Long the king of Washington political scandals, the Watergate office, residential, and hotel complex stands to be eclipsed by “Willardgate.” Watergate lent its name to countless other political “gate” scandals due to its being the location where the Democratic National Committee headquarters was burglarized by Richard Nixon re-election henchmen, an act that ultimately brought down the administration of Richard Nixon. Willardgate, however, may replace Watergate as the granddaddy of all DC scandals because, as with Guy Fawkes Day in England, Willardgate has become synonymous with “Treason and Plot.”
The Willard Hotel, which is a mere few blocks from the White House and lies between the Executive Mansion and the Trump International Hotel, was the scene of a January 6th eve “War Council” meeting involving top Trump advisers. Documents subpoenaed by the House Select Committee on the January 6th insurrection point to the Willard War Council as planning the storming of the Capitol the next day in order to delay or suspend the certification of Joe Biden’s presidential election victory.
It is also becoming clearer that the Willard Hotel served as a nexus between the Oval Office and insurrection perpetrators, many of whom were staying at Trump’s hotel, with a few others at the J.W. Marriott Hotel, which is across 14th street from the Willard. The Willard apparently acted as a relay point for a “sneaker net” in order to limit the electronic communications of the conspirators. E-mail and phone call records could and would be made available to law enforcement as “smoking gun” evidence if the plotters’ plan failed, which, of course, it did.
An October 2, 2021 tweet by Robert Costa, the co-author of the book, “Peril,” laid out the room locations of some of the January 6th coup plotters: “Giuliani & Bannon at the Willard. Eastman & Trump in Oval, etc.” In addition to Rudolph Giuliani and Steve Bannon staying at the Willard, it is also known that John Eastman, the acting head of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and the author of a six-point plan to delay the election certification long enough for Trump to be re-installed as president, attended the Willard War Council meetings.
If the January 6th select committee has obtained the cell phone records of the coup plotters, as it has requested from various telecommunications service providers, they will show the actual shuttling that took place between the Willard, White House, and Trump International Hotel. This is where the conspirators made a monumental error. They may have believed that by physically shuttling between the three primary coup planning locations — the Willard, White House, and Trump hotel — they could hide their conversations from law enforcement eavesdroppers However, their cell phones’ constant pinging with GPS satellites, would have given away their locations by date and time during the week of January 4-8, 2021.
Other reported participants in the January 5th War Council meetings at the Willard included
Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr.; John Eastman; Mike Lindell, the MyPillow guy and notorious huckster; former Trump national security adviser Mike Flynn; White House aide Jason Miller; Alex Jones and one his since-indicted InfoWars reporters, Owen Shroyer; former Trump White House advisors Boris Epshteyn and Sebastian Gorka; Proud Boys’ liaison Roger Stone; and election litigation lawyer Sidney Powell. Also present at the Willard War Council was Eduardo Bolsonaro, the Brazilian congressman son of Brazil’s fascist president, Jair Bolsonaro. Eduardo Bolsonaro had visited the White House on January 4th, where he had a meeting with Ivanka Trump. That, alone, makes the January 6th insurrection an internationally-supported coup attempt, which ratchets up the entire affair to the status of treasonous sedition.
There is a major difference between how the Watergate and Willard have gone down in American history. The Watergate scandal demonstrated that the Nixon White House was not above the law and the affair ultimately cost Nixon his presidency. Willardgate, on the other hand, has thus far shown that Trump may get away with almost having carried out a coup. Most of the congressional Republican caucus remains loyal to Trump and Attorney General Merrick Garland has reportedly decided to “look ahead” and not at the first non-peaceful transition of presidential power in U.S. history.
Move over Watergate, Willardgate has taken your place.
Previously published in the Wayne Madsen Report.
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Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist, author and nationally-distributed columnist. A member of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) and the National Press Club. He is the editor and publisher of the Wayne Madsen Report (subscription required).