Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News
It remains to be seen what will ultimately come of it, but the Jan. 6 committee’s work, at least in the eye of the public, seems to have concluded.
The efforts have been disregarded by many Republicans as a made-for-TV, one-sided affair that intended to prove a pre-conceived narrative, rather than seek the truth of what happened that day. Each installment of the hearings has seemed more like a trial in which only the plaintiff is participating than a hearing in the traditional sense.
Thursday, in what committee members have stated will be the last of its public hearings, the committee once again presented its case that then-President Donald Trump refused to intervene when rioters entered the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2020, and should be held liable for the events that transpired.
“Donald Trump knows that millions of Americans who supported him would stand up and defend our nation were it threatened,” Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, once of two Republicans on the committee, said. “They would put their lives and their freedom at stake to protect her. And he is preying on their patriotism. He is preying on their sense of justice. And on January 6th, Donald Trump turned their love of country into a weapon against our Capitol and our Constitution. He has purposely created the false impression that America is threatened by a foreign force controlling voting machines, or that a wave of tens of millions of false ballots were secretly injected into our election system, or that ballot workers have secret thumb drives and are stealing elections with them. All complete nonsense.”
The committee hearings were dominated by Cheney, though the commission is actually chaired by Mississippi Congressman Bennie Thompson, a Democrat.
Thursday’s proceedings consisted of video clips and text messages from the likes of former Trump advisor Steve Bannon, former White House counsel Pat Cipollone, and the former president’s son to build its case. It was a lengthy presentation all built around a thesis that was stated succinctly by Illinois Congressman Adam Kinzinger, the other Republican on the committee, that Trump did not act soon enough to help disperse protestors.
“The mob was accomplishing President Trump’s purpose, so of course he didn’t intervene,” Kinzinger said.
Matthew Pottinger, a deputy national security adviser under Trump, and Sarah Matthews, a deputy press secretary in his White House, both appeared in person at the hearing.
“If the president had wanted to make a statement and address the American people, he could have been on camera almost immediately,” Matthews testified. “If he had wanted to make an address from the Oval Office, we could have assembled the White House press corps within minutes.”
Matthews also accused Trump of “pouring gasoline on the fire” when protestors began entering the Capitol.
The moment of the hearing that the committee likely meant to serve as the most damaging to the public image of Trump was taped testimony from Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.), who recalled a conversation she had with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
Beutler testified that McCarthy told her that Trump had told him that the rioters were members of Antifa and not Trump supporters. According to Beutler, when McCarthy told Trump the rioters were his supporters, the then-president replied, “‘Well, Kevin, I guess they’re more upset about the election theft than you are.”
Trump has denied all claims against him, including the conversation with McCarthy about which Beutler testified.
However, as reported by Just the News, the committee seemed to purposefully turn a blind eye to any evidence that went against their narrative, including that Trump had ordered “the Pentagon to have a large military force ready to quell a disturbance” and had asked military leaders to ensure that the rally was a “safe event.”
As before, Trump spent the evening blasting the committee on his Truth Social profile.
A post that generally summarized the former president’s contention read, “1. But Crooked Hillary Clinton, Stacey Abrams, and many others, contested their Elections – and for a far longer time than I. 2. How do they know I watched on T.V.? 3. I never said that to Kevin McCarthy, who came to Mar-a-Lago to say ‘hi’ very early on (the Unselects don’t say this). So many lies and misrepresentations by the corrupt and highly partisan Unselect Committee!”
Trump also made time – before, during, and after the hearing – to question why the committee has not been tougher on Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who Trump has long attested refused his advice of boosting security at the Capitol in advance of Jan. 6.
“Why aren’t the Unselects asking Nancy Pelosi and the Mayor of D.C. to testify as to why they turned down my recommendation on January 3rd of 10,000 to 20,000 troops to stand guard at the Capitol Building on January 6th,” Trump posted prior to the hearing. “Had they followed this recommendation, there would have been no problem on January 6th!!! They must testify!”
Following the hearing, Trump added, “It’s Nancy Pelosi’s fault, she turned down the troops! Perhaps she was disengaged – maybe looking for her husband!”
With the public hearings now concluded, the next steps for the committee will be to decide what, if any, criminal recommendations to make about Trump or his surrogates to the Justice Department.
Cheney has previously indicated that numerous recommendations might be made, but it remains unclear when or if the committee will make these or if Attorney General Merrick Garland will act upon the committee’s advice if it is given.
In the short and long term, Democrats and anti-Trump Republicans will no doubt use the proceedings to bolster attacks on the former president and the candidates he has or will endorse on the campaign trail.