"Your Dishonor Will Remain"
Liz Cheney did a good job making the case against Trump last night. I'm anxious to hear Jamie Raskin's piece of the puzzle. Axios summed up Cheney's case with these 7 steps... this morning's distillation of what every media outlet in the country-- save Fox News, of course-- is reporting today:
Trump spread false information about the 2020 election.
Trump tried to install loyalists at the DOJ so the department would “support his fake election claims.”
Trump pressured former Vice President Mike Pence to help overturn the election.
Trump urged on state election officials and legislators to change the election results.
Trump’s legal team “instructed Republicans in multiple states to create false electoral slates and transmit those slates to Congress and the National Archive.”
Trump summoned and assembled the mob in D.C. and directed them to march on the Capitol.
Trump ignored pleas for assistance from his team and failed to take action to stop the violence.
#2 isn't complete and the part that is bring left out is key to thee whole insurrection and must be thoroughly looked at by the select committee: "Trump tried to install-- did install-- loyalists at the Pentagon so the military would not interfere with the insurrection. There's a lot more to learn than just that Pence called Mark Milley, chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, urging to urge him to put down the riot.
Punchbowl News kicked off the morning after by asking if these hearings have an impact on the 2022 or 2024 elections? They "can't say right now." Still, they went out on a limb to opine that "it was plain to anyone watching that the select committee is far from a sham, as Trump and GOP leaders have asserted for months. Its presentation was delivered extraordinarily effectively. Trump and his Republican allies were eviscerated by the testimony and statements from his own former aides and administration officials... There’s also a clear plan for this series of hearings during the rest of June. It’s going to be a long few weeks for the House Republican leadership, which has stood unflinchingly behind Trump. Yet the dissonance in the American political system is as loud as it’s ever been, as well. Republicans are charging toward the House majority even as they stand by a former president exposed as supporting a violent attack on American democracy. It’s also fair to say that after last night’s hearing, Republicans’ complaints about the structure of the select committee look frivolous, especially when weighed against the seriousness of what occurred that long, bloody day."
Peter Baker noted this morning that "In the entire 246-year history of the United States, there was surely never a more damning indictment presented against an American president than outlined on Thursday night in a cavernous congressional hearing room where the future of democracy felt on the line. Other presidents have been accused of wrongdoing, even high crimes and misdemeanors, but the case against Donald J. Trump mounted by the bipartisan House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol described not just a rogue president but a would-be autocrat willing to shred the Constitution to hang onto power at all costs. As the committee portrayed it during its prime-time televised hearing, Trump executed a seven-part conspiracy to overturn a free and fair democratic election. According to the panel, he lied to the American people, ignored all evidence refuting his false fraud claims, pressured state and federal officials to throw out election results favoring his challenger, encouraged a violent mob to storm the Capitol and even signaled support for the execution of his own vice president."
Can this possibly be a surprise to anyone short of an unevolved rube from Grant, Hayes or Arthur counties in Nebraska? Anyone who has followed Trump's public career knows Baker described exactly who he is and has always been.
Most incriminating were the words of Mr. Trump’s own advisers and appointees, played over video on a giant screen above the committee dais and beamed out to a national television audience. There was his own attorney general who told him that his false election claims were “bullshit.” There was his own campaign lawyer who testified that there was no evidence of fraud sufficient to change the outcome. And there was his own daughter, Ivanka Trump, who acknowledged that she accepted the conclusion that the election was not, in fact, stolen as her father kept claiming.
...Some of the new revelations and the confirmations of recent news reports were enough to prompt gasps in the room and, perhaps, in living rooms across the country. Told that the crowd on Jan. 6 was chanting “Hang Mike Pence,” the vice president who defied the president’s pressure to single-handedly block the transfer of power, Trump was quoted responding, “Maybe our supporters have the right idea.” Mike Pence, he added, “deserves it.”
Cheney, the panel’s vice chairwoman, reported that in the wake of the Jan. 6 attack, members of Trump’s own cabinet discussed invoking the 25th Amendment to remove the president from office. She disclosed that Representative Scott Perry of Pennsylvania and “multiple other Republican congressmen” involved in trying to overturn the election sought pardons from Trump in his final days in office.
...Before the hearing, Trump tried again to rewrite history by casting the attack on the Capitol as a legitimate manifestation of public grievance against a stolen election. “January 6th was not simply a protest, it represented the greatest movement in the history of our Country to Make America Great Again,” he wrote on his new social media site.
Trump is hardly the first president reproached for misconduct, lawbreaking or even violating the Constitution. Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton were both impeached by the House, although acquitted by the Senate. John Tyler sided with the Confederacy during the Civil War. Richard Nixon resigned under the threat of impeachment for abusing his power to cover up corrupt campaign activities. Warren G. Harding had the Teapot Dome scandal and Ronald Reagan the Iran-contra affair.
But the crimes alleged in most of those cases paled in comparison to what Trump is accused of, and while Tyler turned on the country he once led, he died before he could be held accountable. Nixon faced hearings during Watergate not unlike those that began on Thursday night and was involved in other scandals beyond the burglary that ultimately resulted in his downfall. But the brazen dishonesty and incitement of violence put on display on Thursday eclipsed even his misdeeds, according to many scholars.
Trump, of course, was impeached twice already, and acquitted twice, the second time for his role in the Jan. 6 attack. But even so, the case against him now is far more extensive and expansive, after the committee conducted some 1,000 interviews and obtained more than 100,000 pages of documents.
What the committee was trying to prove was that this was not a president with reasonable concerns about fraud or a protest that got out of control. Instead, the panel was trying to build the case that Trump was involved in a criminal conspiracy against democracy-- that he knew there was no widespread fraud because his own people told him, that he intentionally summoned a mob to stop the transfer of power to Biden and that he sat by and did virtually nothing once the attack commenced.
Baker wrote that it is "unlikely" that the select committee "can change public views of those events" largely because of how polarized society has become (in the Trump era). David Leonhardt didn't quite agree with that assessment in his own newsletter today. "These hearings," he wrote, "are not going to transform the politics of Jan. 6, yet they do have the potential to affect public opinion on the margins. And the margins can matter. There are still many Republican voters disgusted by what happened on Jan. 6. Nearly half say that finding out what happened that day is important. Almost 20 percent consider the attack to have been an attempt to overthrow the government, according to a recent CBS News poll. About 40 percent believe, accurately, that voter fraud was not widespread in the 2020 election... If Republican voters are divided over the attack and
Democrats are almost uniformly horrified by it, the politicians making excuses for it remain in the minority. Candidates who base their campaigns on lies about voter fraud-- as some are now doing in Arizona, Pennsylvania and elsewhere-- will have a harder time winning elections. Future efforts to overturn an election will be less likely to succeed."
As for the politics of this horror show, I think what will most stand out from last night is the stinging admonition to her old Republican buddies in Congress by Liz Cheney: "I say this to my Republican colleagues who are defending the indefensible. There will come a day when Donald Trump is gone, but your dishonor will remain."