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On CNN Wednesday, former federal prosecutor Elie Honig walked through how the newly-elected Republican House majority could try to sabotage the criminal investigations into the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Republicans don't have the power to order the Justice Department to shut down the investigation. However, warned Honig, they could launch counter-investigations of their own designed to harass or distract the DOJ.
"We just heard that House Republican Leader, Kevin McCarthy, who may be Speaker within a few weeks, is about to hold hearings around the security around the Capitol on January 6th and that the January 6th Committee preserve all records and transcripts," said anchor John Berman. "What does that mean? How does that play out?"
"This is an example of elections have consequences," said Honig. "Republicans soon will have the power to hold hearings. They issued this instruction to the January 6th committee to preserve their records. I don't think they need to be told that. Of course they're going to preserve their records. But we should get used to this. We're going to see Kevin McCarthy investigate the investigators on the January 6th thing."
In particular, Honig pointed to a recent tweet by McCarthy ordering Garland to "preserve your documents and clear your calendar."
"Merrick Garland doesn't need to be told that either," said Honig. "But related to the Mar-a-Lago search, we should get used to seeing the Republican-controlled House — they can't stop or derail a criminal investigation, but they can make life difficult and complicated for Merrick Garland and the Justice Department, and I look for them to try to do that."
Watch below or at this link.
Elie Honig says House GOP will "make life difficult" for Merrick Garland www.youtube.com
Georgia Republican chair had 'substantively' large role in trying to throw out election results: judge
On Wednesday, The Hill reported that a state judge in Georgia has singled out David Shafer, the chair of the Georgia Republican Party, as having a singularly significant role in the plot to overturn the results of the election in that state.
Shafer, who has been subpoenaed in connection with a state investigation into the plot, was one of the fake Trump electors in Georgia. But, the court ruled, he had a more significant role than the other electors.
"Judge Robert McBurney in the Superior Court of Fulton County, Georgia, said in a court ruling that David Shafer was 'not just another alternate elector' and that he must have separate counsel in an investigation probing efforts to overturn Georgia’s 2020 results," reported Brad Dress. "Shafer’s 'role in establishing and convening the slate of alternate electors, his communications with other key players in the District Attorney’s investigation, and his role in other postelection efforts to call into question the validity of the official vote count in Georgia' separate him from the other 10 alternate electors, the judge wrote."
The ruling means that Shafer cannot have the same legal counsel as the other electors.
"McBurney is overseeing the court proceedings of a special grand jury in Fulton County investigating allegations that Trump and his allies wrongfully intervened to reverse now-President Biden’s victory in the state," said the report. "In the wide-ranging case, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis (D), who opened the criminal probe last year, is investigating 16 Georgia Republicans who were offered as fake electors for the state in the 2020 election. The fake electors signed certificates declaring Trump had won the presidential election and offering themselves as official electors in order to certify Georgia’s election results for the former president."
The fake electors were part of a scheme, outlined in an infamous memo by Trump-aligned lawyer John Eastman, where former Vice President Mike Pence would use the fake electors as a pretext to throw out the real ones in key states, throwing the election to Trump. Pence ultimately believed this scheme was illegal and refused to take part in it.
On CNN Wednesday, reporter Sara Sidner outlined how the conviction of Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes for seditious conspiracy is unlikely to put an end to his brand of extremism.
Some experts have suggested the conviction will be a disaster for the ability of far-right paramilitaries to recruit. However, Sidner argued, Rhodes successfully cast himself as a victim of the system to followers, even comparing himself to Nelson Mandela, the legendary South African leader who spent years incarcerated for his movement to end the racist apartheid regime.
"You have reported quite a bit on these far-right groups; do you think these convictions do anything to deter those who might carry out acts like this?" asked anchor Alex Marquardt.
"It depends on who you're talking about," said Sidner. "In some cases, these people who have been convicted who a jury of their peers convicted in this case with plenty of evidence to go off of, some will be looked at as martyrs, we saw it in the court case as this case was going on. There are people there who stand with — they call themselves the January 6th Defenders, who believe they're being railroaded. There's no way to make that accusation in this case because the jury came back with a hodgepodged decision, not everyone was guilty of everything, but everyone was guilty of something."
Despite this, Sidner continued, Rhodes has built a persecution narrative for himself.
"You will see a leader like Stewart Rhodes has already, while he was in jail awaiting this trial — he already made himself into, in his own mind, a martyr, talking and likening himself to Nelson Mandela, talking about a dictatorship, how you have to fight for your rights even if that means you go to jail. Believe me when I say, these ideas they're not gone. They may be pushed down a bit in this particular group. But the ideas are still there. And they are still dangerous."
Sara Sidner says Stewart Rhodes compared himself to Nelson Mandela www.youtube.com