“This committee has engaged in widespread manipulation of evidence. They’re refusing to provide the testimony of people who dispute the narrative that they’re trying to construct. They are running roughshod over our American ideals of what should happen when you accuse people of crimes, and whether there should be the ability to make a defense or have a cross-examination.”
That was Mollie Hemingway, speaking Tuesday night with Laura Ingraham on FOX News. “I mean,” she said, “those rights are enshrined in the Constitution, and our congressional committees are supposed to honor that in the way they conduct their hearings. That has not been the case since Day 1, and today, this was just absurd.”
“ABSURD” is the word. Hemingway was referring to the testimony of Cassidy Hutchinson, former aide to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. Even before it was refuted --- and it quickly was --- it should’ve been seen as the wild hearsay it was, something that would never be allowed in a courtroom, for good reason.
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This happened during Tuesday’s “emergency” hearing of the January 6 committee, which they called because they thought they had game-changing testimony that would rock the political world! It mostly showed they have rocks in their heads. Hutchinson testified she’d been told that President Trump was so upset and ready to wage insurrection at the Capitol that he assaulted two Secret Service agents in his car and tried to grab the steering wheel.
Very quickly, Peter Alexander of NBC News --- not a news outlet known for its defense of Trump --- refuted this story, tweeting, “A source close to the Secret Service tells me both Bobby Engel, the lead agent, and the presidential limousine/SUV driver are prepared to testify under oath that neither man was assaulted and that Mr. Trump never lunged for the steering wheel.”
As Bonchie at REDSTATE reports (and I can attest), President Trump was known for the respect he always gave Secret Service agents. Of course they’d speak up right away to set the record straight. “The only thing I can take from this is that the January 6 committee is full of idiots,” he writes. “They actually thought they could have an aide spin fanciful, third-hand tales and that there’d be no pushback…We are supposed to believe that Trump fought his way into the front seat of the presidential limo (or a suburban depending on who you ask) as a 74-year-old, overweight man, overtaking two Secret Service agents to ‘grab the wheel’? I mean, if he wanted to go to the Capitol, he was the president. All he had to do was say, ‘Take me to the Capitol.’”
“Honestly, I can’t stop laughing,” he says. “I find this entire episode absolutely hilarious.”
Take it from someone who’s personally ridden in “The Beast” with the President –- there is NO WAY he could get to the driver. However, a picture of Trump leaving the rally shows that he was in the SUV. Either way, if this committee cared about the truth, they would’ve checked out this story out and traced it to whoever apparently made it up or grossly exaggerated it. (She testified that she'd heard it from then-White House deputy chief of operations Tony Ornato, who is denying that this happened or that he'd told her it happened.) This is why hearsay testimony is not allowed in courtrooms. It’s just embarrassing, or would be, if the committee had any sense of shame.
FOX News reports that he January 6 committee and the Secret Service are “in discussions” as to whether the two agents will testify on camera. My sense is that this won't be happening.
Here’s another take on the story, complete with Trump’s posts on Truth Social about Hutchinson’s claim, which he called “sick and fraudulent, very much like the Unselect Committee itself.”
“Wouldn’t even have been possible to do such a ridiculous thing,” he continued. (See?) He went on to deny another of her claims, that he was throwing food. “And why would SHE have to clean it up, I hardly knew who she was?”
Chris Menahan at INFORMATION LIBERATION said, “Hutchinson’s story actually made Trump sound pretty awesome and I must say I’m rather disappointed to learn that it never happened.”
THE PALMIERI REPORT offers a bit more about Hutchinson herself. Their previous report revealed that she’d wanted to work for Trump in Florida after he left the White House but was turned down for the job.
Let’s move on from this absurdity to something we really should be concerned about. Andrew C. McCarthy has brought up something odd about the FBI’s heavy-handed raids on Jeffrey Clark and John Eastman: agents were working not on behalf of a U.S. district attorney’s office but for the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General (OIG). The warrant on Eastman didn’t even mention any specific crime for which the evidence sought by the warrant might be relevant.
As my readers will know, the OIG has jurisdiction only with current federal government employees. They do not investigate crimes. They investigate “to detect and deter waste, fraud, abuse and misconduct involving DOJ programs and personnel, and promote economy and efficiency in DOJ operations.”
McCarthy points out that John Eastman was not a government employee in 2020, much less a DOJ employee (and he certainly isn’t one now). He was Donald Trump’s private legal counsel. So how does the OIG have legitimate cause to be investigating him? Liz Cheney is trying to tie him to Jeffrey Clark, who was acting head of the DOJ Criminal Division in 2020 but has not worked at the DOJ for over a year. And if they’re alleging that Clark was part of a conspiracy to subvert the democratic process after the 2020 election, the OIG doesn’t have jurisdiction there, either. As McCarthy says, “It’s not the IG’s mission to investigate --- much less obtain search warrants to probe --- such felony federal violations as obstruction of Congress and seditious conspiracy.”
So what’s going on? McCarthy thinks Biden’s DOJ is doing it this way to hide the fact that they’re really conducting a criminal investigation of Trump. They’re PRETENDING to investigate only whether Clark engaged in waste, fraud or abuse of DOJ programs. He suspects they went “covertly” to federal judges –- and they’d be able to judge-shop for this –- to obtain warrants that enabled federal agents to “rifle through the belongings of these Trump associates, only after subjecting them to the humiliation of temporary arrest and frisk, without notifying their lawyers.” The prize: all those electronics they’re confiscating --- especially Eastman's, I would think --- with their thousands and thousands of messages to pick through, just to find something, anything, to use against Donald Trump.
In related news, Michael Stenger, the former Senate sergeant-at-arms who oversaw security during the January 6 rally, died Monday at his home in Falls Church, Virginia. He was 71, a Marine Corps veteran who spent 35 years with the Secret Service before joining the Senate sergeant-at-arms team in 2011, reaching the top post in 2018. He resigned the day after the January 6 security breach, after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell requested his resignation.
According to a Senate Rules Committee report, he’d had some “informal conversations” with Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund (who also resigned, along with the House sergeant-at-arms) about the level of need for National Guard troops on that day. Perhaps we’ll find out more about Mr. Stenger’s views at the time concerning that need.
Here he is, from February 2021, offering a brief prepared statement about January 6, as posted by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene.
We have no additional detail about his death at this point, and no reason to think it was related to the current investigation. Please pray for his grieving family and loved ones, who surely don't wish for the media attention they're going to get.