The formal investigation into the 1/6 insurrection and attempted Trump coup began this morning. Liz Cheney scorched Trump's congressional GOP lackeys trying to cover up and distort what happened that day. In her opening statement she noted that "We must know what happened here at the Capitol. We must also know what happened every minute of that day in the White House-- every phone call, every conversation, every meeting leading up to, during and after the attack. Honorable men and women have an obligation to step forward... Our children are watching, as we carry out the solemn and sacred duty entrusted to us. They will know who stood for truth. They will inherit the nation we hand to them-- a Republic, if we can keep it."
Yesterday, writing for the Wall Street Journal, Lindsay Wise reported that the select committee "won’t hesitate to subpoena members of Congress or Trump and will try to enforce the subpoenas in court if necessary." Gym Jordan's knee-jerk obstructionism will be sorely missed by those desperate to cover up what happened that day. Committee chair Bennie Thompson (D-MS): "Anybody who had a conversation with the White House and officials in the White House while the invasion of the Capitol was going on is directly in the investigative sights of the committee."
Pressed on whether the Democratic-led committee would subpoena Trump, Thompson said nobody was off limits. “I don’t want to name him, but what I will say is that in the conversations we’ve had as a committee, there’s been no reluctance whatsoever to go where the facts lead us,” he said.
Unlike the bipartisan Senate investigation into Jan. 6, which published findings and recommendations in June, the House’s select committee will go beyond security failures to look at communications between Congress and the executive branch and examine the role of individuals-- including Trump-- “who may or may not have contributed willingly or unwillingly to the events of Jan. 6,” Thompson said.
...The select panel’s chairman said Tuesday’s hearing would show what rank-and-file law enforcement officers endured on Jan. 6, when Trump’s supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol, temporarily interrupting the certification of President Biden’s victory in the November election over Trump.
“What we’re trying to paint for the public is exactly what went on and what went through the minds of the [officers] who saw people attacking them,” he said.
...Pelosi could appoint more members to fill out the 13-seat panel, Thompson said. But the committee has a quorum now and is moving swiftly to hire staff, conduct interviews and collect documents. Thompson said he couldn’t predict when the committee would conclude its work and produce a report. The resolution that established it doesn’t set a deadline.
This should be a big news event and you can count on the Democrats and their media allies to blow it up as big as possible (while Fox tries to ignore it). Truth be told, the example of failed Democratic governance we're seeing in Washington over the last few months-- thanks almost entirely to conservatives like Manchin and Sinema-- leave the Democrats with virtually nothing to campaign on for the midterms... except the insurrection and the nature of the Republican Party. We'll soon see if that's enough this time around.
Meanwhile, pathetically, the House Republican Leadership-- Kevin McCarthy, Steve Scalise, Elise Stefanik and Gym Jordan-- tried a me-too press conference just before today's hearings got under way, blaming it all on... who else, Nancy Pelosi. They also said Cheney and Kinzinger do not speak for the GOP. Pelosi's response: "Now that the bipartisan Select Committee is beginning its work, the only tools left in House Republicans’ arsenal are deflection, distortion, and disinformation."
Earlier, the Punchbowl crew noted the pitfalls awaiting McCarthy in this whole mess he created. The media coverage will not be advantageous to him or his party. "Whether there are any persuadable people still out there when it comes to the attack is unclear. It seems like a pretty cut and dry deal. [Trump] supporters sacked the Capitol on Jan. 6 following his speech on the Ellipse decrying the 'stolen election.' Trump urged thousands of his followers to go to the Capitol, and they did. The U.S. Capitol Police weren’t prepared for the onslaught, and dozens of officers were seriously injured as Trump backers stormed the building. One rioter, Ashli Babbitt, was shot to death by a USCP officer as she tried to break into the Speaker’s Lobby off the House floor. The incident was horrific, and it left a scar both on the American psyche and all the people who were there. Trust us on this one; we were in the building for the whole awful incident. Now, a little more than six months later, the vast majority of elected Republicans don’t want to acknowledge that Trump had any responsibility for the attack because they fear losing an election to a Trump-aligned candidate. But we get the sense that this process won’t be nearly as easy as either side thinks as the hearings start."
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has made the calculation that it’d be better for Republicans to decline cooperating with the probe because he considered the rules unfair and was angry that Speaker Nancy Pelosi didn’t want the Jims-- Jordan of Ohio and Banks of Indiana-- on the select committee.
But now McCarthy is going to have a months-long investigation playing out on TV in which his conference will have no ability to defend their position or the former president. The best Republicans will be able to do is hold news conferences to offer their take on the committee’s proceedings; they’ [did] so this morning at 8 a.m.
Trump also remains a big problem for Republicans. The former president said this as part of a statement he issued on Monday night: “Will Nancy investigate herself and those on Capitol Hill who didn’t want additional protection, including more police and National Guard, therefore being unprepared despite the large crowd of people that everyone knew was coming?” This has become a new talking point, that Pelosi herself is responsible for the insurrection.
The remaining three paragraphs of the rambling commentary includes the false assertion that Antifa or BLM were behind an attack that Trump just said “everyone knew was coming.” Yet as with a lot of Trump invective, logical consistency isn’t the point. It’s throwing something out there to try to confuse the situation that matters most.
Another concern for McCarthy and House Republicans in boycotting the hearings is that Trump likes having defenders on TV. For Trump, it’s the key to everything. Dominate the TV message and you win the political fight.
Instead, House Republican leadership has decided to allow Democrats and Reps. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) and Liz Cheney (R-WY) to put on an infomercial showcasing the horror of Jan. 6, drawing Trump and his inner circle in. Cheney [got] to deliver an opening statement. Oh, and by the way, Reps. Marjorie Traitor Greene (Q-GA), Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Paul Gosar (R-AZ) and Louie Gohmert (R-TX), will hold a news conference outside the Justice Department on Tuesday to complain about the treatment of alleged rioters arrested for their role in the Jan. 6 attack. Talk about mixed-- or non-existent-- messaging.
“We’re going to make America better,” McCarthy said when we asked him Monday night about the tough position he’s in here. “We’re going to make America stronger.”
Trump's top defender:
Trump is trying to stop any testimony to the committee from anyone who worked for him. The NY Times reported this morning that "the Justice Department notified former Trump administration officials this week that they could testify to the various committees investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. Witnesses can give 'unrestricted testimony' to the House Oversight and Reform Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee, the department said in a letter this week. Both panels are scrutinizing the Trump administration’s efforts to overturn the election in its final days and the events leading up to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. The decision runs counter to the views of former President Donald J. Trump, who has argued that his decisions and deliberations are protected by executive privilege. It also sets up a potential court battle if Mr. Trump sues in a bid to block any testimony. In that case, the courts could be forced to decide the extent to which a former president can be protected by privilege. Mr. Trump’s supporters have argued that a president cannot function if privilege can be taken away by a successor, exposing sensitive decision-making and opening up the previous administration to scrutiny. But others say that the matter is settled law, and that privilege does not apply to extraordinary circumstances."
See Andy Biggs' name on that graphic? That's this tweeting Andy Biggs, who would like to run for higher office in an Arizona that no longer exists, an Arizona that was once for America what Bavaria was once for Germany. Republican extremists like Andy Biggs are scared... and they very much should be. Today is the day, thanks in at least in some part to McCarthy's bungling, that the exposure of what the Republican Party has turned into, begins for real... live on TV.