Talk (On Background) Is Cheap

Earlier this month, Ginni Thomas, wife of Justice Clarence Thomas, made a big show of her willingness and desire to march right up to Capitol Hill and clear her good name before the Jan. 6th investigation committee. Yesterday, her lawyer said the committee just turns out to be too biased. So she won't be testifying after all.

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Two White House security officials who allegedly scuffled with the President in the presidential limousine are now denying through intermediaries what Cassidy Hutchinson said under oath in yesterday's hearing. But Ginni Thomas's switcheroo is a good reminder that talk — or rather claims through intermediaries — is cheap. People who claim they are just champing at the bit to testify usually end up refusing to testify.

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Indeed, it's fair to question the journalistic decisions behind some of these reports. Most of us had never heard of Cassidy Hutchinson until a few days ago. Her claims definitely deserve scrutiny. But testimony under oath is the price of entry to this conversation. Indeed, the two men in question, Tony Ornato and Bobby Engel, have been able to get denials into print without even agreeing to speak on the record. In other words, they've refused to call up reporters and say, "I never said what she claims and the incident did not happen." They have been able to get reporters to report that people 'familiar with their thinking' say they will deny it. I assure you: They could get their on-the-record quotes into print at the drop of a hat. All it takes is a phone call.

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It is worth noting that one of the men has already been accused of lying on Trump's behalf and both had a reputation of working as Trump's enablers during his presidency. Indeed, day two reports suggest that the purported denials are perhaps more semantic than substantive, denying that the President "assaulted" the lead Secret Service agent as opposed to denying that there was an irate confrontation in the limousine in which the President demanded to be taking to the Capitol.

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Maybe these two will testify. Maybe the story is different than what Hutchinson claimed. But until the two are willing at least to speak on the record, it's really all meaningless. And her claims are more credible until these two agree to testify about this incident under oath.

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