Tuesday, February 2, 2021

From Roger Fitch and our friends down under at Justinian...

 It seemed to some a redneck revival, a white trash liberation movement with a Confederate battle flag as standard and MAGA hats as the uniting and distinguishing symbol: people that the US class system used to sort-out. 

No longer. Racist thugs, fake patriots and the religiously-deluded now get a pass. 

The insurrectionary rabble comprised more than ignorant buffoons and the usual hate-group suspects. It provided cover for real villains: rogue police, Army reservists, and serving and retired soldiers (including with sniper training). About 20% of those charged had military training.

The attacking mob also contained a lawless lawyer, a disturbed doctor and intruders who knew the capitol layout, e.g, the woman who stole Nancy Pelosi's laptop with a view to selling it to the Russians. 

Indeed, there's evidence that "foreign actors" may have helped fund the rally-riot, in addition to shell companies and dark money connected to, well, Donald Trump. Was it all an autogolpe?

Incredibly, the rally that set-off the Capitol assault was promoted by the Republican Attorneys General Association, proof of the bad lawyering in Republican circles. 

The insurgents may have had inside help (more here), e.g, from Congresswoman Lauren Boebert of Colorado; there was suspicious reconnaissance inside the Capitol on the day before the attack. Boebert is one of congress's two QAnon supporters (the other: barking-mad Georgian Marjorie Taylor Greene).

Even saner members of congress are in legal peril, if they conspired with the Capitol attackers: some congressional ties to extremists are under scrutiny.

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"People who say Trump has no empathy are wrong. He has the utmost empathy for degenerate, corrupt, disgraced politicians who perhaps remind him of himself" - Preet Bharara, former Manhattan US Attorney.

Trump's last days offered his venal band a final feeding opportunity, and enterprising mates like Rudolph Giuliani offered themselves as brokers in the business of pardon-trafficking.

On the morning of January 20th, the outgoing president issued 143 pardons and commutations, many as sleazy as expected (more here), including crooked Republican politicians and the odd bent Democrat, e.g, the former mayor of Detroit, Kwame Kilpatrick; Trump had previously commuted the sentence of Rod Blagojevich, the Democrat governor of Illinois serving time for trying to sell Barack Obama's senate seat.

Prosecutors were outraged: pardons included commutation of sentences and foregone restitution in Medicare rort convictions that took years to obtain.

Can pardons be undone? Sometimes. President Biden might have tried to recall pardons not yet accepted, from January 20th. In any case, given Trump's incompetence, some of his pardons may turn out to be ineffective.  

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