2:30, Trump sent out a tweet urging his followers to “stay peaceful.” That tweet has been cited as proof that he tried to end the crisis. But the texts, combined with other evidence, show that trusted figures in Trump’s orbit were asking him to do more. They wanted him to tell the rioters to leave the Capitol and go home. On the surface, this looks like a small difference. But Trump refused to do it. Why?

The simplest answer is that, as his prior behavior demonstrated, he saw the mob as leverage in a last-ditch effort to overturn the election. He had summoned his followers to Washington to pressure Congress to halt the certification of the election, and the pressure had succeeded. If he were to disperse the mob—not just ask it to curtail its violence—he would lose his leverage. So, for nearly two hours, he held out. That’s what the texts are showing us: that the president was being asked to make a specific concession, and that he refused to do so.

To understand where the text messages fit in, it’s helpful to divide the afternoon of Jan. 6 into segments. The first segment began shortly after 1:10 p.m., when Trump finished speaking to the crowd he had summoned to march on the Capitol. He got back to the White House by 1:20 and, according to aides, immediately began to watch TV coverage of the unfolding drama. Congress was meeting to certify Joe Biden’s election, while outside the Capitol, a Trumpist mob had gathered. Starting around 1:30, the mob crashed through barriers, pummeled police, and broke into the building. Cable channels followed the action. Trump “was busy enjoying the spectacle,” the Washington Post reported, based on interviews with the president’s aides. He “watched with interest, buoyed to see that his supporters were fighting so hard on his behalf.”

At 2:12, the crisis escalated. As the first group of assailants approached the Senate chamber, the Secret Service whisked away Vice President Pence—who had been presiding over the certification—and the Senate shut down. At 2:18, the House recessed, too. Trump, as he watched this on TV, was “pleased, not disturbed, that his supporters had disrupted the election count,” according to advisers who spoke to reporters.

This is where things truly went south and where the January 6 Committee will want to focus in detail when it talks to Meadows.

Advisers kept trying to extract this last concession from Trump. One aide, Jason Miller, drafted tweets in which the president would urge his people to “leave the Capitol” and “head home.” Trump never sent those tweets. For nearly half an hour, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, tried to get hold of Trump to issue a plea—which Christie, in exasperation, delivered on ABC at 4:00—that Trump should “tell his supporters to leave the Capitol grounds.” The text messages to Meadows show that Trump’s allies were also imploring him to go beyond tweets and speak to the mob by video. “We need an Oval address,” Trump Jr. told Meadows. Fox host Brian Kilmeade urged the chief of staff: “Please get him on TV.”

At 4:05, Biden forced Trump’s hand. In a press conference, the president-elect urged the mob to “pull back,” and he called on Trump “to go on national television … and demand an end to this siege.” About 10 minutes later, Trump partially complied. He finally asked his followers to “go home,” but he also refueled their rage, repeating his lie that the election “was stolen from us.” Two hours later, as the conflict was winding down, he defended the insurrection as a logical response to enemies who had “viciously stripped away” his “sacred landslide election victory.”

This level of detail and much more is what the January 6 Committee wants Meadows to confirm. Meadows knows this and he’s squirming just thinking about it.

It is pure poetry that one of Trump’s former henchmen, namely Michael Cohen, would be telling Jordan and Meadows what’s in store for them and also telling them, in essence, he who laughs last laughs best.

And I will repeat once again a previous observation: Mark Meadows is not going to go to prison for Donald Trump. I honestly believe that you can take that one to the bank. And that means that things are going to get very interesting indeed.


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