This is a fascinating and deeply weird story just out from Politico about a little known character in the broader Trump coup story, a woman named Katherine Friess, who up until a bit more than a decade ago had a fairly conventional career in Republican politics. She’s a lawyer, or was a lawyer. (She claimed to practice law in Colorado but her license in the state is inactive.) She worked on Capitol Hill. Then she worked as a lobbyist for longtime GOP operative and lobbyist Charlie Black. Most people who knew her from those years — Black, former Sen. Larry Pressler (R) — had lost track of her. But somehow she pops up as a consultant working for Rudy Giuliani trying to overturn Trump’s 2020 defeat.
Among the many weirdnesses of the story, Friess appears to have vanished. She had a lawyer fighting the Jan 6 committee’s efforts to get her emails. But since then she’s … well, vanished. Even the Georgia election workers who sued Rudy Giuliani for defamation weren’t able to find her and they seem to have tried pretty hard. Fittingly enough, before disappearing, Friess seems to have gotten stiffed by Trump for her fees working as a fixer for Rudy Giuliani. She got paid about a thousand out of the fifteen thousand or so she billed. Such is life in the Land of Trump.
(If you’re wondering whether Katherine Friess is the daughter of Foster Friess, the longtime GOP megadonor, well, me too. It turns out she’s not. This 2021 obituary identifies Foster Friess’s four children as Traci, Stephen, Carrie and Michael. No Katherine.)
Aside from the slice of life in Land of Trump part of this, another part of this story caught my eye. Friess was pitching some kind of paid media plan for Trump in the final days before January 6th. According to Politico, Bernie Kerik (ex-con and longtime Rudy muscle) was super into it even if Rudy may have been a bit iffier on the plan. Earlier this summer Josh Kovensky and Hunter Walker reported this odd story about Kerik excitedly pressing Mark Meadows for millions of dollars to fund some secret pressure campaign to push state legislators to get on board with the coup in the week or so before January 6th. So many bottom feeders and Trump hangers-on were pitching plans and grifts in those dying days before Jan 6th that I don’t think we can say Friess’s plan was the one Kerik was hitting up Meadows for millions for. But it was certainly the kind of thing they were trying to fund. They both appear to have focused on paid media, a sort of post-election political campaign. It could even be her plan directly.