On Monday’s edition of CNN’s “OutFront,” former Mike Pence homeland security adviser Olivia Troye highlighted the timing of Secret Service Assistant Director Tony Ornato’s retirement — just as House investigators want more information from him in the January 6 probe.
“I think the timing is suspect and interesting,” said Troye. “I wonder what this means, he’ll be a private citizen, what does this mean going forward as the committee hearings start up again. I actually think it’s probably best for the Secret Service that Tony Ornato is leaving. He certainly brought a lot of disgrace and shame to the people who work there. Who are great people of law enforcement that I have gotten to know. I think it will be interesting to see how these plays out, and I’m also very curious to see where his future employment will be.”
“The committee have made it clear, they believe that he is a key figure in all this who could … really shed light on the president’s mindset on the day of the insurrection and his desire to be taken to the Capitol after that speech,” said anchor Poppy Harlow, turning to former Trump Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham. “How critical do you think it is that this committee hear from him?”
“Oh, I think it’s vital that the committee hears from him,” said Grisham. “Certainly now that he’s leaving the Secret Service, it was my understanding they were going to cooperate, albeit that hasn’t happened yet. When I spoke to the January 6th Committee, I said over and over that Tony Ornato is a key person to know exactly what is going on. As deputy chief of staff for operations, you know everything that’s going on logistically, behind the scenes, and politically. You kind of have to. I think this timing is interesting, and I’m going to echo Olivia, I think it will be very interesting to see what he does next, where he goes, who he works for.”
Ornato has been a key figure disputing the testimony of former White House staffer Cassidy Hutchinson, most notably her claim that former President Donald Trump attacked a Secret Service agent who refused to drive him to the Capitol so he could join the insurrectionists. He also has faced mounting questions amid the scandal of missing text messages on Secret Service phones from the day of the attack.
Watch below or at this link.
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Comer Threatens ‘Contempt’ Despite Hunter Biden’s Lawyer Quoting Chairman’s Media Appearances
Republican House Oversight Committee Chairman Jim Comer is now threatening Hunter Biden with “contempt” of Congress if he refuses to testify behind closed doors. The President’s son has repeatedly offered to testify in public.
Abbe Lowell, the attorney with “close ties inside the Trump White House” who is now representing Hunter Biden, Wednesday morning again reiterated his demand that any testimony before the House Oversight Committee be in a public hearing, and he used Chairman Comer’s own words to make his point.
But Comer, who is moving toward impeaching President Joe Biden despite having offered no actual proof of any impeachable offense, was quick to tell Politico: “He’s been subpoenaed. We expect him to show up. They don’t get to make the rules.”
“I would expect Congress to hold the president’s son in contempt,” Comer said, if Hunter Biden refuses to testify in a closed-door session.
“As indicated in my November 28, 2023, letter,” Lowell wrote to Chairman Comer earlier on Wednesday, in a letter published by The Washington Examiner, “Mr. Biden has offered to appear at a hearing on the December 13, 2023, date you have reserved, or another date this month, to answer any question pertinent and relevant to the subject matter stated in your November 8, 2023, letter.”
Lowell made clear his motivation for a public hearing before cameras.
“He is making this choice because the Committee has demonstrated time and again it uses closed-door sessions to manipulate, even distort, the facts and misinform the American public—a hearing would ensure transparency and truth in these proceedings.”
But Lowell cited Comer’s own words from a few of his numerous media appearances to demonstrate how the Chairman welcomed an open-door public hearing. The Daily Beast’s Justin Baragona noted that Lowell, in his letter, “again cites Comer practically daring Hunter to publicly testify.”
Lowell cited Comer’s remarks on October 31 on “The Benny Show.”
“We’re in the downhill phase of this investigation now because we have so many documents, and we can bring these people in for depositions or committee hearings, whichever they choose , . . . .”
Also, his September 13 statement on Newsmax.
“Hunter Biden is more than welcome to come in front of the committee . . . he’s invited today. We will drop everything.”
He also cited Comer’s “November 8, 2023, statement in your cover letter addressed to me: ‘Given your client’s willingness to address this investigation publicly up to this point, we would expect him to be willing to testify before Congress.”
(Emphasis included in Lowell’s letter.)
“We look forward to working out the schedule,” Lowell concluded.
Jim Comer Decimated by NBC Reporter in ‘Under Two Minutes’
Republican House Oversight Committee Chair Jim Comer melted down in an interview with NBC News Capitol Hill correspondent Ryan Nobles on Tuesday as he once again appeared unable to prove President Joe Biden engaged in money laundering or other illicit acts.
“So sir, there were the two checks,” Nobles told Comer (video below), “the $40,000 check and the $200,000 check that came from the president’s son and into the President’s bank account. There was also subsequent bank records, which were provided through the [Oversight] Committee, that demonstrate that there were also subsequent pieces of information that went from the President to the president’s son.”
Comer repeatedly denied Nobles account.
“That is not true,” Comer claimed.
“So that you’re saying that that information has been made up then?” Nobles tried to confirm. “Where did that information come from? That came from the Committee.”
“I don’t know,” Comer claimed. “We haven’t seen that information.”
“That is Committee information that is collected from the bank records that your committee has obtained,” Nobles, in something of a “Perry Mason” moment, informed Chairman Comer.
“Just show the check,” Comer insisted.
“Do you have a canceled check for every wire transfer that’s ever come into your account?” Nobles asked.
“Yes,” Comer declared.
“And that’s what has been shown, there is bank records that demonstrate an exact same amount of money,” Nobles explained, as Comer talked over him.
“Are you saying, okay, sir, are you saying those bank records do not exist?” Nobles pressed, “That show the money leaving the President’s account and into his son’s?”
“They were money laundering. You see wires going all over the –” Comer charged.
“Sir, answer this specific question: Is there a bank record that demonstrates the exact amount of money that came from the President’s account into his son’s account that matches the checks that then went back to him? Does that exist? Yes or no?”
“No, no!” Comer blared. “There’s money coming from a law firm.”
“That doesn’t exist? That doesn’t exist, sir?” Nobles asked.
“It does not exist. It’s coming from a law firm. Who put who put the money in the law firm? How do you know the money came from Joe Biden? It could have come from one of Hunter shell companies. You have no idea,” Comer replied.
“Okay. So you are saying that that money that that money exists?” Nobles, making his case, concluded. “That transfer does exist there in the bank records that you and your committee –”
“No!” Comer then declared. “You don’t know what that transfer is.”
Tim Mulvey, the former communications director for the U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack responded to the clip, writing: “In my experience, when a chairman goes on tv and can’t answer even the most basic questions about ‘blockbuster’ evidence without utterly unraveling, it might not be the strongest case.”
“In under two minutes,” wrote Adam Cohen of Lawyers for Good Government, “James Comer goes from checks that confirm harmless transactions between Joe and Hunter Biden ‘do not exist’ To ‘they exist, but we claim they might be suspicious.'”
White House spokesman Ian Sams posted the clip on social media late Tuesday night, with a snarky comment.
Watch the video below or at this link.
— Ian Sams (@IanSams46) December 6, 2023
‘What Bible Is He Reading?’: Morning Joe Trashes Mike Johnson for ‘Lie After Lie’ to ‘Keep His Job’
The Louisiana Republican, who led a legal effort among House Republicans to invalidate Donald Trump’s 2020 election loss, has ordered the release of security video footage from the U.S. Capitol attack, but with the faces of rioters blurred out to protect them from being “retaliated against and to be charged by the DOJ.”
“Lie after lie after lie – I would love to see his Bible,” Scarborough said. “‘Look at my Bible, that’s how I live.’ Lie after lie after lie. He’s lying about transparency. Liz Cheney was saying yesterday, release all the tapes. He’s not going to release all the tapes. He’ll release selected portions of it. As far as the blurring of the faces, the FBI has all of the footage. They’ve got the footage. Who is he lying to? The press is not stupid enough to believe him. Is he insulting Republicans? Like, why would he lie like that? The FBI has all the footage, so the DOJ has all the footage. Who is he lying to? Maybe he’s just lying to himself, I don’t know. Again, it’s an interesting Bible he has there.”
A spokesperson for Johnson later clarified, saying the speaker wanted to protect participants from retaliation from unspecified non-governmental actors, but Washington Post congressional correspondent Jacqueline Alemany said his stance on Jan. 6 was clearly intended to bolster his position with the MAGA base.
“This is Johnson trying to curry favor with a growing pocket of the House GOP conference that, you know, has been campaigning on vying for freedoms for these insurrectionists,” Alemany said. “Johnson is realizing that his honeymoon is coming to an end as hardliners, especially those in the House Freedom Caucus, the same people who have been advocating for the insurrectionists, for what they have said, have claimed without evidence as the mistreatment behind bars, and this is Johnson just trying to show – even though it really, it doesn’t make all that much sense – he is behind them, and he sees them.”
According to the Department of Justice, more than 1,069 defendants have been charged in the Capitol assault, and at least 594 of them have pleaded guilty to a variety of charges. At least 98 have been convicted at trial, while another 24 have pleaded guilty.
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