Marcy Wheeler discusses DOJ’s investigation of the Insurrection with Brad Friedman, @theBradblog podcast 7-14-2022

This was a great interview. It made me feel better about what the DOJ has been doing. Especially after listening to Rachel Maddow reading the memo from Merrick Garland on Monday, July 18th talking about the DOJ being careful during election years. Because I thought the whole interview was great I made a clip and then used Otter’s AI to transcribe all 45 minutes of her interview. I reviewed it all , but there still might be some things that aren’t perfect, so here is a link to the entire show.

Marcy Wheeler @emptywheel

Marcy of course has details on Here is the link to her piece listing some of the investigations into various characters in the January 6th insurrection.


Brad Friedman 00:00

[Reading article] senior prosecutor in the special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election after spending years as a senior Federal Prosecutor and a myriad of high profile criminal conspiracy cases. He argues this week and a New York Times op ed, quote, “The tenacious work of the January 6 committee has transformed how we think about the January 6 rebellion. It should also transform the Justice Department’s investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Before the hearings, federal agents and prosecutors were performing a classic bottom up criminal investigation of the January 6 rioters which means prosecuting the lowest ranking members of a conspiracy flipping people as it proceeds and following the evidence as high as it goes. It was what I did at the Justice Department for investigations of the Genovese and Colombo crime families Enron and Volkswagen as well as for my part in the investigation of Russia’s in Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, led by the Special Counsel Robert Mueller, but that is actually the wrong approach for investigating the January 6 insurrection writes Weissman. That approach sees the attack on the capitol as a single event an isolated riot separate from other efforts by Donald Trump and his allies to overturn the election. The hearings, he argues should inspire the Justice Department to now rethink its approach. A myopic focus on the January 6 Riot is not the way to proceed if you’re trying to follow the facts where they lead and to hold people quote, at any level, criminally accountable as Attorney General Merrick Garland has promised. The evidence gathered in the hearings describes a multi prong conspiracy, what prosecutors termed a hub and spoke conspiracy, in which the ellipse speech by Donald Trump and the January sixth attack on the Capitol were just one spoke of a grander scheme. This broader approach would avoid the thorny debate that has emerged as to whether Mr. Trump could be criminally culpable for inciting the riot during his ellipse speech or If on the contrary, his speech is protected under the First Amendment and the evidence just too ambiguous to justify the extraordinary step of indicting a former president. Building a criminal case that looks solely at the riot itself is far more complex legally and factually, for those who weren’t at or in the Capitol, for example, Donald Trump. These challenges he says of the current bottom up approach have led to criticism of the slow pace of the narrow Justice Department approach. Instead, he argues what the hearings have revealed is evidence of a plot organized by Mr. Trump and his allies in the White House and elsewhere, including players from the Mueller investigation like Roger Stone, Michael Flynn, Rudy Giuliani, as well as new players like Jeffrey Clark and John Eastman. The spoke of the January 6, Riot should be seen and investigated simultaneously with the other spokes, orchestrating fake electors in key states pressuring state officials like those in Georgia to find new votes, plotting to behead the leadership of the Justice Department to promote a lackey who would further the conspiracy by announcing a spurious investigation into election fraud and pressuring Vice President Mike Pence to violate the law. Investigating the January 6 insurrection, Weissman argues in the context of the other means by which Mr. Trump appears to have sought to undermine the transfer of power.

I call that his clear attempt to steal the election serves to strengthen any future case by presenting the complete evidence of the perpetrators actions and intent, and it undermines possible defenses. While our friend Marcy Wheeler, the tenacious and incredibly prolific longtime independent national security journalist at her site, empty and a contributor to many other publications like The intercept the Guardian, Politico, New York Times, among others, has been following the indictments and federal filings and evidence and court transcripts and much more of the hundreds from the hundreds of folks who were indicted for participating in the insurrection at the US Capitol on January 6, as well as those in the far right extremist groups, like the Proud Boys and the Oathkeepers, who are now facing decades in prison on seditious conspiracy charges. Not to mention the various investigations and potential prosecutions of those in Trump’s inner circle, including just maybe just hopefully, the former disgraced President himself. She has long argued at her blog and on Twitter and indeed on this program that critics charging the Merrick Garland and his Department of Justice. We’re not investigating the real perpetrators of the attempt to steal the 2020 election, including by overthrowing the American government. We’re well, not not paying close enough attention, that indeed the DOJ was and is, in fact, as Weissman suggested, working on a careful deliberate bottom up strategy to hold those responsible, at least for January 6 accountable. From the grunts on the ground up through the seditious conspirators in the right wing extremist groups and hopefully up into Trump’s inner circle. She, Marcy has often made that case in contradiction to other perhaps better known legal advocates critical of garland for not moving fast enough or not even moving at all. In recent weeks, there has been more visible law enforcement actions brought against the number of Trump’s conspirators. The rate of Trump DOJ lackey, Jeffrey Clark’s home, he’s the guy who Trump threatened to place in charge of the DOJ in order to send letters to swing state legislatures, falsely claiming that the department had found massive fraud and that they should consider naming new electors for Donald Trump instead of for Joe Biden. And the seizure of rogue Trump Attorney John Eastman’s cell phone. He’s the guy who pushed hardest for Mike Pence to simply declare Trump to be the winner on January 6 During the joint session of Congress, even though he knew it was almost certainly unlawful and or unconstitutional. There has also been action suggesting the DOJ is probing the organizers of the January 6 rallies where Trump instructed his armed supporters to march on the Capitol and into the the entire fake electors scheme that was carried out in several swing states, but is Weissman right, knowing what we now know is Garland’s bottom up approach the approach that he has been taking and the approach which Marcy Wheeler has told us was sort of ongoing all along, is that the wrong approach for this particular crime is Weisman’s Hub and Spoke approach the right one to take or is that what Garland has been doing? And is their time and the willingness at the DOJ if not to change to change the way they’re prosecuting this case in order to focus on the guy who sat at the hub the whole time, participating in every spoke of all of these multiple crimes to steal the 2020 election. Joining us now is our old friend, Marcy Wheeler, to discuss all of this, and almost certainly much more, including the January 6 hearings that we have been just so wrapped by in recent weeks. Marcy Wheeler, welcome back to the broadcast.

Marcy Wheeler,

Marcy Wheeler 08:10

Hey, great, to be back.

Brad Friedman 08:11

So, you know, frankly, and I know you’ve got some strong opinions on Mr. Weissman and his take here. But listen to start I take Weissman New York Times op ed, frankly, as confirmation that you Ms. Wheeler had it right all along, at least in your argument, that in fact, Garland was on the case, working at least from the ground up to wherever it may lead. But Weissman goes on to say that it’s ultimately the wrong approach to prosecute this case, is Weissman right on that point? Or is the slow and steady ground up approach? The right one? Or was DOJ already pushing the Hub and Spoke conspiracy type of investigation that Weissman is now calling for?

Marcy Wheeler 08:54

Yeah, I think Weissman is not even remotely familiar with the investigation, you just reeled off a bunch of things that are in process that are the kinds of things that he has asked for. You left out some stuff like for example, Sidney Powell was referred for fraud for raising money off grifters, based on the big lie, and that investigation, we know was sending out Grand Jury subpoenas in September of last year. If you don’t think getting Sidney Powell emails, getting Sidney Powell’s financial records in you know, they’ve started, you know, well before September of last year, we assume you don’t think that’s going to help you get to Trump and you know nothing about that December 18th meeting. You know nothing about one of the forces that was driving the crazy between the election and the actual riot. Rudy Giuliani, right? You do not get to Trump unless you get to Rudy Giuliani. There are other people you need to get to, Mark Meadows is another one, you probably need to get Pat Cipollone’s cooperation, but you don’t get there if you don’t get Rudy Giuliani’s. Like literally the first day that Lisa Monaco was in charge of, was the Deputy Attorney General, she approved warrants for Rudy for the Ukraine investigation. But immediately after they got those warrants, DOJ turned around and said, “Hey, we want a special master. And we want the special master to review all of the comms, everything on Rudy’s 16 phones from January 1st 2018. So this includes the Mueller investigation. Through the day, we seized the phones, which was April 28th 2021. Guess what happens to be on those phones in between January 1st 2018 and April 28th 2021? Is everything he did! And he was he was a promiscuous texter. Right. So he carried on a lot of that. And that’s the first thing Lisa Monaco did when she came into office. Now, those warrants that we know about are not for January 6th, but because of the way they did it. The privilege review was not tied to scope. It was for everything. And so at whatever time DOJ said, “Hey, we’ve got probable to go get Rudy’s content.” It was there. They like they saved literally a year of the investigation by doing it that way. Brilliant.

Brad Friedman 11:28

And so they can use all of that information for any aspect of this investigation that that they actually like, right, in both the case


That they can get a warrant for. Okay, right, that they can get a warrant for, but we know that this is exactly what they did with Michael Cohen. You know, with that, that the Mueller investigation did with Michael Cohen and then sent him over to SDNY. But I mean, one thing that’s one thing that’s really interesting about that is a lot of people are talking about the fake electors. Weissman appears not to have noticed that Lisa Monaco made a formal invest a formal announcement that they were investigating the fake electors in January. What we’ve learned recently is that investigation actually started months before that, That makes sense, right? Because the the warrants that were going out the subpoenas that were going out in January, and then more recently, those were based on something. And usually as Weissman would tell you, they’re usually going to be based on warrants that they got in secret. And so that stuff went on before they started sending out warrants. And and we know that DOJ is not chasing the January 6th committee on that, because we know that what is in the subpoenas, the names that are in the subpoenas are not names that have been publicly named by January 6th.

Brad Friedman 12:47

Well, look, I mean, yeah, I do. But let me ask, let me let me get at this thought this way. So why spin is saying bottom up is the wrong way to go about it Hub and Spoke is the more appropriate way. You seem to be suggesting that the DOJ was already sort of working in that broader fashion. Is it fair to say and do we know at least that I understand what what Weissman is arguing this hub and spoke where Donald Trump is the hub, and he is sort of, you know, controlling each of the spokes. So instead of, you know, working your way up to Donald Trump, you know, from January 6, that you actually start with Donald Trump and you say, Okay, we think this guy committed a crime or a lot of crimes. We are going to focus on him and see how he ties to all of these various crimes, or is it your belief that that is what DOJ is doing?

Marcy Wheeler 13:41

And then Andrew Weissman made the explanation for why that’s not possible because he’s like, Well, and he crazy, said, well, we can’t you know, we can’t charge for him. We can’t charge Trump for incitement. We’re very far beyond charging Trump for incitement. We’re, we’re about you know, did Trump conspire through people like Alex Jones, who’s, you know, Alex Jones has two employees who were arrested, the most recent one in August, his phone has been fully exploited. You know, you know, again, Alex Jones, like, I think it’s better to think of the gatekeepers for Trump because Trump doesn’t write anything down. So if you’re gonna get to Trump, you have to get to the people who have stuff on their phone, and those people are Alex Jones, Roger Stone, Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, Mark Meadows. Probably Steve Bannon, who knows what Mike Flynn did, but let’s throw his phone in there to half of those phones. You know, half of those people we know have very advanced investigations into like the the Oathkeeper investigation into the Oathkeeper investigation, was incorporating Roger Stone as a key part of that investigation by March of 2021. So he named Roger Stone. He says, Why aren’t they investigating Roger Stone? And I say maybe you should look at Use Keeper’s indictments because Roger stones all over them. And there are four, four cooperating witnesses who have personal knowledge of what Stone did not just on the day, but also in the months leading up to the riot.

Brad Friedman 15:13

But I think that and again, this may just be my understanding of Weisman’s argument. But I think my understanding is the notion that Donald Trump is at the center of all of these various spokes, and that, you know, the way you create the spoke and the wheel is by beginning with, Okay, what did Donald Trump do hear? What was his involvement with all of these crimes? Do you have any sense? Am I right about that? And do you have any sense that yes, that is the way they’re going about

Marcy Wheeler 15:45

it. The arguing that I think he may be arguing that but just as one example, which I think is crazy, like there’s an argument that people are making, which is, should just be laughed at? And he says, Well, why isn’t why isn’t Merrick Garland DOJ investigating Jeffrey Clark, for maybe being replacing the attorney general? And a DOJ IG opened an investigation into that, like in January of 2021. So that investigation, I mean, DOJ IG is notoriously slow. So unfortunately, you know, the the the warrants that you referenced, actually was described as a cooperative effort between DOJ IG and, and other investigators. But a that investigation has been going be of all of the things that we’ve talked about so far. That is the one that is most dubiously. I mean, it’s probably legal. It’s corrupt. It’s wrong. It’s, you know, it’s proof that Trump had had corrupt intent, but it’s probably completely legal. And so until you tie Jeff Clark and the fake electors stuff, and so and so what, you know what all these people are saying is, we should take prosecutors off of investigating the way in which Roger Stone coordinated with the 50 militia conspirators, who literally move bodies around at the at the Capitol, and take prosecutors off the investigation and Alex Jones, who literally served on Trump’s order, served as a pied piper bringing 1000s of bodies to the Capitol to make the attack possible. And we’re gonna take prosecutors off of those investigations, investigate Jeffrey Clark for something that a is already under investigation and be probably illegal. That’s the argument that a lot of people are making. And that doesn’t make any sense to me, because you’ve got these you’ve got Roger Stone coordinating with militias. That sounds like if you’re more likely to sustain a prosecution of the President of the United States, the former president of the United States, if you can show and this is what the January 6 committee finally is convincing people if you can show that people working directly with Trump. Actually, we’re working directly with militias mean that the conspiracy here is much flatter than people think. And there are four people who are one degree who put the militias or the other rioters one degree of separation away from Trump. That’s how flat this is

Brad Friedman 18:21

now, as part of his argument that the DOJ is is not doing this correctly. He says there are signs that are not so encouraging. He says department prosecutors were reportedly surprised by the testimony of Mark Meadows aide Cassidy Hutchinson, who of course gave the such explosive testimony in the sixth public hearing before the Fourth of July holiday. He says this is not a sign of a robust investigation into the facts. Why wouldn’t the DOJ have already interviewed folks like Cassidy Hutchinson Longo Marcy Wheeler?

Marcy Wheeler 18:59

I mean, it’s a good question. Another really good question is precisely what is DOJ doing with Mark Meadows? One of the funny things in the last couple of days is you’ve got people like Andrew Weissman panicking, everyone who’s anti Trump. And then the Rolling Stone had a great article about how everyone in the Trump camp believes that Mark Meadows is about to go to prison. And those are completely incompatible things because if Mark Meadows is about to go to prison, we actually then don’t meet Cassidy has Hutchinson’s testimony because Mark Meadows is about to go to prison. But also, we don’t know why all the Trump people are showing up imminent and all the Andrew Weissman people are sure that Cassidy Hutchinson is this great gaping hole in the middle of the investigation. I think Cassidy Hutchinson will be a tremendous witness. And I would be shocked if Jodi Hunt who is the lawyer that shepherded her to this more expensive testimony, who was an assistant attorney general at DOJ. He knows where DOJ As he knows how to, you know, he knows how to shepherd his witness to DOJ. An important thing to remember, though, is given given the descriptions of Hutchinson’s ever evolving testimony, a it doesn’t get there until she fires her Trump paid lawyer.

Brad Friedman 20:18

Right? And that was where Jodi Hunt is the one who replaced her Trump paid lawyer. And that was seems to be when she decided she would go in and be more forthcoming with committee, correct?

Marcy Wheeler 20:30

Yes, yeah. So she found somebody, he was, if you remember the Mueller investigation, Trump hears about the the Mueller investigation, he says that the person who took those notes and share them with Mueller was Jody Hunt.

Brad Friedman 20:46

Okay. And that he he’s been

Marcy Wheeler 20:49

in that role. He’s been in a witness against, against Trump role. And, and I think he saw how badly Trump treated sessions. And so he was happy to be this woman’s lawyer. But you don’t like if if if she had gone in with she had received a subpoena with her trump lawyer from DOJ, you’re gonna have a very different outcome than you would have, if she’s got Jody hunt, walking her in the front door. And the other thing is, I think that the trust that she developed with Liz Cheney was also really important to getting her to where she was willing to do this. Let me you know, a conservative woman to to walk her through that.

Brad Friedman 21:28

I gotta get to a break here shortly, Marcy, and I want to come back and ask you more broadly about the January 6 hearings, because we haven’t spoken to you since since they began several weeks ago. But why, with Mark Meadows, he was referred for criminal contempt. Do you have any understanding any insight as to why the DOJ has indicated that they are actually not going to bring criminal contempt charges against him? Is it is it because they expect he has executive privilege? Or is it for another reason? Because they want to hold him for a different prosecution? Do you have any insight into that?

Marcy Wheeler 22:09

I think it’s a combination of those things. It can’t just be that he had a privilege that Steve Bannon didn’t have, because he worked in the White House, because so did Peter Navarro. They decided that they were going to charge Peter Navarro they you know they did that. So it can’t just be that. But I also am and I’ve been pointing this out since February in February DOJ had to give records to Steve Bannon that showed that they were tracking what his attorney has been doing, going back to March of 2021. That’s not just a January 6 committee subpoena it can’t be because obviously the committee didn’t even exist in March 2021. Right, yeah, much less the subpoena. So they are conducting a broader investigation of Steve Bannon role in whatever covering up and DOJ had to hand that to Bannon, because they’re in there. They’re prosecuting him for this content. And so I think it is largely what you said that because Mark Meadows was the Chief of Staff. It’s a different issue. It also is it’s criminal contempt that they’re doing with within one of the reasons they’re successful moving forward, even his as he’s claiming that he might start cooperating is because it’s for punishment. It’s not for coercing, actual cooperation. And with Meadows. I think everyone hopes that you’re going to get actual cooperation, you can get the cheap, right? If you can get the chief of staff to flip against Trump, then I mean, I think you really need one or you know, you need Rudy Giuliani is gonna be useless because he’s not, but you do need Rudy Giuliani, you do need Mark Meadows. You know, knowing at least what Stone did I think would be critical, he of course, is going to be useless because it’s not. And then And then yeah, you know, you hope that you’re going to flip Mark Meadows, let’s Meadows. There’s a reason that all of the Trump people think he’s going to prison. And it’s because he’s going I mean, there’s a lot of stuff against them, even really basic stuff, like he bought a new phone after the investigation had started. And as a result, probably didn’t turn over text, signal text on which he plotted insurrection that were part of this investigation that because he was the chief of staff to the President knew about and so like he’s been walking obstruction case to begin with. And he’s right at the center of the fake electoral plot, which has been under investigation for months longer than people think. And so there’s a lot of ways to get to Mark Meadows. There’s no transparency right now about how DOJ plans to do that. And I think that is that derives the the very real frustration with the disk I’ve read that this woman has been here all along, ready to knock out her boss.

Brad Friedman 25:03

So there’s so there’s frustration. So there’s frustration with it, but you’re confident that they are trying to get to him. And if they get to him, I guess the expectation or the hope is that he flips on the President himself. And there you go.

Marcy Wheeler 25:18

Right. And, and I mean, one of the things that there are incredibly damning records out there, even what we’ve seen even what the January 6 committee was able to get. And we should assume DOJ has been able to get far more because they can get they can serve warrants on cloud companies. And that’s what they do before before they go and see Jeffrey Clark, or John Eastman stone. They already have their emails from underneath this case, it was readily available at Chapman.

Brad Friedman 25:50

Gotcha. All right. I have to I’m already running late. So let me just see if I can get a quick answer on this. And then we’ll come back we’ll talk about specifically some of the January 6 hearings. Weissman argues that it’s a disturbing sign that while usually he says the DOJ is ahead of congressional investigations, that this time it seems the other way around. Is that actually the case? Is that unusual?

Marcy Wheeler 26:18

I did a post Yes. And everyone should go to my site and they will see a post where I very quickly in 10 minutes time identified nine witnesses that Adam Schiff’s committee investigating the Russian the Russian involvement in 2016. Those witnesses Adam Schiff committee got to before Adam before Weissman special counsel investigation and so, in fact, the Russian investigation that wasn’t true for we don’t have to go very far to prove that it often is the case that Congress gets to witnesses first, even though the Russian one is one example.

Brad Friedman 26:52

Even though Adam Schiff himself was the one out complaining about this committee being ahead of the DOJ saying

Marcy Wheeler 27:02

I know! He swore it was unprecedented. I’m like, let me introduce you to this guy, Adam Schiff. And this other guy, this other guy, Andrew Weissman, because they can tell you that that is absolutely false. Well, clearly,

Brad Friedman 27:13

they’re trying to send some sort of message to the DOJ for some reason, these aren’t crazy people. Let me take a quick break. We’ll come back with someone else who is not a crazy person on the committee who is also seems to be sending trying to send a message to the DOJ and I’m not sure why I frankly, I’m not sure why they’re not working much closer than they seem to be. We’re gonna take a quick break, come back with Marcy Wheeler, the great Marcy Wheeler of empty wheel dot net. To try to make sense of this all I’m Brad Friedman, you’re listening to the broadcast.

Desi 27:53

Hey, this is Desi, the broadcast and the green news report survive. Thanks to you and your support. Please drop by Brad today to help us stay independent every day over your public airwaves. That’s Brad And thanks. Now the Planning Center

Brad Friedman 28:24

Well, I think we already know what it was what they tried to plan and thankfully they were unsuccessful. Now the question is, Will anybody pay a price for it? Welcome back to the Brad cast. Brad Friedman from Brad speaking with independent national security journalist Marcy Wheeler of empty, who has followed the investigations and prosecutions of January 6, and everything related to it probably as close as anyone in the entire country. And actually, she’s doing it all these days from Ireland. But nevermind that. Marcy. Welcome back. I want to get your thoughts on this here was Republican vice chair of the House January 6, select committee, Liz Cheney on near the beginning of day seven of the of the committee’s hearings.

Liz Cheney 29:16

Now the argument seems to be that President Trump was manipulated by others outside the administration, that he was persuaded to ignore his closest advisors, and that he was incapable of telling right from wrong. This new strategy is to try to blame only John Eastman or Sidney Powell or Congressman Scott Perry, or others and not President Trump. In this version, the President was, quote, poorly served by these outside advisors. The strategy is to blame people his advisers called quote “the crazies” for what Donald Trump did. This of course is nonsense. President Trump is a 76 year old man, he is not an impressionable child, just like everyone else in our country, he is responsible for his own actions and his own choices. As our investigation has shown, Donald Trump had access to more detailed and specific information showing that the election was not actually stolen than almost any other American. And he was told this over and over again, no rational or sane man in his position, could disregard that information and reach the opposite conclusion. And Donald Trump cannot escape responsibility by being willfully blind.

Brad Friedman 30:45

That was Liz Cheney on Tuesday and day six, day seven of the January 6 committee hearings, seemingly sending yet another message by referencing willful blindness, a legal concept that another one of these legal concepts that the committee seems to be repeating over and over again, as if to send a message to the Department of Justice about all of this. We’ve been speaking with Marcy Wheeler about this sort of weird dance between the committee and DOJ as they’re trying to push each other or as the committee seems to be pushing the DOJ Marcy Wheeler does your good friend, Liz Cheney, there habit about habit about right when it comes to willful blindness? And was that a direct message to the DOJ? And if so, why does the DOJ keep sending these messages to the , why does the committee keep sending these messages to the DOJ about what they would like them to do?

Marcy Wheeler 31:48

Oh, I don’t blame them. I mean, these are all former prosecutors and prosecutors when they’re pitching their boss. And I’m sure prosecutors inside DOJ pitching Lisa Monaco, they they make these arguments, they say here are the elements of the offense. And here’s proof that this subject of the investigation has committed the elements of the offense. That’s what Liz Cheney’s been doing brilliantly, really, and her hurt, the staffers on the committee has been prepping her to do brilliantly. And I’m sure DOJ gets it, I’m sure do because they’re looking at the same, you know, like, you know, I’m going to claim credit here back in August of last year. So 11 months ago, I wrote a post I said, if they’re gonna go after Trump, they’re gonna go after him for conspiracy to commit 1512 obstruction of a congressional proceeding. And at that point, everyone told me I was crazy. Everyone, everyone, and then in maybe December or January, Liz Cheney was like, I think Donald Trump has committed conspiracy to obstruct fifteens. Well, the and it was like, Liz Cheney, so brilliant. And it’s like, she’s saying, this isn’t the thing. She’s saying she’s using exactly the framework that DOJ has been using since March of 2021, which has the benefit of being expansive, you can keep, you know, throwing in new Proud Boys throwing in Roger Stone throwing in Alex Jones, up there goes Mark Meadows, and all of a sudden Trump’s in the middle of it. I mean, that is how it is organized. There are other crimes, you know, like the fake electors will involve counterfeit or what have you. But that is that is the elegance of the way DOJ has structured their investigation. And guess what Liz Cheney is really repeating back with DOJ is saying themselves that they’re already keeping the same. Yeah, they’re speaking the same language. Cheney is the you know, the January 6 committee, it is true that they did not have to start from a crime. They started from the White House. DOJ simply cannot do that. But they have they do have common themes. I mean, they’re both very aggressively investigating investigating the fake electors. So DOJ has been Yeah, okay. Go ahead. Well, no.

Brad Friedman 34:03

So just to get a broader picture here. I you know, haven’t, as I mentioned, haven’t spoken with you since the, you know, this remarkable series of public hearings began in the in the January 6 committee. I’m wondering about your general about your takeaways in general, and then more specifically, as to what, if anything, of note that you may have learned from these hearings that you didn’t previously know, or is it just really a recitation of things that you have you already knew and that you’ve been actually trying to get the word out about over at empty

Marcy Wheeler 34:38

There are things that I’ve been like the most recent one is, is and the most recent one was was the militia side is not the committee strength, because they don’t have the same power. They don’t have they haven’t flipped 10 cooperating witnesses like DOJ has and DOJ is not sharing what they’ve learned from the cooperating witnesses with the The committee and so that is a different kind of asymmetry. And I’ve been trying to say like I’ve been trying to say it was like, it was very funny I was, I’ve been trying to say, look, the way to get to Trump from the mob scene is through Roger Stone through Alex Jones Ali Alexander. And I was like, Oh, you’re never gonna get to Trump through those people. And I was having a conversation just like that. During the hearing the other day, when the January 6 committee said, Well, it’s Ali Alexander and Alex Jones and Roger Stone, like, these are the people who organized the violence from the start. And so that that logic is all baked into the DOJ investigation. DOJ has been working on all three of those people. Ali Alexander has been interviewed, like I said, Alex Jones employees have been arrested. Lots of people who worked directly with Roger.

Brad Friedman 35:52

People, I should know that you have been naming even when you appeared on this show over the past, you know, many months, you have mentioned these folks, people will who is Ali Alexander. Well, now people are beginning to learn who is Joe Biggs. Now they’re beginning to learn because they’re being presented, you know, by the by the committee. Is there information, Marcy Wheeler, that anything that you believe that you know about all of this, that the committee does not yet seem to understand at all? As you see it? Are they getting all of the information that they need here at least to make their case in the committee? And for that matter, at the DOJ? Are they are they both getting it?

Marcy Wheeler 36:31

I think that DOJ has some secrets, or DOJ has some things like there are defendants that I know are really important, but I don’t know why. And the people who who know everyone’s face, they don’t know why I just I’m like, I know this person is really important. And I don’t know why. There’s also this question of how the complete random people from you know, Peoria, how some of them, like maybe 20 of them, showed up on the fix, and acted just as smart as all the Proud Boys. And we don’t know how that worked. My suspicion is that they learned things on the fifth at the rallies people

Brad Friedman 37:05

from sounds like that people from Peoria, you say,

Marcy Wheeler 37:09

Well, I just ran a city, I’m actually in, let’s say, Las Vegas, and in Tennessee, because those are the some of the people I’m thinking of some Pennsylvania guys, Texas, guys, these are people who are very, very, I mean, they’re they they’re entirely organized online. And yet they show up at the Capitol and they know exactly where to go. And how does that happen? That’s a good question. I think that, you know, I think that we are going to see when the committee eventually does a report, a lot of incredibly good work that isn’t as focused on Donald Trump, like work on the social media company. That is incredibly important to move beyond this, that they’ve done the work. And we’re not going to actually see until we get the report.

Brad Friedman 37:56

Before we go beyond the beyond this. Do you believe that? There will be and or there is hard evidence that will emerge? Well, whether it’s through the committee or the DOJ showing a direct connection between Donald Trump and the Proud Boys in the Oathkeepers. Even if you have to go through, you know, guys like Roger Stone or Michael Flynn to get there. Will they be able to make that hard connection?

Marcy Wheeler 38:23

Yes, yes.

Brad Friedman 38:24


Marcy Wheeler 38:24

You got there through Roger Stone.

Brad Friedman 38:25


Marcy Wheeler 38:26

You get there through not just Roger Stone. I mean, like, I’ve said this, and I will say it again, because it bears repeating. The guy who was in charge of the Proud Boys one of the two guys in charge of the Proud Boys that day, guy by the name of Joe Biggs. Joe Biggs, by the way, is also one of the guys who started Pizza Gate, and also one of the guys who started the Seth Rich, conspiracy, sort of interesting background. Then he joined the Proud Boys, but he used to work for Alex Jones. So you have this incredibly close tie between Alex Jones and, and the Proud Boys the guy running the Proud Boys. And Alex Jones, the Proud Boys and the Oathkeepers all converge on east side of the building together, they’re all really close. They all converge on the side of the building together. After the first breach on the west side. How does that happen? That happens because these guys are a really close network. And who else is in that network? Roger Stone, Roger, Roger Stone has been sitting at the Willard with some of these same Oath Keepers earlier that morning. And, and both Alex Jones and Roger Stone, obviously get you directly to Donald Trump.

Brad Friedman 39:29

Perfect. Because I’ve got just a minute or two left here, Marcy, and I want to ask you sort of a lightning round thing. The the other nut that hasn’t really been cracked, at least by the committee, is that Willard war room? What went on at that hotel near the White House between I guess, Flynn, Bannon, Eastman, Giuliani and others. The committee has not dealt with that at all. Is it because they do not know yet they haven’t cracked that yet? What do you know about out the Willard war room and what went on there that we should know about? Or is it still a black hole in all of this for you for the committee and everyone else?

Marcy Wheeler 40:09

No. I mean, there’s been great reporting, and they’re trying to get the documentary films because all these people are narcissists. And they’re, they’re tracked by documentary, people all the time

Brad Friedman 40:18

Was there a camera, were there cameras inside the Willard war room?

Marcy Wheeler 40:23

On Stone, but like Stone ditched his documentary team at a key moment on January 5, for example, by himself at a time, at the exact same moment, the Proud Boys are secretly meeting with people to plan for the next day. We don’t know who that is. I mean, look, this is the problem with people bragging about how well January 6 is doing is those people in like, To a one the people in the Willard are all liars.

Brad Friedman 40:51


Marcy Wheeler 40:51

And some of them pled the fifth and some of them, you know, some of them probably didn’t tell the full truth in their hearings. DOJ actually has a few people who they’ve prosecuted who they claim cooperated, you know, I think they probably got a too easy deal. But but they do have people who were in the Willard who have already been you know, who are well into prosecution or have actually even been sentenced gotten him by the name of Brandon Straka. They said cooperated, gave them very important information in February of 2021. About Ali Alexander about the Stop the Steal listserv, He who did he sit next, next with next to at the at the rally at Trump’s speech? Mike Flynn. Who did he walk back to the Willard with before he went to the insurrection? Mike Flynn. So here’s a guy who was at the Willard between the speech and the insurrection that was given a deal on was given a kind of misdemeanor cooperation deal that they’re doing based on stuff he told DOJ in February and March of 2021. I you know, I think he got probably too good deal. But there are a number of people there about seven or eight people like that, that are all flying under the radar for the people who are focused just on the January 6 committee, and those are the people that are getting DOJ to places that the January 6 committee is not getting.

Brad Friedman 42:13

Gotcha. Two quick lightning round questions. Donald Ayer who served as Ronald Reagan’s Deputy Solicitor General and George HW Bush’s deputy AG, along with a couple of other federal prosecutors wrote a piece in the Atlantic. Today, headline January 6 was Trump’s project all along and the Department of Justice now has more than enough evidence to prosecute him for it. Do Do you have confidence that Merrick Garland and the leadership at the DOJ know that now and that in fact, right now, there is enough to move forward with prosecution of Donald J. Trump?

Paul Spella / The Atlantic; Getty

Marcy Wheeler 42:55

I think there is plenty of evidence to prove that Donald, Donald J. Trump committed conspired and himself did obstruct the vote certification on January 6. I think DOJ will not charge it. Which is different until they get a couple of more pieces in place because they need those people they need a Rudy, a Roger Stone, a Mark Meadows, a Pat Cipollini, right, and they can fit you know, I think Pat Cipollini probably is gonna get a big fat subpoena from DOJ. Because what he said already, and he gets you, you know, he isn’t in the same legal jeopardy as the others. And so, I think, honestly, it’s not going to happen tomorrow. It’s going to happen six months from now that’s not as soon as people want. But I do think those pieces are coming into play.

Brad Friedman 43:51

If you think it’s gonna happen, I will take that whether it’s now or six months from now. I’ll take it. Marcy Wheeler thinks it’s going to happen at least if they get the pieces the final pieces that they need.

Marcy Wheeler 44:04

They need to get the pieces in place, like they need the Mark Meadows, Roger Stone, Rudy Giuliani, Alex Jones, those four people they need to get into place first.

Marcy Wheeler 44:12


Brad Friedman 44:12

For last question. And this you’re just welcome to give a yes or no answer. Steve Bannon’s contempt of Congress trial starts next week, as he faces as much as two years in prison for refusing to answer the lawful subpoenas of the house J 6 committee. You said this is mostly for punishment rather than to get information though it does seem like he’s got the previous hearing. They suggested that he had access to some pretty direct information from the White House as far as what was going to happen on January 6, so I guess the yes or no question. I want to ask Marcy Wheeler. Is Steve Bannon in trouble?

Brad Friedman 44:12

Good enough in

Brad Friedman 44:14

Probably more trouble than, Yeah, probably more trouble than he knows.

Brad Friedman 44:20


Marcy Wheeler 44:21

There’s other kinds of troubles floating around. I mean, even New York State is looking to prosecute him. So he’s in trouble. The question is, what kind of crazy he does to try and get out of it this time? You know, people forget that he testified to the grand jury and the Roger Stone case. It was one time that he kind of approached honesty and he did it to avoid going to jail. And so he’s a terrible, horrible liar, buffoon. But he is somebody who really wants to not go to jail.

Brad Friedman 45:30

Sad. Marcy Wheeler, independent national security journalist at empty You should follow her on the Twitters as well she is empty wheel. If you want to find out what’s actually going on in all of this. I don’t think anyone in the in the nation, she’s in Ireland. So anyone on the planet knows more about it than her Marcy always great speaking with you. I look forward to doing it again soon. Thanks, Marcy.

Marcy Wheeler 45:56

Take care.

Brad Friedman 45:57

Okay. She knows a lot of stuff.

Desi 45:59

She does!

Brad Friedman 46:00

She knows stuff.

Desi 46:00

She has a comprehensive view of all of this.

Brad Friedman 46:04

Yes. Which is why we love having her here. Okay, we do have to get out. My thanks to Marcy of course and to our producer Desi Doyen thanks Dez and thanks to all of you for spending a portion of your day or night with us. We hope we made it worth your while. If we did and you need to hear it again or anything else we’ve ever covered. You can download our programs anytime for free at Brad That’s made possible by those of you who stopped by to help us stay on your public airwaves and thank you for it drop me email if you like I’m Brad cast at Brad on Facebook’s and the Twitter’s you will find me @theBradblog and I will see you there until we see you here next time. I’m Brad Friedman. Good luck world.

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