Let’s try this on Saturday afternoon instead of at the same time as the zoom. If anybody is snowed in, maybe this is the perfect time for book club!
For today, let’s play catch-up with a general discussion of the book and discuss the Jan 6 insurrection and what surprised you the most about the book.
I’ll share a few questions to get us started. If the questions are useful, great, if not jump in with your own thoughts.
What did you learn from the book that you didn’t know about before you read it? For me, the most shocking thing was reading about Robert Mueller, and how far he had fallen.
How do you view the January 6 riot at the Capitol? Was it an actual coup attempt? A dry run for next time? On its own terms, was it a failure or a success? What was it like to see the insurrection through Adam Schiff’s eyes? Did you learn anything new about Jan 6 from the book? What impact did reading about Jan 6 have on how you view that day?
Was reading the book helpful in processing, or understanding, the events of Jan 6? On Jan 6, 2021 I processed the whole thing as scary, and awful, and feeling that it was incomprehensible that help was not arriving. I was certain that help would arrive and that we wold prevail, but it was still intensely disturbing. But I did not realize until later just how close we came to a horrible outcome that day.
Were parts of the book hard for you to get through? Or did reading the book help to make sense of it all from a distance, when woven into a story? If you couldn’t make it through part a particular part of the book, did you skip to another chapter or choose another subject?
Do you guys have any questions for the rest of us?
I was astounded to find out that Bill Barr’s opinion was what was used to abduct Noriega, and that no one had shown any interest in Barr’s illegality before he was Stump’s AG. I don’t know why anyone thinks that he would have made a good AG. Remember when people were talking about how he was going to be “one of the adults in the room”?
Schiff is an excellent writer, and it was helpful to me for it to be laid out in a linear-ish narrative. Since reading his book, I’ve read Alexander Vindman’s Here, Right Matters and currently reading Fiona Hill’s book. I guess to try to get my arms around the entirety of the…nonsense? Horror?
I think the rioters were very much intent on staging a coup. Lucky for us so many of them got distracted by engaging in petty theft and souvenir selfies.
@brantl: Same as with the rapist supreme court judge. White men with money and influence are always assumed to be upstanding.
Good old boys club personified.
@Phylllis: What happened to Alexander Vindman is heartbreaking.
Interesting that so many people who had the courage to stand up for our democracy were immigrants or at least born in another country. Vindman and Fiona Hill are two excellent examples of that.
@Phylllis: I’ve just started Vindman’s book; Hill’s book (perhaps referred to respectively as Here and There for brevity??) is next. I hope we bookclub them on BJ!
I’m not sure how much new info I got from Schiff’s book, but reading it all at once, in first person, was powerful. It read like a campaign book, with quite a bit of his personal and political background, and it would be fine with me if he ran some day. I want a female President first, however.
At the time, I found 1/06 horrifying and wondered where the heck ANY other police/military support was. Now, the whole thing makes me angry. There was a behind-the-scenes, process-oriented coup attempt going on, for which the physical insurrection was only a cover and a pretext. We have to do something about that.
Where do we go from here? What does Adam Schiff think of the current Republican leadership?
Are the Republicans really willing to try a soft coup by controlling elections?
@Brachiator: Re: your third question, I think the answer is yes.
Re: your first question, that is the them of our NEXT meeting, both zoom and on the BJ threads. Lots to discuss there
Did you listen to the audio or watch the video of Adam Schiff on Jan 12? From the book and the zoom, i would say that he sees them similarly to the way we see them. Threats both foreign and DOMESTIC.
@WaterGirl: It’s disgusting that people like Vindman, his brother, and Marie Yovanovich were able to be drummed out of public service by TFG and his toadies.
Mike in NC
Local bozo who participated in the Jan 6 coup attempt was sentenced to 44 months in prison. Lock them all up!
@Phylllis: Yes, I was thinking of Marie Yovanovich when I spoke about the people who were so brave in standing up for our democracy. What fucking cowards so many others were.
Getting back to the whole idea of Congress as hostile work environment, how do Democrats possibly work with Republicans now? Schiff tried to address this but didn’t really iirc.
I’m personally astounded at the number of democrats (officeholders and non) who still expect them to work together. Will they have to actually hang a Democrat before enough of us decide this is bad?
When reading the book I was struck anew at how thoroughly the say anything that helps you “ethos” had permeated the GOP long before Trump. The story of McCarthy lying about Schiff’s comment on an airplane and shrugging off when Schiff confronted him sounded way too familiar. It gave me chills.
@bluegirlfromwyo: Yes, they were monsters long before we understood just how bad it is.
Mike in NC
A couple of weeks ago, Alexander Vindman guest starred on “Curb Your Enthusiasm”, where Larry David got the chance to tell him about a ‘perfect’ phone call that Larry had made to somebody.
@Mike in NC: I don’t watch the show but I like the irreverence of what you described.
I’ve been becoming even more horrified than I was last January. Chris Hayes & others have been reporting, in detail, just how they plotted to throw out millions of Democratic votes, and, even more important, how they’re making it nearly impossible for folks to vote this fall. I’ve really become even more worried than I was when I was watching the attempted coup unfold on television. Bringing last year’s nutcases to justice is great, of course, but the ReThugs on the ground right now are assiduously making it difficult for people to vote, and the gerrymandered districts are making it difficult for Democrats to win even if they can vote.
I was suspicious of Mueller’s condition at the time of his appointment. The acclaim he was accorded by the Usual Suspects was the tell.
As Mueller’s investigation muddled and meandered along my suspicions grew as to his fitness and I said so here a number of times. My observations concerning Mueller and the investigation were not well received. In fact, I was warned by an individual, who claimed to have better credentials and more experience in such matters than me, that any more mocking Mueller mutterings from me would result in the boot.
A Good Woman
Reading Schiff’s book brought it all back. However, getting it firsthand added another dimension. I am surprised at his ongoing optimism. He strikes me as an institutionalist who expected the norms and guardrails to hold, and then finally realized they didn’t and, for now at least, won’t. Yet he is determined to keep an optimistic outlook. I think the fact that Cheney is as committed to the rule of law and the Constitution despite their ideological differences gives him hope.
His take on Mueller is concerning. I don’t know what his story is, but Schiff’s description of the man he knew and the man he saw certainly suggests Mueller is in decline.
His perspective of that day appears to be initially one of shock. I was shocked, horrified, and then relieved when the insurrectionists were removed from the Capitol. I think the subsequent developements, including subpoenas, interviews and documents, reveal just how dangerous and unthinkable this was. I am willing to bet the perps didn’t see this as a coup, yet that is (IMHO) EXACTLY what was happening.
I am curious how his perspective is being shaped by developments since then, especially given the work of the committee, the subpoenas, and of course the release of documents by NARA. When he met with us it ended with his encouragemen to focus on our local political reps and leadership. This is where we can have the greatest impact. I do wonder what he might recommend now to prevent a repeat of Jan 6.
A Good Woman
Are we facing a situation similar to Germany in WWII in which the locals paid little or no attention to what was happening under their noses? And then claimed they didn’t have a clue? Is our situation analgous to that?
Jim, Foolish Literalist
@A Good Woman:
That’s how I felt. I don’t know how much I learned from the book, but reliving all those events as he narrated them (I listened to it) brought it all back, plunged me back into that feeling of extended disbelief that trump got away with it, that Republicans got away with letting him get away with it.
One thing I hadn’t heard: Schiff says the informed gossip on Capitol Hill was that McConnell was quietly supportive of the second impeachment. I always thought that if The Beast had stroked out on the gold-plated crapper and left Pence to appoint judges, the only person happier than Melanie would’ve been McConnell.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
as to Mueller: Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Adam Schiff and Jamie Raskin couldn’t make the American people care enough about trump’s manifest and manifold crimes and corruption to end his political career, or make Republicans pay a sufficient political price for enabling them. Why do people think some younger and more vigorous version of Mueller could? It’s all out there. Everybody who cares, knows, and a lot of people who know don’t care.
@bluegirlfromwyo: Re hostile workplaces-we’re not quite at the state described in The Field of Blood* in the run-up to the Civil War, but where we are isn’t good.
*Would make another good BJ book read.
Marie Yovanovitch has written a book too! “Lessons From the Edge: A Memoir” is due out on March 15, 2022. Looking forward to reading it – having already read, with great interest, Here (Vindman), There (Hill), and Midnight (Schiff).
Hat tip to stinger for the shorthand. :-)
I think their downfall was a complete and utter lack of leadership. The numbers they had, their idea that violence was great, their political leanings, those were all there for them. But even with the planning from the top of the heap of shitsters, they had no actual leadership. But even if they had that though it likely would have still been only a slightly more organized disaster, due to the participants.
I think about Rep Schiff writing about being able to work with some of the Republican reps to get stuff done. I wonder if someone like Nunes might have continued to be merely unexceptional if the opportunity to be a henchman hadn’t presented itself. Was Nunes seduced by the thrill of sneaking onto to the White House grounds to seek favor, the banality of becoming an informant, the thrill of skulking in bushes? And now Nunes has his reward. Andy Borowitz made me laugh out loud with a title–Nunes really thinks Trump is going to pay him.
@A Good Woman:
Good question and I’m not sure. My working theory is our current state is because virtually every democratic voting normie knows a Republican who they personally like. The 1/6 crowd on TV was largely a freak show and Biden ended up being seated. If I get along with my GOP neighbor, I think that they’re different from that freak show and it turned out fine anyway so life moves on. I don’t think the answer to your question is clear yet but they don’t seem to notice that their votes may not count. I hope we won’t have to find out if we’re in an analogous situation to the “ignorant” Germans. I’m afraid we will.
That’s what they have been doing for decades and they are far more desperate and monied at this point. All signs point to absolutely.
I have been deep in tax related stuff. I really wanted to participate or to follow, but just got too busy. I have been trying to dip into threads now and again. I saw an early interview and was really impressed. Very happy to see that he had time for readers here.
@Jim, Foolish Literalist: I keep harping on the fact that whatever Mueller’s personal situation, his team put all the evidence there into two thick volumes. The job was done. Mueller was not the AG and had no power to force DoJ or Congress to do anything about it.
@Phylllis: Agreed. No one’s drawing weapons yet. I think Boebert and Taylor Greene would be brandishing them without Pelosi keeping order though.
Bob Mueller did not have a friendly environment to work in. Then he was cut off before he was finished as well. I happened to have watched those who had worked with him leave the office permanently and dodge speaking to the press. I am late here by getting distracted by Adam at a bookstore in CA on FB. He had some misspelled words in his writing and is getting people wanting to work for him.
What I was really surprised was how the beginning of the book took me right back to January 6 from start to finish.
@Ruckus: Absolutely. A convocation of Jared Kushner’s, with no clue how to actually do the work.
When you are investigating a CEO, who has not been suspended for the duration of the investigation, If you are too passive and/or are too deliberate, you are going to get your ass handed to you. Unless, you get extremely lucky and a Butterfield pops up. Been there and have the teeth marks to show for it.
These two remind me of women I know who have run out to get concealed carry permits because some random guy walked past their vehicle and looked ‘suspicious’ in the Wal Mart parking lot one day. It would take them a good half hour to get the weapon out of the bottom of their crap-filled Vera Bradley tote bag, so I don’t worry so much for my safety when I’m around them.
I think what surprised me most in reading the book was just how damning everything is when it’s all put together in one place, and how much people in Congress, particularly those on Intelligence committees, knew about everything. It’s clear that Schiff still can’t reveal everything he learned there, but it’s incredibly damning for the Republicans who know what he knows and just ignore it or pretend they don’t know it.
@HRA: Ooh. Link to the FB bookstore event? They sometimes put them up after.
@Elizabelle: I am not too good at this ao I will try it this way. In the Barnes and Noble at the Grove, just wondered in and signed a few copies of my book, Midnight in Washington. If your looking for an autographed copy, this is a good place to get one. If your not in the LA area, consider picking up a copy online. Would love to hear your thoughts! adamschiff.com/midnight-in-washington/
Everybody who has ever worked in Corporate, knows an asshole or of an asshole, or a bunch of assholes, you just can’t “work with”, for success.
Unlike Corporate, but also like Corporate, both the Media and a largish block of low information voters, have a Bipartisan fetish,
In both Corporate and Politics, one pay’s lip service to the concept in public, while “ignoring it” in actions.
Basically, ignore what “they say”, look at what they do. Did they make noises about reaching out across the isle, good, did they straight line vote, better.
I thought you were talking about Adam Silverman. He usually doesn’t want people to correct his spelling.
I think I’d like to ask… There were multiple armed protests of people trying to break into state capitol buildings in 2020/21, a narrowly averted kidnapping of the MI governor, and the 1/6 insurrection. Many on this blog have expressed a concern that 1/6 was merely one of many incidents in a larger plan to intimidate and disrupt the workings of government. Does the Congressman believe that there are more incidents being planned, who are the big players, and how vulnerable does he think campaigning and/or in-person voting may get for the mid-terms?
@zhena gogolia: You made me laugh by remembering when I once told our Adam I had never heard of anyone making that dish of (insert any recipe) like it that way. So also do not say anything about his cooking.
Gabbie Giffords nearly lost her life because members of the media and press think nothing of egging on their followers to murder. The GOP has been doing this for 50 years already with abortion providers. They have literally made it acceptable to put a hit out on someone in order to accomplish their political goals. It was only a matter of time until they decided push it even further. The ONLY reason 1/6 is shocking to any of them was that their White male GOP colleagues were threatened too. But you can see how long that lasted with Mitt and Dence. It’s hohum yesterday’s news now. Within weeks of the insurrection they had already pivoted to blaming Pelosi for it – obviously she was asking for it.
I’m not sure what it will take for the GOP to grasp that they are not in control of this mob anymore. If Dence or Mittens or even a true believer had gotten killed, they would have still found someone else to blame for their complicit criminal behavior.
@Brachiator: When you get time… you can still find the audio and the video at the link in the sidebar.
Midnight In Washington Book Club
This thread is also there so folks can read it and comment on it long after it’s off the front page, if they want to.
@artem1s: I don’t think the media or the GOP will ever recognize that they have no control of the mob. My comment comes from the number of Democratic voters and officeholders who think those who appease this mob are people we can work with.
Oh, good to know! I was really hoping she would! Too bad she didn’t name it Lessons Everywhere. :-)
@A Good Woman: I think the fact that Cheney is as committed to the rule of law and the Constitution despite their ideological differences gives him hope. Cheney isn’t committed to either; she is committed to what she says the law is, and what she wants it to do, and she will pollute it to her own ends, just like her father, Darth, did.