What Did We Learn from the January 6 Committee?

The J6 Committee wrapped up hearings in late July. If you want to know what actually happened January 6, 2021, I suggest not relying solely on this committee. We learned this committee is not intent on uncovering the truth. Many others have dug deep into the problems of January 6 (from varying perspectives); below, I only scratch the surface because frankly only a cursory look is needed to determine the slough of problems with this investigation.

Crowd at the Trump rally on January 6, 2021

Who is on the Committee and Who is Not?

Note there were just two Republicans but seven Democrats on the committee. A book from a few years back was: All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. Kindergartners know at first glance this is not a fair process.

In 1973, the Senate voted 77-0 to establish the committee to impeach former Republican President Richard Nixon; it had seven members, four Democrats and three Republicans. Typically, the majority party gets a one-vote advantage, but FIVE more?

The J6 committee was originally slated to have five Republicans and eight Democrats, a one vote advantage not being enough to ensure the “right” outcomes. All five Republicans nominated by Minority Leader McCarthy were rejected by Speaker Pelosi. Tell me again about how much she believes in fair elections, fair processes, justice, and all the rest. Pelosi added two Republicans, Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, but only because they were two of the ten Republicans who voted to impeach Trump in January 2021. I suppose she couldn’t cajole the other eight into joining the committee.

This is how we initiate a process to get to the bottom of all this? Should we have confidence the views of the minority party and the case for the man under the microscope will be adequately represented? Maybe that doesn’t matter to you because you are already sure of what happened, but for the rest of us, we’d like to believe there is at least a hint of fairness here.

Is This a Trial?

Congress does not actually have the power to prosecute. Call this event a campaign ad instead. After stacking the committee, they brought in a TV producer to stage the event. Why do that? Does the term “show trial” apply here? The following was published days before the first hearing:

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10889205/January-6-committee-hires-former-ABC-News-executive-produce-Thursdays-8pm-hearing-Report.html

  • The Capitol riot committee reportedly recruited ex-ABC News president James Goldston to make their presentation into a ‘blockbuster investigative special’
  • The panel’s first hearing is set to begin on Thursday at 8pm Eastern Time
  • It’s the first of six hearings where lawmakers will seek to contextualize the riot in Donald Trump and his allies’ wider efforts to overturn the 2020 election results
  • Evidence includes never-before-seen White House photos from January 6
  • The bipartisan panel is also reportedly having trouble agreeing on what the recommendations should be in its final report  

Notice the misnomer “bipartisan panel”. Maybe some were fooled with that characterization. Does the Hollywood-type nature of the spectacle make it seem they are establishing facts in a deliberate and methodical fashion or does it sound like an attempt to influence the next election (and the one after)?

In a trial, cross examinations are allowed. In this case, the other side of the story was not told during the Congressional hearings themselves. Maybe you think Team Trump has nothing to offer, but I appeal to that former Kindergartner in you: shouldn’t they be allowed an opportunity to put on a defense and present conflicting evidence? Let them fall on their faces if you believe they have nothing to offer, but don’t suppress their voices and hide evidence. On the other hand, if there is exculpatory evidence, then (from a Democrat perspective, at least) you better not allow Team Trump an opportunity to tarnish the carefully produced results.

There were eight hearings in all, stretched over six weeks (two prime time and six daytime hearings), ending July 21. This much should be clear: from the outset they were telling the story they had crafted already. Many news media folks joked this was just Season One and that the series would continue. What will the writers think of next?

https://www.msnbc.com/the-reidout/reidout-blog/jan-6-hearings-recap-season-1-rcna39544

The House Jan. 6 committee wrapped up its first batch of public hearings during a prime-time presentation on Thursday. They’re scheduled to resume in September.

High profile lawyer and Harvard professor (and self-proclaimed liberal) Alan Dershowitz said it was like watching “a one-sided basketball game. ” Perhaps he didn’t take it seriously?

Johnathon Turley, like Dershowitz, another self-proclaimed liberal jurist, said similar things.

https://redstate.com/bobhoge/2022/06/12/liberal-professors-dershowitz-turley-prove-the-jan-6-committee-hearings-are-a-sham-n577695

[Turley said:] Pelosi’s decision to shred the long tradition on balanced committees was a signature muscle play. The Jan. 6 Committee was stripped of any pretense. It was as subtle as her ripping up President Trump’s State of the Union speech on the House floor…

Was it a Protest or an Insurrection?

But what actually happened? Congress is no doubt partisan and inept at solving most problems, but what was the actual intent of all this?

I will not excuse the people who did serious wrong: those who gained entrance illegally, assaulted police officers, threatened violence, etc.. These actions should be condemned; they should not have progressed to the level they did. Many people were indeed arrested for serious offenses, 845 in all. Further, ten percent of those arrested were incarcerated for serious offenses. https://time.com/6133336/jan-6-capitol-riot-arrests-sentences/

The number who attended the rally at the Washington mall appears to be a national secret, but it was clear to my wife and I as we watched, a massive crowd heard the president speak; it was far more than the number who actually stormed the Capitol (and many entering were actually peaceful and orderly). In other words, a small fraction listening to the president actually stormed the Capitol. If this was an actual insurrection, why wouldn’t more participate and why wouldn’t they be given a script to follow?

Skeptics will say the few who invaded the Capitol were a dedicated cadre with a plan. Then how come no firearms were used by protestors? Why was nobody killed by protestors (one protestor was, in fact, shot by police, and there was one police death, not attributable to the violence)? Some protestors breached the Capitol, but others were ushered in by police, not aware they were doing anything wrong. Why was that? There was no military or police support for the protestors, no institutional support from any government department. One protestor, a lone wolf apparently, was arrested with a cache of weapons, but those remained in his vehicle and were never accessed by anyone else; this was not good, but also not something which contributed to the events of that day.

An insurrection with no firearms, no institutional support, and nobody killed by the insurrectionists was a piss poor insurrection.   It was a protest which got out of control.  Those who lost control should be held accountable, but why was Trump held responsible for something he never advocated, and by extension all of his supporters, most of whom condemned the violence?

There have been many charges it was inside job to frame Trump.  I don’t yet ascribe to any such theories. These may be compelling to those untrusting of their opponents motives; however, there is considerable video evidence of police waving protestors into the Capitol. There were clearly confrontations with police in other instances, but why were so many passed through without challenge? None of this was investigated or explained by the J6 Committee. They are not interested. It contradicts the narrative, but many of us would like to know more.

https://www.worldtribune.com/more-video-shows-police-waving-protesters-into-capitol-on-jan-6/
https://wethepeopleconvention.org/articles/Video-Proves-Police-Let-Protestors-into-Capitol
https://thefederalist.com/2021/01/08/watch-the-capitol-police-open-the-doors-and-invite-protesters-in/

Another relevant story comes from President Biden who claimed he engaged in the very same act years earlier. Like his bizarre stories of days past regarding Corn Pop or the kids at the pool rubbing his leg, this one too is probably apocryphal. He wants to seem like a regular guy during this interview. Yet, today, he says entering the Capitol on January 6 was “the gravest of threats”. How does that square with his own illegal entry into the Capitol? Was he protesting the Viet Nam war in the mid-60’s? I doubt his story is true, but he he claims it happened. Why should he be held to another standard?

What was Trump doing?

I want to ask two questions of President Trump’s critics. First, was he responsible for the violence at the Capitol on January 6? I engaged a local pastor who said a day or two afterwards that his behavior was disgraceful. I reminded him Trump in his January 6 speech said to march to the Capitol to “peacefully and patriotically protest”. That was a clear signal of his intentions. A pastor should know we judge each other by our words and our actions, not by motivations we cannot discern; he never offered me any more to justify his feelings on the matter. The J6 committee also ignored Trump’s actual words and instead read more into the rest of the speech, looking for supposed dog whistles and hidden messages. Amazingly, the words “patriotically and peacefully protest” were edited from the speech when it was played before the committee, another blow to their legitimacy. The fact remains there is no clear smoking gun in Trump’s speech; instead, there is much parsing and convenient interpretation of his intent.

You can say he egged on supporters; he knew what would happen. If you already believed in his guilt, such accusations are convincing. I would join in condemnation as well if there was clear evidence of bad intent, but, from my vantage, it seems the committee wants a separate standard for the former president: anything done by a few of your supporters is your fault.

I have often been told the reverse: once I vote for someone (especially some you don’t like), I am responsible for their bad actions in the future. I generally have two choices in an election and usually I pick the one I dislike the least. Everything that person does thereafter should not boomerang back to me. The person responsible is the person who actually does the wrong thing. Trump did not publicly encourage anyone to take up arms or join in violence. Such action would indeed make him responsible for violence on January 6. It is only through creative interpretation of private conversations does the J6 committee get anywhere with this line of thinking.

There was an event a few years back where a Bernie Sanders supporter shot at dozens of Republican Congressman on a baseball field. This was a potentially far more serious threat to democracy, but I heard no condemnation of Senator Sanders. Again, why does the standard apply in only one direction? https://www.cnn.com/2017/06/14/homepage2/james-hodgkinson-profile/index.html

My second question: is contesting an election the same as an insurrection? In the two months prior to January 6 was Trump trying to illegally alter the election or was he trying to legally alter it? Whether you believe his claims or not, do you believe that he believed the election to be stolen? If he truly believed it was stolen (and I am certain he does believe it), why wouldn’t he vociferously stake his claim? Wouldn’t you if you felt cheated? Isn’t that what Al Gore did in 2000? How about you: have you ever complained about the officials in a sporting contest? Isn’t a national election a far more important event that should be be debated civilly?

I won’t get into the details of the problems with the election, although I have written of them previously Was The Election Rigged?. It doesn’t matter what you think of his claims. He has a right to make them and to use legal measures to advance them. He may have ineffectively advanced his claims, but he did so legally up until January 6. January 6 itself was a protest, another legal measure.

For eight years, we heard that President Bush stole the election from Al Gore. Four years after 2016, we heard that Donald Trump stole the election (and worse). Since 2018, we have heard that Stacey Abrams was cheated out of her election for governor of Georgia. You likely believe some of these claims and dispute others, but the claims, no matter how far-fetched you might say they are, should always be allowed.

Our election was hijacked. There is no question. Congress has a duty to #ProtectOurDemocracy & #FollowTheFacts.— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) May 16, 2017

“And they tell us we tried to overturn the election. Guess who the second objector was in 2017? The individual managing the impeachment for the Democrats,” Jordan said, referring to Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.). – Rep. Jim Jordan, January 13, 2021.

Mock such claims if you will, but we do not legally prosecute anyone for making them. I don’t accuse Bernie Sanders for inciting an insurrection from his follower in 2017. He didn’t tell that crazy person to shoot at dozens of Congressman. I don’t accuse Al Gore, Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Stacey Abrams, Jamie Raskin, or countless others of insurrection for disputing prior election results. They failed in their efforts as well, but they had the right to fuss and complain. I certainly would never accuse anyone voting for these politicians (whom I would never support myself) for taking part in an insurrection. Again, I appeal to the former kindergartner in you: why should these folks be held to a different standard than President Trump?

National Guard

Much was made of the fact that President Trump waited 3 hours and 7 minutes to tell his supporters to disband. Is that a long time? Perhaps it is or perhaps not. However, I have been waiting for more than a year for President Biden to finish the border wall, to resume the Middle East Peace talks, to get the remaining Americans out of Afghanistan, to admit the current inflation and recession are real, to lower gas prices, and so on. I would have been thrilled if President Biden had waited only 3 hours and 7 minutes to address any of these issues.

Why wasn’t the claim that Trump asked for National Guard prior to January 6 examined by the committee? The problem with this debate is that no matter what you believe (or would like to believe), you can find support for it in the media. Many claim the request for National Guard never happened.

 AP fact check rates GOP claim Pelosi blocked National Guard on Jan. 6 ‘false’ | The Hill,

GOP Doubles Down on Claim Pelosi Rejected National Guard Before Jan. 6 Riot (newsweek.com),

PolitiFact | No evidence Pelosi ‘rejected’ Trump’s authorization for ‘20,000 National Guard’ before Jan. 6 attack

On the other hand, there are many who say it did happen:

https://www.newsmax.com/newsfront/capitol-national-guard-security/2022/07/26/id/1080453/?ns_mail_uid=dc3164f2-f4f5-4cd2-8925-32c0791dc63d

If former President Donald Trump’s word is not enough, an official Capitol Police timeline and Pentagon memo also back up his assertion that he authorized the use of the National Guard in the days before the Jan. 6 Capitol breach.

Trump and several of his aides have steadfastly maintained he offered to send at least 10,000 National Guard troops to Washington to aid in crowd control, but his overture was rejected by Congress and D.C. officials.

An official timeline of the events leading up to Jan. 6 that was constructed by the Capitol Police and the Pentagon provides key evidence Trump and his administration took steps to provide National Guard troops and sought to have a peaceful event, contrary to the House committee’s claims.

On Jan. 4, Sund started seeking permission for security assistance from Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Michael Stenger and House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving. His request was denied. He notified Gen. William Walker, commander of the D.C. National Guard, about the need for support. But the timeline stated that Sund “does not have the authority to request at this time.”

Under the law, a president can authorize the use of the National Guard; however, local officials must request the National Guard for domestic deployment.

On Jan. 5, Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser wrote a letter to Miller and other officials at the Justice and Defense departments asking that National Guard troops not be deployed unless the local Metropolitan Police Department signed off.

Here is another such claim:

https://www.newsmax.com/politics/trump-jan-6-capitol/2022/08/04/id/1081824/?ns_mail_uid

Keith Kellogg, a onetime national security adviser to former President Donald Trump and ex-Vice President Mike Pence, recently backed up Trump’s long-standing claim that the National Guard had been offered to U.S. Capitol Police days before the Jan. 6, 2021, riot.

Believe whichever version you like, but recognize that the J6 committee never discussed this point. To concede this point would destroy their case, so it is better not to look.

Hutchinson Bombshell

Days prior, we heard the testimony of Cassidy Hutchison, former aide of White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, was going to change everything, the same thing we heard a hundred times before regarding some new detail in the Robert Mueller investigation. She told us somebody told her the president forcibly grabbed the limo steering wheel and assaulted Secret Service agents.

https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/key-takeaways-cassidy-hutchinsons-bombshell-testimony-jan-committee/story?id=85880256

People hate Trump so much they will believe anything of this nature. Still, within moments of her testimony, the Secret Service was disputing it. The J6 committee never heard from any of them.  Do they want the narrative or do they want the truth?

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2022/jun/28/secret-service-denies-cassidy-hutchinson-jan-6-tal/

Still, liberal media lapped up the story:

In one of the hearing’s most shocking moments, Hutchinson recalled being told how Trump turned “irate” as he was driven away from the Ellipse after being told by his security that he could not go to the Capitol with his supporters.

 “The president reached up toward the front of the vehicle to grab at the steering wheel. Mr. Engel grabbed his arm and said, ‘Sir, you need to take your hand off the steering wheel. We’re going back to the West Wing. We’re not going to the Capitol.’

“Mr. Trump then used his free hand to lunge toward Bobby Engel and when Mr. Ornato recounted this story to me, he motioned toward his clavicles,” she said.

Her story was never corroborated by anyone actually present. Doesn’t that make a difference? Cassidy went on to tell us Trump also threw his lunch at the wall. There is powerful evidence to prove he was leading an insurrection. That’s what all insurrectionists do, right? Is this the best they can come up with to prove their case?

One Last Question

By all accounts the 2016 election between Trump and Clinton was very close; 80,000 votes in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin separated the two candidates.  The 2020 election was closer: it was 40,000 votes in three states (Wisconsin, Arizona, and Georgia).  Claiming 40,000 suspect votes in an election where more than 150 million was cast is not a big stretch.  

  • In Georgia that means a problem with 1 in every 454 votes.
  • In Wisconsin it’s 1 in every 165 votes
  • In Arizona it’s in every 300 votes.

You can claim Trump didn’t win the election and that it wasn’t stolen, but it’s a whole another story to claim he was leading an insurrection instead of just disputing election results.  How well planned was this supposed insurrection? How successful was it? It took only a few hours to clear the crowd, and there was never any follow-up or coordinated attacks elsewhere. How close did they come to stopping the vote? Congress was not delayed from their task; the vote proceeded the same day. How much was Trump involved? He told them protest peacefully; he told them to stand down.

Attorney General Merrick Garland said after the hearings he wouldn’t prosecute Trump based on the evidence provided.

https://news.yahoo.com/g-merrick-garland-memo-suggests-231158582.html

 A Justice Department memo suggests Donald Trump won’t face any federal indictment over the insurrection Jan. 6, 2021, before the election in November, legal analysts said.

Maybe there just isn’t enough evidence, but Garland changed his tune a week later.

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/ag-garland-refuses-rule-out-prosecuting-trump-jan-6

Perhaps the pressure from his party was too much to bear? But if he is going to indict Trump, then maybe he should not stop there.

garlands-kid-gloves-vs-hunter-biden

“None of this adds up,” former US Attorney for Utah Brett Tolman told Fox News. “None of it makes sense. Indictments should have been brought when you first started calling witnesses and close thereto, that’s standard.”

If you believe in justice and fairness does any of this make sense? It is only when you see things through a political lens that the actions make sense.

6 thoughts on “What Did We Learn from the January 6 Committee?

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