If We Were Trump, We’d Be Sh*tting Our Big Ugly Golf Pants Over Jack Smith’s Investigation Right About Now

Donald Trump is in Ireland doing lazy ass shit probably, don’t know, don’t care, but he’s been real unhappy with how things have been going with E. Jean Carroll’s civil rape trial against him back in New York. So he got all cranky with reporters on his golf course over there yesterday and started blabbering for four solid minutes about how “I’m going to go back [to New York] and I’m going to confront this woman. This woman is a disgrace.” You betcha. He said he’s cutting his trip short. He doesn’t want to. He has to.

So pissy:

Trump said he was the victim of “false accusations against a rich guy. Or in my case against a famous, rich and political person that’s leading the polls by 40 points.”

Okeydoke, false accusations against a rich guy, or in his case a famous rich political person that’s leading the polls by 40 points. Uh huh. Cool.

After striking his shot, Trump claimed it had travelled about 280 yards. “Biden can’t hit it 80 down the middle,” he said.

OK. Is Trump actually coming to America to appear at the trial?

“No,” [Trump lawyer Joe] Tacopina responded when asked if Trump would appear in person.


(Yesterday, the judge took the basically unprecedented step of giving Tacopina and Trump a little time to MAKE EXTRA CERTAIN they’re on the same page regarding whether Trump will testify. Mind you, Carroll’s lawyers have rested and Trump’s lawyers were just about to. So when he bitches about how UNFAIR BIASSSS this judge is against him, keep that in mind.)

But maybe Trump’s gonna have to make some empty threats to come confront Special Counsel Jack Smith, because the New York Times broke a bunch of news about all Smith’s criminal investigations into Trump and his pals last night.

Maggie Haberman and about 8,000 other reporters are bylined, so you know it’s full of words and news.

First thing!

In the classified docs investigation into why Trump stole state secrets and hid them under Eric’s spare floaties next to the pool at Mar-a-Lago, and why he obstructed efforts by the feds to get them back, Haberman and Co. report that they have a new confidential cooperating witness, somebody who has “worked for him at Mar-a-Lago,” which seems like interesting phrasing from the reporters. Just last month we were learning that there’s a major focus on whether Trump personally touched documents himself in an effort to pull things back and hide them after the feds demanded them in May 2022.

We’ve talked about Walt Nauta, Trump’s very loyal valet, who has done some testifying on this subject. Well, regarding Walt, who was apparently a real pain in the ass with investigators:

[P]rosecutors appear to be trying to fill in some gaps in their knowledge about the movement of the boxes, created in part by their handling of another potentially key witness, Mr. Trump’s valet, Walt Nauta. Prosecutors believe Mr. Nauta has failed to provide them with a full and accurate account of his role in any movement of boxes containing the classified documents.

What? A Trump loyalist being less than forthcoming, allegedly? We might need a minute to process.

Second thing!

Buncha new people being subpoenaed in that investigation. “At least four more Mar-a-Lago employees,” says the Times, using different phrasing from how they talked about the secret cooperating witness. According to their sources, that brings the count of Mar-a-Lago employees subpoenaed to pretty much ALL OF THEM KATIE. Also, a subpoena for “another person who had visibility into Mr. Trump’s thinking when he first returned material to the National Archives.” And some subpoenas for the Trump Organization for more surveillance tape. And Matthew Calamari, his head of security at the company, and Calamari’s son Little Matthew Calamari, who also does security stuff there.

So many subpoenas!


But hoping to understand why some of the footage from the storage camera appears to be missing or unavailable — and whether that was a technological issue or something else — the prosecutors subpoenaed the software company that handles all of the surveillance footage for the Trump Organization, including at Mar-a-Lago.

Oh dang. Funny how in these days of Internet Dot Com nothing really is ever all the way deleted. We imagine sometimes Boomers get to learn that the hard way. Womp womp.

Third thing!

Still talking about new subpoenas, but UH OH SKETTI OH, pretty sure this is a whole new wang to this investigation that we didn’t know about before:

One of the previously unreported subpoenas to the Trump Organization sought records pertaining to Mr. Trump’s dealings with a Saudi-backed professional golf venture known as LIV Golf, which is holding tournaments at some of Mr. Trump’s golf resorts.

It is unclear what bearing Mr. Trump’s relationship with LIV Golf has on the broader investigation, but it suggests that the prosecutors are examining certain elements of Mr. Trump’s family business.

Oh shit! It’s the Saudi stuff! Oh shit!

Well, since we have no idea how exactly that pertains to the investigation, we’ll just have to wait and see.

But oh shit!

Maybe Trump is just one of those guys where you’re investigating one set of crimes and then you don’t even mean to but you find some other crimes and it’s like huh what’s that?

Shut up, there’s no “maybe” about it, that’s exactly how it is.

Anyway, Haberman and pals have more good backgrounder, if you need to refresh, so read it all.

Also remember that Jack Smith is also investigating Trump’s role in January 6 and his months-long campaign to overturn the election he lost and overthrow the government.

Oh shit!

Have a fun day and week and month and rest of life, Donald Trump! Things are just really looking up for you.

[Politico / New York Daily News / New York Times]

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Lordy, Abby Grossberg Has Tapes!

The other evening, former Fox News producer Abby Grossberg, whose lawsuit may be a contributing factor for why Tucker Carlson was so unceremoniously fired Monday morning, started making the media rounds with her lawyer. (She thinks her lawsuit is probably a factor.) She appeared on MSNBC with Nicolle Wallace, and her lawyer showed up afterward on the same network’s Ari Melber show.

News, as they say, was made.

She talked about about how Tucker had made her life a “living hell,” and what a disgusting and misogynist place Tucker’s show was to work. (That’s all in her lawsuit.) She talked about how much Tucker liked to say the C-word, about women in general who made him mad, and especially about Sidney Powell, and how Fox News’s lawyers coached her to tell common lies about whether that bothered her. Indeed, she told Wallace that after she gave her original deposition in the Dominion lawsuit, the show threw a special lunch called “Abby Day” because they were so proud of her answers.

And she talked about how bizarrely and preternaturally obsessed Tucker was with making up and spreading conspiracy theories that the terrorist attack of January 6 was some kind of false flag perpetuated by the FBI. Even though lawyers for people on trial for invading the Capitol that day were begging him to stop.

That’s all at the end of this clip, which is quite a highlight reel of the full interview:

According to Grossberg, the now-former Fox News star was “very set on finding an FBI person who was implanted in the crowd” so he could prove the insurrection was a false flag by the government.

“[He was] spinning this conspiracy that they were ultimately the ones responsible for the Capitol attack, not Fox News as they’re about to go into the Dominion trial,” she said. “It was really the FBI that set up this thing, not Fox telling the American people that the election was rigged and the voting machines did it.” Grossberg claimed that even an attorney representing some of the Capitol rioters implored her to push Carlson away from the unhinged theory, but it was to no avail because “everyone was a believer” on the show.

“I went back to them and said, look, there’s no conspiracy theory here. I called the attorney who is representing one of the Proud Boys. He told me on two occasions, ‘There’s no conspiracy, get away from this stuff, this is dangerous. Tell Tucker to stop. I will come on your show, but I’ll absolutely walk off if he asks me this.’ And the result was, find somebody else, Tucker is really intent on this.”

It was bizarre how Tucker latched so quickly on to the idea that the January 6 terrorists were all innocents, and that an attack on them was an attack on all his viewers. And he knew exactly what the assignment was when Kevin McCarthy gave him all those tapes.

Oh well, thank goodness he can’t spew that nonsense to such a big audience night after night anymore.

Maybe he can get some cats and tell January 6 Was A Planned Demolition conspiracy theories to them in his Maine “Hee Haw” studio.

And Lordy, Her Tapes!

Grossberg really did record a lot.

She says she’s got 90 tapes, that she knows of, so far, so it’s definitely not just that Rudy Giuliani tape that came out just before the Dominion trial, where he admitted out loud to Maria Bartiromo that he didn’t have shit evidence for all his voter fraud lies.

In the clip below she explains that Fox News failed to turn over a whole lot of things she provided to them during discovery for the Dominion case, and doesn’t know whether it was intentional or reckless that they failed to turn them over to Dominion. Oh well, she found ’em now! She says she’s also gotten a subpoena in the Smartmatic case.

The next hour on Ari Melber’s show, where Grossberg’s lawyer was a guest, he played a big important tape of Ted Cruz on the phone with Maria Bartiromo on January 2, talking about denying certification of the election on January 6, then standing up a fake commission afterward to investigate all the fake frauds, then use that to overturn the result:


From the Washington Post:

If the commission found “credible evidence of fraud that undermines confidence in the electoral results in any given state,” then the state would then call a special session and recertify results, according to Cruz.

“Is there any chance you can overturn this?” Bartiromo asked Cruz.

“I hope so,” he responded.

“Who gets inaugurated?” asked Bartiromo. Ted Cruz said hopefully the commission could figure all that out.

Watch that whole Melber report above to see how much Cruz was plotting. He was working hard to overthrow the government y’all!

Cruz is angrily sending out missives acting like this is all some “gotcha!” by MSNBC and insisting these were things he was saying in public at the time too. And yes, it is true that those plotting the coup were largely doing it in all our faces, because that’s what kind of craven, unpatriotic shitheels they are.

But it’s just another piece of the puzzle, and Abby Grossberg’s lawyer Gerry Flippatos has told Melber and other news media that he’s been in touch with Special Counsel Jack Smith, who is investigating the many-pronged plan to overthrow the government and steal the presidency from its rightful winner Joe Biden.

Have they given Smith all of Grossberg’s Lordy She Has Tapes, which include the ones we’ve mentioned, plus conversations between Maria Bartiromo and Sidney Powell and other Trump campaign people? Flippatos says they’ve talked to “numerous law enforcement agencies” about the tapes, and provided info about how they’ll deliver them:

“We have voluntarily surrendered to the relevant law enforcement agencies details regarding the approximately 90 Otter tapes in Miss Grossberg’s possession and have engaged in discussions with these law enforcement agencies to receive targeted subpoenas regarding any such tapes that may be of interest to them,” he said. Otter is an app that transcribes audio recordings and is popular with reporters and producers.

In summary and in conclusion, she recorded everything and they are ready and willing to help.

Have fun with your upcoming life adventures, everyone on Abby Grossberg’s recordings!

[Daily Beast / Washington Post / CBS News]

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There’s A Pube On Clarence Thomas’s Integrity (Again)

Conscientious Americans who pay attention to the news know Clarence Thomas is probably the most corrupt and unethical piece of ass lint who ever sat on a Supreme Court throne and stank it up with his linty assfarts. And his wife? Fuuuuuuuuck that crazy batshit nutcase who’s on every “OK Boomer” right-wing chain email thread in high-powered Republican Washington.

Did she help behind the scenes in Donald Trump’s January 6 Insurrection Attack, and did she bring a crock pot full of Ro-Tel to any planning parties? And how much whispering does she do with her husband when the issues she’s doing activism on are ALSO in front of him on the entirely illegitimate partisan hack Supreme Court?

But sure, let’s pretend Clarence Thomas and Ginni Thomas don’t have any ethical issues. They just are a high-powered married Republican couple who happen to both be literal actual fucking monsters. And don’t you dare say Ginni Thomas’s power may be somewhat derived from the fact that her husband is Clarence Thomas, STOP IT YOU SEXIST.


But anyway, about that ProPublica piece about Clarence Thomas letting a Republican billionaire megadonor take him on mega-luxury yachting suck ‘n’ fucks around the globe for the past 20 years, without reporting any of these mega-trips as “gifts.” Hoo boy! (Obviously we use the term “yachting suck ‘n’ fucks” in its more proverbial sense. We don’t know if anybody literally sucked and fucked on any of those trips, one of which would have cost the justice over $500,000 had he paid for it himself.)

The billionaire megadonor’s name is Harlan Crow, and he is a real estate mogul dude from Texas. Clarence Thomas gets to take rides on Harlan’s 162-foot superyacht. (Does Clarence Thomas ever say “Harlan, there’s a pube on your super-yacht?” Don’t know, ProPublica apparently doesn’t even know which journalism questions to ask.) Clarence Thomas goes flying on Harlan’s private Bombardier Global 5000 jet. (“Harlan, there’s a pube on your Bombardier Global 5000 jet!” Has Thomas ever exclaimed that? Probably won’t ever know.)

Yachting around Indonesia for nine days in 2019. A river trip in Savannah, Georgia. Another cruise in New Zealand around 10 years ago. And more!

There are so many pictures:

ProPublica says Clarence goes all kinds of other fun places with Harlan, like the “all-male retreat” of Bohemian Grove in California. Also all Harlan’s houses and resorts.

And Clarence doesn’t report any of this as “gift.” He used to report this as “gift.” But then the LA Times wrote about it and he all of a sudden stopped reporting it as “gift”!

Look, it is a paint-by-numbers portrait of Clarence Thomas sitting with all his friends at Harlan’s place in the Adirondacks. Just Clarence, Harlan, Leonard Leo, the POS who runs the Federalist Society. (You know, where the 30-year-old white fascist partisan hack judges come from!)

“There’s a pube on our integrity!” That would be a good name for that painting. Also, just emphasizing that that is literally a painting that exists.

The ProPublica Twitter thread we’re using as the CliffsNotes for this — you know damn well ProPublica’s articles are 100,000 words long before you even get out of the prologue — notes that Clarence ‘n’ Harlan really are buddies, genuine-style, but these trips put him in contact with the biggest of the Republican bigwigs from corporations and think tanks. (See above.) Far be it from us to suggest that any of those men tell Clarence what to do, because again, we’re willing to allow for the possibility that he too is just an evil monster just like them. We’re not going to say they don’t do that, though.

It sounds like a nice private resort, the one that Harlan has and Clarence gets to go to without reporting it.

We’re just going to give you a moment to reflect on the man who Clarence Thomas is, sitting at a “1950’s-style soda fountain” with all his white fascist friends. Just let that mental image linger for a minute.


Here is a clip a lot of people are loving right now because it’s such a hilarious illustration of how hard Clarence Thomas should go fuck himself. It’s Thomas in a recent documentary talking about how he doesn’t even like traveling abroad, such a simple man is he. He is a salt-of-the-earth guy. He is a rural America guy. He is a guy who likes parking the RV in the Walmart parking lot. (If you are not initiated in RV culture, the Walmart parking lot is a thing with them. Walmart encourages them to just to come on in and park when they need to, and RV people all know this. The editrix of this site and her husband and their kids have done it many times and thought “boy what a smart thing to do Walmart,” not even being shitty and ironic. Like we said, it is a thing.)

Who NEEDS free trips on gabillion dollar yachts with Republican bigwigs who definitely have a stake in how Clarence Thomas votes? Not Clarence Thomas! “I prefer the RV parks. I prefer the Walmart parking lots to the beaches and things like that.”

We bet.

But he sure doesn’t seem to hate those sexy yachtfucker trips. And for some reason, again, he feels a need to hide them. ProPublica had to learn about all this shit from yacht employees and a scuba diving instructor.

Of course, hiding these free trips is against the fucking law.

Harlan Crow of course swears to Jesus that he ain’t never tried to make poor Clarence do nothin’ improper. He just loves sharing his yacht and plane with Clarence ‘n’ Ginni. Clarence Thomas didn’t deem these revelations to be worthy of a response. But ProPublica got comments from former federal judges like “It’s incomprehensible that someone would do this.”

Anyway, if you read the whole story, there are tons more little details that will make your jaw drop. Like this one, a picture of Clarence Thomas swearing in Trump-appointed Fifth Circuit Judge James Ho in Harlan’s library, and it looks like maybe Harlan flew Clarence there, and Ted Cruz tweeted this out, and good God this is all so incestuous:

Read the entire ProPublica piece when you have time, like maybe when you are summering on YOUR yacht and you’re waiting for your new butler to bring you your mid-afternoon fruity drink. (You threw your old butler overboard for failing to cut your lime the way you like. It happens, AMIRITE, JUSTICE THOMAS?)

(We don’t mean to imply that Clarence Thomas threw a specific butler overboard into the ocean for failing to cut a lime the way he likes. We are just talking shit.)

Now, in a sane and functional country, Clarence Thomas would be packing up his office and getting the fuck out right now, to save himself the humiliation of being impeached and forcibly removed from the Supreme Court. (Haha, in a sane and functional country, an unqualified right-wing hack like Clarence Thomas would never have been confirmed.)

And Senate Democrats do say they’re gonna do something.

Unfortunately, that’s as far as it’s likely to go, because an unprincipled power-hungry Republican slut named Kevin McCarthy runs the House of Representatives right now. But it’s not just that. Click on this thread and read the whole thing to see why:

“One Democratic House member” told Democratic strategist Max Burns that “Public trust in SC is already bad. A big circus would destroy it completely.”

Fuck OFF.

The Court is fully 1,000 percent illegitimate right now, a fascist activist partisan hack organ that only exists to impose the will of a rapidly dying minority of white supremacist Boomers on the rest of us who will have to live in this country once they’re all rotting corpses. Donald Trump and his loyal Republican string-pullers made sure of that. The only place the Supreme Court’s integrity can go is up.

If the Court is ever to be legitimate again, Thomas should either resign or be pushed out, and Joe Biden should get to select his replacement. And since Trump was an illegitimate president who likely wouldn’t have “won” the 2016 election had it not been for his own crimes, the crimes of Russia and whatever was happening at the FBI at the time, and who then incited a terrorist attack as part of his plan to overthrow the government and overturn the 2020 election, his justices should be told gently but firmly to GTFO.

Then pack the Court with only the most brilliant legal minds in America who also happen to be drag queens, trans folks, racial minorities and people who started drinking Bud Light this week.

It is the only way.


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Everybody Hates Tucker’s January 6 Sedition Porn Recruitment Video, Even Republican Senators

Quick follow-up on Tucker Carlson’s lies about how January 6 was just an old white people Sunday school class field trip. It turns out that there are at least some Republicans who weren’t into it!

SOME LIES! Tucker Reveals Ashli Babbitt Just Girl Scout Who Tried To Sell Thin Mints At Wrong House

Obviously, we don’t mean the kinds of Republicans who truly form the ideological mainstream of the party, seditionist, domestic-terrorist-supporting freakshows like Marjorie Taylor Greene. We are not talking about the hordes of Republican feral hogs in the House of Representatives who oink Kevin McCarthy’s daily marching orders at him.

But over there in the Senate, they are not so much into what Tucker and Barely Speaker Kevin are doing. And it’s not just antifa super-soldier woke hippie types like Mitt Romney either, though he was one of ’em, saying that Tucker Carlson’s lying propaganda about January 6 is “dangerous and disgusting.” And also:

In general it sounds like mainstream Republican senators are not cool with Kevin ‘n’ Tucker’s little insurrection-promoting timeshare presentation. CNN’s Manu Raju and other reporters talked to a bunch of them, and actually got them on the record.

Senator Kevin Cramer from North Dakota said, “To somehow put that in the same category as a permitted peaceful protest is just a lie.” He says give everybody all the footage. “[G]ive it to every source at the same time and let everybody go through it and play it in its entirety.”

Thom Tillis from North Carolina was more succinct: “I think it’s bullshit.” He said maybe there were a handful of tourists in the crowd, but:

“But when you see police barricades breached, when you see police officers assaulted, all of that … If you were just a tourist you should have probably lined up at the Visitor Center and came in on an orderly basis. I just don’t think it’s helpful.”

Mike Rounds from South Dakota said, “I thought it was an insurrection at that time. I still think it was an insurrection today.” He says give all journalists all the footage.

John Thune from South Dakota: “I think it was an attack on the Capitol. … There were a lot of people in the Capitol at the time that were scared for their lives.”

Chuck Grassley from Iowa: “The point is, what happened that day shouldn’t have happened.”

These mainstream Republican senators do not sound very committed to Insurrectionist Sparkle Motion, not very committed at all. NBC News has a bunch more quotes, all from the same senators.

Here’s some more video:

Meanwhile, CNN also has the reaction of the Capitol Police chief, Tom Manger, who sounds pissed. He said Tucker “cherry-picked” his footage, and that was just the beginning:

“Last night an opinion program aired commentary that was filled with offensive and misleading conclusions about the January 6 attack,” Manger wrote in an internal department memo obtained by CNN, adding that Carlson’s show didn’t reach out to the police department “to provide accurate context.”

“The program conveniently cherry-picked from the calmer moments of our 41,000 hours of video. The commentary fails to provide context about the chaos and violence that happened before or during these less tense moments,” Manger said.

Manger was specifically pissed that Tucker aired some footage of fallen Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, as part of the insurrectionist propaganda campaign to convince people Sicknick didn’t die because of the events of January 6:

“[T]he most disturbing accusation from last night was that our late friend and colleague Brian Sicknick’s death had nothing to do with his heroic actions on January 6,” Manger wrote. “The Department maintains, as anyone with common sense would, that had Officer Sicknick not fought valiantly for hours on the day he was violently assaulted, Officer Sicknick would not have died the next day.”

When the actual victims of a terrorist attack and their families are calling you a piece of shit, it might be time to rethink your approach. But Tucker’s never one to let a moral compass or human decency get in the way of his propaganda. He’s fighting a war here, and he’s not on the same side as the people who protect the United States Capitol.

We’ve mentioned the statement from Sicknick’s family here today, but we ought to give it a little more airtime:

“Every time the pain of that day seems to have ebbed a bit, organizations like Fox rip our wounds wide open again and we are frankly sick of it,” the Sicknick family said. […]

“FOX has shown time and time again that they are little more than the propaganda arm of the Republican Party and like Pravda, will do whatever they are told to keep the hatred and the lies flowing while suppressing anything resembling the truth,” the family said. “Fox does this not for any sense of morality as they have none, but for the quest for every penny of advertising money they can get from those who buy airtime from them.”

Those are mere excerpts. The whole thing is so much more.

Give all the journalists all the tapes. If you don’t, then the terrorists win. Literally.

[CNN / CBS News]

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Trump Lawyers Were Surrounding Cassidy Hutchinson Like The Devil Witches In Rosemary’s Baby

On Monday, at the final public hearing of the House January 6 Select Committee, Rep. Zoe Lofgren hinted that
some attorney in Trumpland might be in deep shit for urging his client to tell fibs to the committee. Speculation immediately turned to Stefan Passantino, the former Trump White House Ethics (if any!) lawyer whom blockbuster witness Cassidy Hutchinson fired before making her damning public testimony. CNN confirmed Wednesday that Passantino was the attorney in question, by which time his bio had disappeared from the website of his law firm Michael Best. Reached for comment, Passantino told the network that he had resigned “given the distraction of this matter.”

And indeed, the transcript released yesterday of Hutchinson’s testimony about her dealings with Passantino will probably prove to be
quite a distraction for the lawyer, both personally and professionally. Particularly since Hutchinson said that she’s had discussions about this very topic with the nice people at the DOJ.

The passage where Hutchinson described Passantino saying New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman is “friendly to us” made immediate headlines. But most of the 138 pages released yesterday is Hutchinson’s narration of how she wound up in the clutches of a bunch of older Trump attorneys who exploited her inexperience, loyalty, and most of all her financial straits to keep her quiet about what she’d seen.

And it’s filthy.

The story starts off in November of 2021, when it became clear to Hutchinson that she was going to be subpoenaed to testify to the committee. Despite Hutchinson being in her early 20s, Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows had relied on her completely, and she’d been in the room when a lot of shit went down. In 2022, she had no money and no job, but she also knew exactly what kind of people she was dealing with, which is why she was desperate to find an attorney who was
not from Trumpland.

“In a lot of scenarios that I have been privy to, once you are looped in, especially financially with them, there sort of is no turning back,” she told the committee.

But by February, after she’d been subpoenaed and with the deadline looming to produce documents and show up to testify, she was desperate. So she had mixed feelings when Eric Herschmann, the former White House attorney who testified memorably about the advice he gave to John Eastman, told her something like “Hey, I’m so sorry that we haven’t taken care of you yet. We didn’t know you didn’t have an attorney yet. Why didn’t you reach out sooner? Well, don’t worry about that now. … I’ll call you in a couple of days to connect you with somebody.”

That somebody turned out to be Stefan Passantino, who’d represented both the Trump campaign and members of the Trump family. And after meeting Passantino, Hutchinson didn’t feel any less conflicted.

“I’m fucked … I am completely indebted to these people,” she told her mother. “And they will ruin my life, Mom, if I do anything that they don’t want me to do.”

Weirdly enough, her aunt and uncle, whom she describes as being heavy into QAnon, seemed to understand her predicament and even offered to mortgage their house to help her get independent counsel. But in the end she stayed with the “free” lawyer Trumpworld assigned her.

The deal was hinky from the jump, with Passantino refusing to sign an engagement letter or tell her who was paying his bill, both of which violate legal ethics in most jurisdictions.

“If you want to know at the end, we’ll let you know, but we’re not telling people where funding is coming from right now. Don’t worry, we’re taking care of you,” he assured her.

Passantino also presented it as in
her interests that he share the details of her testimony with his “partners,” by which he meant Herschmann as well as Trump’s lawyers Alex Cannon and Justin Clark. Later that circle expanded to include Meadows’s lawyer George Terwiliger.

When it came to the committee, Passantino seems to have done everything he could to limit Hutchinson’s testimony and make it seem like she knew less than she did. He ordered her not to print out her calendar to refresh her memory, and only let her see the documents she was supposed to testify about five minutes before her appearance. And unlike the other attorneys she interviewed who said they’d need a six-figure retainer to cover the months of deposition preparation, he seems to have been perfectly happy to send her in there and let her play the amnesia patient:

And he said, “If you don’t 100 percent recall something, even if you don’t recall a date or somebody who may or may not have been in the room, that’s an entirely fine answer, and we want you to use that response as much as you deem necessary.” I said, “But, if I do recall something but not every little detail, Stefan, can I still say I don’t recall?”

And he had said, “Yes.” And I said, “But if I do remember things but not every little detail, and I say I don’t recall, wouldn’t I be perjuring myself?”

And he had — Stefan had said something to the effect of, “The committee doesn’t know what you can and can’t recall, so we want to be able to use that as much as we can unless you really, really remember something very clearly. And that’s when you give a short, sweet response. The less you remember the better. I don’t think you should be filling in any calendars or anything.

He also seems to have counseled her that she didn’t have to disclose conversations she’d overheard.

He was like, “Well, if you had just overheard conversations that happened, you don’t need to testify to that.”

“So, if I overheard it from a Member, do I have to?”

And he said, “It’s circumstantial. We can talk about it.”

So I said, “Okay.”

Spoiler Alert: NOT OKAY.

Nor is it okay to advise your client that she doesn’t have to testify as to what she knows because she should never have been in the room in the first place, and “That’s Mark’s problem. Just because you knew what Mark was doing, doesn’t mean you have to answer these questions.”

And it is very much not okay for a lawyer to watch his client give false testimony and do nothing about it.

Hutchinson told Passantino about her conversation with Secret Service agent Tony Ornato, but when she was first questioned about it by the committee, she denied knowing about the incident in the limo when the driver refused to take him to the Capitol on January 6.

Here’s how she describes her conversation with Passantino after that testimony:

I looked at Stefan, and I said, “Stefan, I am fucked.”

And he was like, “Don’t freak out. You’re fine.”

I said. “No, Stefan, I’m fucked. I just lied.”

And he said, “You didn’t lie.”

I said, “No, Stefan. Do you know how many times they just asked me that question? I just lied.”

And he said, “They don’t know what you know, Cassidy. They don’t know that you can recall some of these things. So you saying ‘I don’t recall’ is an entirely acceptable response to this.”

He’s like, “They’re prodding. They want there to be something. They don’t know that there is something. We’re not going to give them anything because this is not important. You’re doing great. You’re doing fine. You’re doing exactly what you should be doing.”

And in case it wasn’t clear why he was perfectly okay with her lying, Passantino spelled it out.

“It’s not fair that Mark put you in this position,” she quotes him saying. “We just want to focus on protecting the President. We all know you’re loyal. Let’s just get you in and out, and this day will be easy, I promise.”

Hutchinson claims that Herschmann also reached out to her in the period she was being represented by Passantino to say something along the lines of “You were so effective in your role, a lot of times we forgot how young you actually are. It’s not fair that you were exposed to so much at such a young age. Nobody ever thought it was going to get to this point. We just want to focus on taking care of you now.”

Which sounds very nice, except that Passantino was also representing Herschmann in some capacity and seemed very hot to keep Herschmann out of the soup.

And in that same conversation, he said, “So if you have any conversations with any of them, especially Eric Herschmann, we want to really work to protect Eric Herschmann.” And I remember saying sarcastically to him, “Eric can handle himself. Eric has his own resources. Why do I have to protect Eric?” He said, “No, no, no. Like, just to keep everything straight, like, we want to protect Eric with all of this.”

Maybe if you squint at it just right, you can make out a scenario in which these much older, much more powerful people really were trying to take care of this kid. And she absolutely was a kid — FFS, she wasn’t even old enough to rent a car when most of this shit went down. Maybe they really did regret putting her in that position, and weren’t taking advantage of her inability to afford a lawyer to keep her quiet about what she knew. Maybe Passantino, Herschman, Clark, Cannon, Pam Bondi, and Susie Wiles weren’t manipulating her with job offers and promises of financial stability, all of which disappeared when she testified truthfully as to what she knew.

But it seems pretty bloody unlikely.

In the event, they picked the wrong girl. Because there was a reason she was in the room when all that stuff went down, and it was because she was incredibly competent and politically astute. So Hutchinson reached out to Alyssa Farah, a former Trump White House communications official, who helped her establish a back channel to the committee and eventually find new counsel.

But before she broke with Passantino, Hutchinson went through another round of interviews with the committee, during which the lawyer told her explicitly that if she cooperated, even to the point of showing up without being subpoenaed, Trumpland would stop paying her legal bills. He also suggested that she risk going to jail for contempt of Congress, insisting it would be “better” for her if she didn’t testify any further.

At which point, Hutchinson spent an entire weekend in New Jersey reading All the President’s Men over and over, highlighter in hand (because she really is Tracy Flick), and then reached out to a member of Congress she trusted:

But there is a Republican Member of Congress who, for years I’ve been close with and confided in, Republican Member of Congress who is not on the committee.

And I remember calling this Member as I’m reading through this. And this Member had told me — this Member had reminded me that, when I spoke with this Member back in January when I reached out to them about potentially getting money from Trump world to pay for my legal bills, like if that was a bad or a good idea, this Member had told me that, “If you do that, just know that you’re kind of making your bed and you’re getting back in Trump world, Cassidy. That lawyer isn’t just going to be working for you. Like, I just — I want you to be aware of that. I’m not telling you to do it or not to do it, but I just — I want you to know that you can’t take money like that and expect them to just be working for you and your interests.”

So that night I had called this Member, and they essentially said, “Yeah, Cassidy, you need to — you’re the one that has to live with the mirror test for the rest of your life. I know that you feel like that you didn’t handle things right. I know that you’re stressed about this. Are you going to be able to live with yourself if you just move on and kind of forget about this, or do you want to try to do something about it?”

And the rest is history, but one that should not gloss over how extremely filthy and exploitative this was. Let’s cross our fingers that karma’s feeling especially bitchy in 2023.

[Hutchinson September 14 Transcript]

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Try to imagine what Republicans would have done if it emerged that Barack Obama’s White House chief of staff was actually running his re-election campaign. You can’t do it! Your head would explode! Leave aside for the moment that whole fomenting a coup thing. If Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz found out that government employees, whose salaries were paid by American taxpayers, were essentially working full time for the campaign, they’d burn the White House down.

So, before we get into the substance of Mark Meadows’s texts, let’s acknowledge the threshold scandal that he was the one running point to coordinate both the coup rally and the campaign. Which is FUCKING CRAZY!

And speaking of crazy, last night’s Meadows text drop from Talking Points Memo’s Hunter Walker and Josh Kovensky focuses on Rudy Giuliani, formerly America’s Mayor, now its Crazy Uncle who leaks hair dye at press conferences while accusing dead South American politicians of hacking the 2020 election. (Another TPM writeup, not to be missed, focuses on all the people on January 6 screaming ANTIFA! after explaining how not ANTIFA the whole thing sure seemed!)

Cast your mind back to that day, if you will. It was November 19, 2020. Rudy, Sidney, and Jenna crowded around the podium at the RNC to explain how Trump was totally gonna win this thing thanks to the Elite Super Friends Task Force of Future Bar Sanctionees.


And this.

Rudy Giuliani’s Hair Dye Leaks at One-of-a-Kind Press Conference | NowThis

Every normal American was dead of cringe. But not Ginny Thomas, the red pilled Missus of one Justice Clarence Thomas.

“Tears are flowing at what Rudy is doing right now!!!!????????” she texted her pal Mark Meadows during the event.

“Glad to help??” responded a seemingly confused Meadows, who was apparently watching the Sidney and Rudy Show in abject horror.

“Whoa!! Heroes!!!!” replied the emotional Mrs. T.

No doubt Meadows was pleased to see that his friend had recovered from her wee bout of spleen two weeks earlier when she texted the chief of staff to enquire if the rumors were true that “Biden crime family & ballot fraud co-conspirators (elected officials, bureaucrats, social media censorship mongers, fake stream media reporters, etc) are being arrested & detained for ballot fraud right now & over coming days, & will be living in barges off GITMO to face military tribunals for sedition.”

But Rudy continued to be a problem for our man Mark in the White House.

“Frigging Rudy needs to hush…” Rep. Chip Roy groused on November 22, annoyed by Giuliani’s incontinence, both verbal and follicular, adding later that “If we don’t get logic and reason in this before 11/30 – the GOP conference will bolt (all except the most hard core Trump guys.”

Oh, ye of little faith! Those people hid in a bunker from an angry mob sacking the seat of government, and even that didn’t make ’em “bolt.”

Trump campaign advisor Jason Miller also had issues with the president’s lawyer.

“Chief – need your advice here. Rudy sent me this draft GA legislature petition this evening and asked me to put together a release for Sunday morning blast out, but you’ve made clear who is running our GA efforts,” he texted on December 6. “I’m the only one Rudy sent this to besides Jenna and Boris, so it’s not like a bunch of people know about it, but I don’t want to screw up our other efforts. All guidance appreciated, as the legal turf war thing is new to me!”

Presumably the “legal turf war” was between the competent counsel and the Elite Superfriends, who were more of the “wild allegations first, verify never” school of litigation. Meadows promised to run it up the flagpole with Trumpland attorney Cleta Mitchell, which is perhaps outside the normal duties of a public servant, but probably Meadows was too busy texting to notice.

A week later Miller was back, seeking advice about a press release Roodles wanted to put out in which he regurgitated all the loony conspiracy theories about Dominion Voting Systems and Antrim County and Dead Hugo Chavez. As it turned out, Miller wanted him to do … not that.

Hi Chief – sorry to be a stalker, but I wanted to make sure you saw the Dominion/Michigan release I emailed to you for review. The Mayor wants to put it out right away, but Eric (rightfully) thinks it doesn’t make any sense. This would be the first time shooting down a Rudy press release request, so I wanted to get your take on this as well. Thank you, Jason

Meadows response is not in the cache of documents provided to the House January 6 Select Committee, so let’s just assume that it’s really fuckin’ bad.

Meanwhile Rudy was trying and failing to get paid.

“Sir, we are airborne on the way to Michigan from Arizona. We’re going to need a hotel for the team and two vehicles to pick us up,” Giuilani’s pal Bernie Kerik texted Meadows on December 1. “Christina Bobb, Who is our coordinator back in DC does not have a credit card or authorization for these logistics. I reached out to Mike Glassner who Apparently is no longer on payroll. Can you I have some money coordinate with Christina to handle? Thank you sir.”

And Kerik wasn’t the only member of Rudy’s entourage with Meadows on speed dial. His girlfriend Maria Ryan also had lots of advice for Trump, which she relayed through his chief of staff. Here she is advising Trump to appoint Ken “No Butt Stuff” Cuccinelli as special counsel to investigate the election hacking

Dear Mark, I hope you are doing well. I am very happy POTUS has such a smart and honest man as you by his side. I strongly believe in a special counsel for election integrity. I strongly believe it CANNOT be Powell who leads it . K. Cuccinelli or someone of equal prominence. Powell can be named lead investigator or given another title. Also the issue with cyber security. Strongly recommend Radcliffe put out a statement that it was foreign interference, likely cast of characters is China, Iran and maybe Russia. ( unfortunately the media is saying definitively it was Russia but my sources say it is just as likely China- Radcliffe could shed light on this) Our President has been tough on all these nations and we will continue to seek to hold them accountable. These opinions expressed are my own. If I can be of help to you or our President please let me know . Dr Maria Ryan

It’s not clear what “sources” the hospital administrator had that gave her special insight on foreign election interference, but it is pretty funny that even she knew Sidney Powell was too crazy eyes to have any public facing role.

And speaking of funny, get a load of Sean Hannity yelling at TPM for breaking the “rules” by asking him for comment on his personal texts with the chief of staff:

“Number one, you’re not allowed to get my number,” Hannity said, adding, “What are your questions?”

When he was informed about the subject of this story, Hannity declared, “You want any interview with me, you have to go through Fox PR.” After assuring Hannity that we would also contact Fox News’ spokeswoman, Irena Briganti, TPM asked him if he thought it was “appropriate” for a member of the political media to do business deals with associates of the former president.

“You think it’s appropriate when you know Fox’s rules to bypass Irena and call me directly?” Hannity asked incredulously, before adding, “You can take your predetermined outcome, which is already written in your head, and write whatever the hell you want. I don’t give a shit. You knew the rules and you didn’t care.”

Hannity subsequently hung up the phone. Briganti did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Whiny snowflakes, the lot of them.


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