There is a part of the 1/6 insurrection that no one has wanted to delve into too, too deeply: the role of the Pentagon... the Trump Pentagon. Do you imagine the forces of institutional coercion are-- or will ever be-- on our side? You know who the 3 Percenters are, right? Trump put some of his most vicious, amoral partisans into the Pentagon chain of command in the last month of his criminal regime. It made a lot of people very nervous but commanders of troops assured members of Congress that no illegal orders would be obeyed-- like starting a "wag the dog" war or assaulting his domestic "enemies." But maybe what Trump had in mind wasn't doing something-- but not doing something. At least the Pentagon didn't physically help the insurrectionists break down the barricades on Capitol Hill... last time. Do you wonder why Michael Flynn isn't in prison? Maybe you should wonder why his brother Charles wasn't arrested, tried and put in front of a firing squad-- along with last minute Trump sociopaths put into the Pentagon chain of command just before the coup attempt-- Kashyap "Kash" Patel, Ezra Cohen-Watnick, Doug MacGregor, Michael Ellis, Antony Tata, Christopher Miller, Ryan McCarthy...
Today, before dawn, Politico published a piece, 'Absolute liars': Ex-D.C. Guard official says generals lied to Congress about Jan. 6, by Betsy Woodruff Swan and Meridith McGraw. They wrote that in a 36-page memo, former National Guard Col. Earl Matthews, who held high-level National Security Council and Pentagon roles during the Trump administration, slammed the Pentagon's inspector general, Trumpist radical Walter Piatt for what he calls an error-riddled report that protects a top Army official, Flynn's whack-job brother Charles, who argued against sending the National Guard to the Capitol on Jan. 6, delaying the insurrection response for hours. "On Jan. 6," wrote Swan and McGraw, "Matthews was serving as the top attorney to Maj. Gen. William Walker, then commanding general of the D.C. National Guard. Matthews’ memo defends the Capitol attack response by Walker, who now serves as the House sergeant at arms, amplifying Walker's previous congressional testimony about the hours-long delay in the military’s order for the D.C. National Guard to deploy to the riot scene. 'Every leader in the D.C. Guard wanted to respond and knew they could respond to the riot at the seat of government' before they were given clearance to do so on Jan. 6, Matthews’ memo reads. Instead, he said, D.C. guard officials 'set [sic] stunned watching in the Armory' during the first hours of the attack on Congress during its certification of the 2020 election results."
Matthews' memo levels major accusations: that Flynn and Piatt lied to Congress about their response to pleas for the D.C. Guard to quickly be deployed on Jan. 6; that the Pentagon inspector general’s November report on Army leadership’s response to the attack was “replete with factual inaccuracies”; and that the Army has created its own closely held revisionist document about the Capitol riot that’s “worthy of the best Stalinist or North Korea propagandist.”
...Matthews’ memo begins by focusing on a 2:30 p.m. conference call on Jan. 6 that included senior military and law enforcement officials, himself and Walker among them. Then-Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund “pleaded” on the call for the immediate deployment of the National Guard to the Capitol, Matthews recalled, saying that rioters had breached the building’s perimeter. Walker has also told Congress that Sund made that plea then. According to Matthews, Flynn and Piatt both opposed the move.
At the time, Piatt was the director of Army staff, one of the top generals in the Pentagon, and Flynn was the Army’s director of operations. The two men were the highest-ranking Army officials who spoke on the 2:30 call, according to Matthews.
“LTG Piatt stated that it would not be his best military advice to recommend to the Secretary of the Army that the D.C. National Guard be allowed to deploy to the Capitol at that time,” Matthews wrote, adding: “LTGs Piatt and Flynn stated that the optics of having uniformed military personnel deployed to the U.S. Capitol would not be good."
Piatt and Flynn suggested instead that Guardsmen take over D.C. police officers’ traffic duties so those officers could head to the Capitol, Matthews continues.
In addition to Matthews’ memo, Politico also obtained a document produced by a D.C. Guard official and dated Jan. 7 that lays out a timeline of Jan. 6. The D.C. Guard timeline, a separate document whose author took notes during the call, also said that Piatt and Flynn at 2:37 p.m. “recommended for DC Guard to standby,” rather than immediately deploying to the Capitol during the riot.
Four minutes later, according to that Guard timeline, Flynn again “advised D.C. National Guard to standby until the request has been routed” to then-Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy and then-acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller.
Everyone on the call was “astounded” except Piatt and Flynn, Matthews wrote.
Both men, however, later denied to Congress that they had said the Guard shouldn’t deploy to the Capitol.
In response to a written question from House Oversight Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) in June about whether Piatt advised anyone in the Guard’s chain of command not to deploy directly to the Capitol, Piatt wrote, “At no point on January 6 did I tell anyone that the D.C. National Guard should not deploy directly to the Capitol.”
That statement, Matthews says in his memo, is “false and misleading.”
Walker also testified to Congress in March that Piatt and Flynn expressed concerns about “optics.”
Further, Flynn told Maloney that he “never expressed a concern about the visuals, image, or public perception of" sending Guardsmen to the Capitol.
That answer, Matthews says in his memo, is “outright perjury.”
Matthews wrote that he and Walker “heard Flynn identify himself and unmistakably heard him say that optics of a National Guard presence on Capitol Hill was an issue for him. That it would not look good. Either Piatt or Flynn mentioned ‘peaceful protestors.’”
Flynn’s brother, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, promulgated a host of conspiracy theories in the lead-up to Jan. 6 and called for former President Donald Trump to impose martial law. Matthews’ memo does not insinuate that Gen. Charles Flynn’s actions on Jan. 6 were shaped by his brother, who has been subpoenaed by the select committee, and does not mention Michael Flynn.
The two generals told the House oversight committee that the Guard wasn’t ready to respond to the chaos that day, and Flynn testified to the House Oversight Committee in June that a “team of over 40 officers and non-commissioned officers immediately worked to recall the 154 D.C. National Guard personnel from their current missions, reorganize them, re-equip them, and begin to redeploy them to the Capitol.”
Matthews says that assertion “constituted the willful deception of Congress.”
“If it does not constitute the willful and deliberate misleading of Congress, then nothing does,” Matthews wrote of Flynn’s statement. “Flynn was referring to 154 D.C. Guardsmen who were already on duty, were trained in civil disturbance response, already had area familiarization with Washington, DC, were properly kitted and were delayed only because of inaction and inertia at the Pentagon.”
In other words, Matthews indicates, the idea that it took 40 officers to get 154 National Guard personnel ready to go to the Capitol beggars belief.
Every D.C. Guard leader was desperate to get to the Capitol to help, Matthews writes-- then stunned by the delay in deployment. Responding to civil unrest in Washington is “a foundational mission, a statutory mission of the D.C. National Guard,” his memo notes.
“Their attitude was ‘This is What We Do.’ ‘Send Me,’” the memo continues.
It adds that the previous summer, when civil unrest unfolded in the wake of the police murder of George Floyd, the D.C. Guard was deployed numerous times to protect federal buildings. Its belated mobilization on Jan. 6, Matthews continues, was a jarring break from the norm.
Importantly, Matthews’ memo alone paints an incomplete picture of how the Army’s top leadership responded to Jan. 6. Matthews indicates he did not have firsthand knowledge of what the Army Secretary was doing for much of the afternoon-- and, in fact, says D.C. National Guard leaders at times had trouble finding him.
...Matthews' memo also homes in on a document that Army officials have referenced but never fully revealed, titled “Report of the Army’s Operations on January 6 2021." In Matthews' view, it lays out a fabricated timeline in a bid to burnish the Army's reputation.
According to Matthews, Piatt helped produce the document after a series of bruising congressional hearings and news reports that damaged the reputations of Army senior leadership-- among them, a Washington Post report that the Army falsely denied Flynn’s participation in the 2:30 p.m. phone call.
“In March 2021, MG Walker was told by a friend that LTG Piatt was so upset with MG Walker that he directed the development of an Army ‘White Paper’ to retell events of 6 January in a light more favorable to LTGs Flynn, Piatt, Secretary McCarthy and the Army Staff,” Matthews writes.
The Army Staff ultimately sought “to create an alternate history which would be the Army’s official recollection of events,” Matthews continues, adding: “The end product, a revisionist tract worthy of the best Stalinist or North Korea propagandist, was close hold," kept secret from the public.
But members of Congress have seen the document. Piatt referenced it during a House Oversight Committee hearing in June when asked about conflicting recollections of the afternoon of Jan. 6.
“I would refer to the U.S. Army Report of Operations on January 6 that we submitted to this committee,” Piatt told lawmakers. “What the D.C. National Guard did in those short hours was extraordinary. Now when people’s lives are on the line, two minutes is too long. But we were not positioned to respond to that urgent request. We had to re-prepare so we would send them in prepared for... this new mission.”
Instead of being arrested and shot as a traitor, Flynn was made commanding general of the U.S. Army Pacific. Can the congressional Democrats protect us from this? Do they have the political will to even try?