Omicron having driven most of my clientele back into their little Zoom boxes, Gretchen rescheduled the remainder of the consultations to be held during the month of January in my downtown Washington DC office for Mondays and Wednesdays. Even then, there are significant gaps in those days which she has been filling with remote sessions of one sort or another, or, as was the case today, not much of anything. I was using one of the latter instances as an opportunity to refine an econometric model of the integrated circuit market under various international sanction and military invasion scenarios involving Taiwan and the Peoples Republic of China when an IM from Gretchen popped up on my computer monitor, right in the middle of my multi-variant partial differential equations.
Now, we have an intercom of course, but she says she prefers IM because it’s quiet. True, but since I was sitting there by myself with no client whose conversation might be interrupted, that rationale seems somewhat gratuitous, IMHO. I think she just likes IM because she considers office intercoms to be “so pre-Internet,” as she puts it, which to her means old fashioned on a par with the Marconi wireless telegraph.
“Have you ever heard of somebody named Lauren Boebert?” the IM read.
“Yes, what about her?” I texted back.
“She’s on Line 2, asking to speak with you.” Gretchen informed me.
“OK, will pick up.” I replied.
Sheesh – forty-five seconds of typing and IM lag for what should have been a ten second exchange on the office intercom. That’s twenty-first century technology for you. When are people finally going to realize that conversation has a BAUD rate about ten times higher than texting? Let me tell you, I wouldn’t want to have conducted my consultation with Representative Boebert on IM, that’s for sure.
Boebert: Hello? Tom Collins?
Tom: Good morning Representative Boebert. How may I help you today?
Boebert: Um… I hear you give, ah…
Tom: Yes, yes – free initial consultations for prospective new clients. What’s on your mind?
Boebert: Well, uh, I have this friend…
Tom: A personal friend?
Boebert: Kind of… it’s another member of Congress, actually.
Tom: And they have a problem you want advice about?
Boebert: Yes, yes, that’s it, exactly.
Tom: I see… You… have a friend... with a problem.
Tom: And you’re calling me for advice about what they should do.
Tom: Well, I must say, that’s very… thoughtful of you.
Boebert: Gee, thanks.
Tom: And you’re going to describe your… friend’s problem to me?
Tom: And then, you’re going to tell them what I said.
Boebert: Well, um, I suppose I could. I mean, I might as well, right?
Tom: Are you going to tell them I said it, or are you going to pretend that you came up with the advice I am about to give you on your own?
Boebert: You mean, you want credit for it?
Tom: Not necessarily; I’m just asking.
Boebert: Well, I suppose it depends of what the advice is.
Tom: Of course. May I ask how you got my office telephone number?
Boebert: Rand Paul gave it to me.
Tom: Another referral. I must remember to thank him. Very well, what’s up?
Boebert: Well, they say you’re the smartest person in Washington…
Tom: Which is a lot like being the tallest building in Baltimore.
Boebert: Baltimore? I don’t recall it having a reputation for particularly tall buildings.
Tom: It’s doesn’t. So what’s your problem?
Boebert: Um, yeah, my friend is a Republican…
Tom: Fortunately, that’s not incurable – in some cases, at least. This friend of yours, they aren’t by any chance an ardent supporter of Donald Trump, are they?
Boebert: Well, uh, practically everybody I know is.
Tom: Now, that might not be treatable, unfortunately. What other serious problems do they have?
Boebert: Um, well, it’s like… the totally partisan Democrat dominated January 6 Committee is investigating them…
Tom: And let me guess – they’re worried about being called upon to testify?
Boebert: Why yes, sure they are.
Tom: And perhaps, equally as concerned about having to turn over specific documents that might… shall we say… incriminate them for insurrection, inciting a riot…
Boebert: Yeah, yeah, stuff like that.
Tom: … obstruction of Congress, terrorism…
Boebert: Uh-huh, right…
Tom: … conspiracy to overthrow the federal government, sedition, treason…
Boebert: Yes! Yes! Exactly! My friend is very concerned that the partisan Democrats and fake news media and Biden’s totally biased and unfair Department of Justice are going to gang up and railroad them into federal prison or something!
Tom: But of course, you’re not the least bit concerned, because as of January 6, 2021, you had been a member of Congress for less than a week.
Boebert: That’s right!
Tom: And therefore you could not possibly, conceivably, feasibly, plausibly have the least scintilla of responsibility for what happened at the United States Capitol that day.
Tom: You, a proud, honest, ethical member of Congress representing representing Colorado’s Third District.
Tom: Where you own a restaurant very appropriately named Shooters Grill, in the very appropriately named town of Rifle, where the waitstaff all run around armed with pistols.
Boebert: Rifle’s an open-carry town!
Tom: Also very appropriate. Love guns, do you?
Boebert: I love the Second Amendment! And the United States of America!
Tom: I’m sure you do. How about your… friend?
Boebert: They love guns and America, too! What are you getting at?
Tom: And you believe the Democrats stole the 2020 presidential election?
Boebert: Of course I do!
Tom: And so does your friend?
Tom: Okay, then, before we proceed any further, can you explain something to me?
Tom: You were elected to Congress in 2020 on the same paper ballots that had the votes for the presidential election recorded on them, weren’t you?
Boebert: Um… yes.
Tom: And your election to Congress is legitimate, is it not?
Boebert: You bet it is!
Tom: As I suspected you would say. And all the 2020 election ballots cast in the state of Colorado were either mail-in paper ballots, hand cast paper ballots or paper ballots produced by a ballot-marking device to accommodate persons with disabilities, correct?
Boebert: Okay, yeah, and?
Tom: And the people of Colorado elected you to Congress in 2020.
Boebert: They certainly did. So what?
Tom: So those same voters, using those same paper ballots, elected Joe Biden president of the United States. Can you explain how the same paper ballot filled out by the same voter can be fraudulent at the top, where the vote for president is recorded, and legitimate at the bottom, where the vote for you to become a congressional representative is recorded?
Boebert: I can tell you that Mark Meadows had that all figured out right after the election in November, 2020, that’s what I can tell you!
Tom: Oh, so you subscribe to his theories, put forth in his memorandum-slash-PowerPoint slide deck entitled Election Fraud, Foreign Interference and Options for 6 January, that the Communist Chinese systematically gained control over the US election system?
Boebert: I donno, whatever Mark Meadows’ memo said.
Tom: When did you become aware of the memo’s contents?
Boebert: I don’t recall.
Tom: But you recall what it contained?
Boebert: From our conversation so far, it sounds like you have a photographic memory. Not everybody has one, you know.
Tom: As I know all too well. So you believe that China, quote, “Has leveraged financial, non-governmental and foreign allies including Venezuela to acquire influence and control US voting infrastructure in at least twenty-eight states?”
Boebert: If that’s what the memo says, I might.
Tom: It does. Not very grammatically, but verbatim, that’s what it says.
Boebert: It says that the presidential election was stolen; everyone knows that. It was stolen by the Democrats.
Tom: It also says that declaration of a state of National Security Emergency is necessary because of that imagined set of circumstances.
Boebert: It says what it says, I’m sure.
Tom: And it says that, quote, “If you count the paper ballots in each state Trump wins overwhelmingly.”
Boebert: Okay, if it says that, I think it’s true!
Tom: It wasn’t true in Colorado.
Boebert: Stop picking on my state!
Tom: I’m not picking on Colorado, I’m just observing that all the ballots in Colorado were paper ballots and there we have an example where, if you count them all, Biden wins the presidential contest, fifty-five percent to forty-two percent, over Donald Trump. And those are the very same physical, hard-copy, paper ballots that you contend legitimately elected you to Congress.
Boebert: And stop trying to confuse me with your lame-stream media, fake news ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, New York Times, Washington Post so-called facts, too! We Republicans have our own, alternative facts, and those are the right facts; in fact, those are the facts that God believes!
Tom: I’m sure. And your… friend… believes those alternative facts too, I presume?
Boebert: They do, and like I said, they’re really worried about the January 6 Committee going after their records, their appointment logs, their emails, their telephone call meta-data, their laptops, their smart phone memory chips, their browser histories, and a whole bunch of other stuff, on some Democrat witch-hunt fishing trip looking for evidence that shouldn’t even have been left there in the first place!
Tom: And justifiably so. The January 6 Committee has already uncovered detailed disclosures outlining involvement of White House staff and members of Congress in advanced planning of the attempted coup.
Boebert: Attempted coup?
Tom: Well, what would you call it?
Boebert: Tourists visiting the US Capitol!
Tom: Tourists armed with bear spray?
Boebert: Hey, the Capitol is surrounded by the National Mall, that that’s a National Park, and National Parks have bears in them, don’t they?
Tom: Well, I suppose there’s no way to argue with logic like that. Tell me, did your… friend give any of the January 6… visitors… any prior, shall we say… tours… of the Capitol in the weeks and months leading up to the… incident?
Boebert: Uh, maybe they did. I mean, why not? If a member of Congress wants to receive a delegation of their constituents…
Tom: Like the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers, the Boogaloos, those sorts of constituents?
Boebert: Hey, lots of people go to meet their congressional representatives wearing casual clothes, okay? Hawaiian shirts, cargo shorts, camouflage, flak jackets, Camp Auschwitz t-shirts, whatever; big deal.
Tom: And show them around, pointing out all the interesting aspects of the Capitol, such as which entrances are lightly guarded, which windows don’t have reinforced glass, where various Democrat’s offices are, how to navigate through the building into the House or Senate chambers, the location of the exits to the underground emergency escape tunnels…
Boebert: They were curious! Can you blame them? They came all the way to Washington to see the place!
Tom: Naturally. And your… friend… never offered presidential pardons to anyone, in advance, for crimes they might commit upon a return visit to Washington DC, did they?
Beobert: Members of Congress can’t legally offer presidential favors to anybody, you know that.
Tom: There’s certainly no way to dispute that statement. How about speaking at rallies or other events prior to the… incident… where your friend might have said some things that could be later construed as incitements to open armed rebellion? Anything like that?
Boebert: I guess it depends on how you interpret what they said. What do you mean?
Tom: For example, if they said something like, “we have to kick people and take their names,” or “it’s time for trial by fire,” or “you have to fight like hell or you won’t have a country anymore,” or they used the code phrases like “1776 moment,” “calling all three percenters,” “America First,” “red pill,” “Kekistan,” “Day of the Rope,” “V-Dare,” “white lives matter,” or “blood of tyrants” over and over again, maybe a jury might think they intended to incite the people in their audience to break some federal felony law or another?
Boebert: I love the Second Amendment, but I also love the First Amendment almost as much.
Tom: Indubitably. Every American loves the First Amendment when they are expressing their own opinion, and the louder they do so, the more they love it. But there’s still the concept of yelling “fire” in a crowded theater. That’s not protected speech under the First Amendment, and neither is saying, “it’s time to stop talking and take back the Capitol from the socialists who stole the election.” Your… friend… didn’t say anything like that in front of a large, angry crowd of disaffected Trump supporters, did they?
Boebert: Not that I can remember.
Tom: Well, let’s hope nobody else can, either. So tell me this, then: did your… friend… ever perhaps attempt to excuse or defend the actions of the January 6… tourists?
Boebert: Could be – after all, my friend sincerely believes the people who visited the US Capitol that day did nothing wrong.
Tom: Oh, yes, certainly, I agree. Your… friend… is constitutionally entitled to their beliefs. But did any of your… friend’s… remarks indicate complicity after the fact – saying, for instance, that it’s a shame that the… Capitol visitors… didn’t actually get to hang Mike Pence?
Boebert: I’m sure Donald Trump thinks Mike Pence is a good Republican.
Tom: And Mike Pence smells better than a bucket of pig intestines left in the sun for six hours on a hot day in July, too.
Boebert: I think Mike Pence smells very nice.
Tom: Well, he does use a bit more Old Spice than he should, but I’m sure there’s a good reason for that.
And has your… friend… done anything since January 6 that would obstruct justice, such as destroying evidence, intimidating or attempting to silence witnesses to federal crimes, or lied to any law enforcement officers about any criminal occurrences or circumstances pertaining to the January 6 incident at the US Capitol?
Boebert: Not that I am aware of at this time.
Tom: Okay, then I’d say, given what you’ve told me, there’s not much cause for concern.
Boebert: “Not much cause for concern?” Can’t you do better than that?
Tom: Excuse me?
Boebert: My friend is a member of Congress. Does my friend even have to respond to the Committee?
Tom: Good question. To date, no congressional committee has ever subpoenaed a sitting member of Congress. There are no legal precedents, so whether the courts would allow it or not is anybody’s guess.
Boebert: That’s a relief – I mean, my friend will be relieved to hear that.
Tom: But even if the courts disallow subpoenas of sitting members of Congress, that could prove to be a Pyrrhic victory if the Committee decides to subpoena your… friend’s… staffers. If they provide evidence that constitutes a basis for referral of your… friend… to the Justice Department, then…
Boebert: They better not! Their careers will be over! Over, do you hear me? They will crushed like ants! Like ants! Those ungrateful… Um… I mean, doing that to my friend will probably ruin their chances of opportunities for further service to the Republican Party. And I’m sure they wouldn’t want that.
Tom: Republican Party opportunities on one hand… federal prison on the other… I don’t know, Representative Boebert, there are already plenty of congressional and white house flunkies ratting out their bosses over this business. If the Committee can use the threat of federal prison to flip your… friend’s… flunkies, then your… friend’s… physical presence, testifying before the Committee, will be unnecessary for a referral to the Justice Department. But if what you’ve told me is true, your… friend… shouldn’t have much to worry about anyway, should the January 6 Committee come calling.
Boebert: And what if some parts of it aren’t true?
Tom: Which parts?
Boebert: Any parts.
Tom: Oh, yes, well… if any… major part of the things I have mentioned is true… then there could be some very serious consequences for your… friend. But there’s an extenuating circumstance that will probably render the question moot.
Boebert: What’s that?
Tom: It is entirely possible that US Attorney General Merrick Garland may lack the necessary… shall we say… intestinal fortitude to follow through with criminal referrals from the January 6 Committee.
Boebert: Oh! Oh! Really?
Tom: On that question, however, the jury is still out, so to speak.
Boebert: Oh… And if… he does?
Tom: Madame Congressperson, if Merrick Garland does, in fact, have a pair, and your… friend… did any of those things, and there is any significant amount of proof, then…
Boebert: Okay, okay, I gotta go!
Boebert: I think… I think I need to call a… no, I mean, my friend’s lawyer… no… I mean, I think I need to call my friend and tell them to call their lawyer.
Tom: Oh, sure, by all means, do that. And feel free to call me back to continue this consultation if you wish. Free of charge, of course.
Boebert: Yeah, yeah, of course. Thanks.
Tom: Have a nice day, Representative Boebert. Goodbye.