Watching Rep. Matt Gaetz waltz around the country fundraising with Marjorie Taylor Greene on their insurrection tour is frustrating. So is watching Rudy Giuliani return to his regular appearances on right-wing media. And then there’s that other Q-soaked representative, Lauren Boebert, whose role in the Jan. 6 insurrection seems to have totally slipped from the radar.
Earlier this week, Republicans showed that they were willing to police one of their own … for the sin of speaking the truth about Donald Trump. But other than Rep. Liz Cheney losing her leadership role, no one in Washington, D.C. appears to have suffered. In fact, allegiance to the Big Lie and defense of the deadly insurrection on Jan. 6 now appear to be absolutely de rigueur for all congressional Republicans.
News of Gaetz underage sexcapades, searches connected to Giuliani’s collaboration with Russian agents in Ukraine, and hints about Boebert and Greene’s connections to Jan. 6 violence may have generated momentary hope that finally—finally—someone in the Republican Party was going to pay a serious price for wiping their feet on the Constitution. But after those stories had their day in the news, it seems that each of these Trump-flavored favorites has turned their infamy into more claims that they’re being pursued by the “deep state.” In the Republican Party today, there is a word for people who pay for sex with underage girls, spread Russian propaganda to weaken the nation, and help insurgents plot to overthrow the election. They’re called “heroes.”
But just because the noise has died down doesn’t mean that any of the above are going to get away scot-free.
Gaetz’s favorite pimp agrees to testify
On Thursday, The Washington Post reported that former tax collector Joel Greenberg has reached a deal to testify in a case that includes explaining all the details behind how he and Matt Gaetz illegally used apps like Venmo to pay women for sex—including at least one who was under the age of 18 at the time.
Greenberg had been facing at least 33 charges in what the Orlando Sentinel described as “a sprawling case” in which Greenburg faces up to 10 years for a charge of sex trafficking and possibly decades more for other charges. Among other things, Greenberg is accused of “using his elected office to enrich himself, victimize a child, tar a political rival and launder cryptocurrency.” And that’s not anywhere close to a complete list.
It’s not clear how many of these charges also apply to Gaetz, but it’s known that Gaetz was present in Greenberg’s office after hours and was likely aware of a scheme in which Greenberg used his access to state databases to manufacture false IDs for underage girls. That, in addition to what appears to be a plethora of evidence that Gaetz knowingly paid for sex, solicited Greenberg to pay for sex, and paid to fly women across state lines to engage in sex, makes him absolutely vulnerable to federal charges of sex trafficking—enough to earn him several years in jail even if one of those involved was not underage.
Gaetz’s attorney continues to insist that his client is being smeared by both the FBI and Greenberg. But it seems like a case where the government literally has the receipts.
A “change of plea” hearing for Greenberg has been scheduled for Monday. It’s unclear whether any information will be available on that day that directly applies to Gaetz, but the shape of Greenberg’s revised charges should give some insight into how valuable the Department of Justice believes his testimony may be.
A federal prosecutor shuffle won’t save Giuliani
On Wednesday, CNN reported that the federal prosecutor in charge of Rudy Giuliani’s case was stepping down. In 99.9% of cases, that’s the kind of headline that sends the hearts of defendants soaring—after all, stepping down in the middle is not exactly the best sign that a prosecutor thinks they have a sure-win in a highly-publicized case. It’s the kind of announcement that often comes before a case trails off into offers involving a symbolic hand-slap or just fades into nothing.
Prosecutor Edward Diskant hasn’t just directed the investigation of Giuliani, he was in charge when Giuliani’s associates Igor Furman and Lev Parnas were indicted. It was also Diskant who indicted Steve Bannon only to have Donald Trump throw Bannon a pardon. Sticking around to nail the former head of his own office at the DOJ might seem like the kind of thing that would be irresistible to an ambitious prosecutor, especially when Diskant has clearly worked on related issues for years.
However, Diskant has been in his current role for nine years. That’s a long time for an attorney to turn down far more lucrative offers in the private sector, and it appears that one of those dangling checks has finally snagged Diskant, who is taking a position as a partner at white-collar firm McDermott Will & Emery. Having spent nine years catching big-name crooks, Diskant will now make far, far more money defending them.
Giuliani’s case will slide over to prosecutor Rebekah Donaleski, who has been one of the lead investigators on his case all along. There are some good reasons to feel like this isn’t a signal that things are about to go away for the head of Trump’s legal team.
One of those is the pacing. It may seem like things are proceeding slowly, but Diskant apparently authorized the investigation of Giuliani more than two years ago. It wasn’t until the two weeks ago that the FBI raided Giuliani’s home and office and this investigation tipped into high gear. That may very well correspond to the hand-off from Diskant to Donaleski.
And if Giuliani thinks this is going to go away, he certainly not showing it. As The Independent reported on Thursday, Giuliani has hired a stack of new attorneys—the same team that (unsuccessfully) defended disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein from charges of rape and sexual assault. This hire came after Giuliani made it known he was conducting a search for new legal representatives to defend him from what are expected to be upcoming charges, and after Politico reported that Giuliani had been dropping members of his paid entourage to cut down on expenses. Considering that Giuliani pays out $42,000 a month to just one of his ex-wives … he has expenses.
Back in November, Giuliani was said to be asking $20,000 a day for his work in spreading Trump’s Big Lie, but there is no indication that he ever received that money. Earlier this month, The New York Times reported that Giuliani was looking to Trump—who collected at least $250 million from people duped into supporting his efforts to reverse the election—to cover his growing legal costs. That has not happened.
Finally getting an answer on Boebert
On Thursday evening, Lauren Boebert tweeted that Biden telling people they could stop wearing masks was also the “mark of the beast” from Revelation. Because of course she did.
But in the last month, the gun-flouting Colorado rep seems to have been relatively invisible. Maybe it’s just that she’s been out-outrageoused by Marjorie Taylor Greene, who really does seem to have that Donald Trump knack for delivering a comment straight from a third-grade playground. Maybe Boebert really is embarrassed about her role in showing violent extremists the express route to the House chamber. But probably not. Especially now that Republicans in the House have declared that Jan. 6 was just an “ordinary tourist visit” conducted by “peaceful patriots.”
A week after Jan. 6, a majority of Democratic representatives were united around one thing: They wanted to the resignation of Boebert, who several representatives had seen leading groups of Trump supporters around the Capitol building in the days or hours leading up to the insurrection. The anger against Boebert was inflated because she sent a series of tweets and texts from the floor of the House that appeared to be keeping insurgents appraised of the movements of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Then in the days following the assault, Boebert was the first to double down on her support for the rioters, and one of the first to contend that the Black Lives Matter protests over the summer were a far greater “threat to the nation.” With both of these things becoming not just the standard but a required Republican position, it might seem that Boebert would be increasingly in the center of Republican statements. Except she’s not.
Of all the investigations, this does seem to be the one that has either gone cold—or at least quiet. But it’s far from over. While a number of new indictments have happened over the last two weeks, including that of an active duty Marine, it seems likely that any real investigation of Boebert’s involvement is waiting for the House to finally agree on an independent commission. An agreement for such a commission has been hard to reach … until about an hour ago.
House Homeland Security Chair Rep. Bennie Thompson and ranking Republican Rep. John Katko have announced a panel to be modeled on the 9/11 commission. This would be a 10-member panel split down the middle, half appointed by Democrats, half by Republicans. The panel would have the power to issue subpoenas—but they would have to be signed by both the Democratic chair and Republican vice chair.
The way the panel is laid out gives Republicans a veto over all subpoenas and likely turns the whole affair into little more than a place where Republicans can trot out more claims about how Trump supporters were “hugging and kissing” police on Jan. 6. Even so, there’s enough threat of real evidence being turned up that Republican leader Kevin McCarthy is yet to sign off on the commission.
Boebert isn’t exactly shaking in her cowgirl boots. But way back in January, the FBI did mention that member of Congress were definitely on their radar. If nothing else, getting this commission out of the way could open the door for the DOJ to conduct its own investigation of House members on Jan. 6.
Friday, May 14, 2021 · 6:46:47 PM +00:00
The plea agreement for Joel Greenberg has been submitted. The agreement requires Greenberg to plead guilty to six counts — including the charge of sex trafficking a child, and a charge of fraud subject to up to 20 years imprisonment.
This is not good news for Gaetz.
From Daily Kos at Read More. This article is republished from DailyKos under an open content license. Read the original article at DailyKos.