The House January 6 committee’s investigation has produced all the evidence that should be needed to send a former president to jail. (Who would have believed we’d ever come to that point in this country?) Testimony from Republicans – from people who willingly and eagerly worked for the former guy, yet also valued their own good names and reputations and the importance of truthfulness under oath – makes it unavoidably plain, to any clear-eyed person able to honestly evaluate the evidence, what happened.
Before the election was even held and before anyone had been able to count any votes, Donald Trump laid the groundwork for his con by asserting that any election he might lose would of necessity be fraudulent, and his hangers-on assembled baseless “legal” theories to advance the story that Trump was a victim…that all Americans and patriots were victims of Democrats and progressives and America-haters, that the people whom they had let themselves believe were pedophiles and socialists and opponents of fascism and Trump-haters had stolen their country.
As the votes were being counted the Trumpers pursued dozens of cases in court – in many cases, shopping for Trump-appointed judges they expected would be willing to do anything to please “Mr. Trump” – and they lost, over and over and over again, the judges all finding that there was no basis for the complaints and no evidence to prove them. There was not, and still is not, evidence to prove that there was fraud committed in the 2020 general election for president that was significant enough to change the outcome. Hence, no reason to rise up in rebellion. Still, the crybaby con man refused to accede to reality, despite the efforts from family and friends and staff and lawyers and insightful bloggers that he man up and do the right thing: peacefully stand aside for his lawfully-elected successor as president, as American law and tradition have held for more than 225 years.
Trump encouraged supporters to organize a rally in Washington on the day Congress was to certify his defeat, where they could stage a demonstration that appealed to his overweening sense of himself, his unshakeable narcissistic belief in the grandeur of him! After all, who else but Trump could engender such devotion from the suckers and losers he so detested, that these proud Americans would stage an armed assault on the seat of their own government on his behalf?
Again today there was an air of disbelief from committee members who told the part of the story about how Trump never made any effort to stop this attack on America – never called on any law enforcement assets or federal agencies to defend the Capitol, never issued a call to his supporters to straighten up and go home. Are we surprised at that, really? I’ve got a clear picture in mind of him glued to TV and patting himself on the back in the realization that this plan that was so crazy it just might work…was working! Until it wasn’t, I guess…until enough supporters on the outside looking in, and enough members of Congress on the inside looking out and pleading for help, gained the critical mass to convince even the Great and Powerful Trump that the jig was up. Even then he couldn’t make himself admit to being in error: he professed his love for these “special” Americans who were at that moment still committing treason and gleefully sharing the incriminating evidence of their crimes on social media. Geniuses.
Any list of his questionable behavior since his return to private life – since his big boy pout of “snubbing” Joe Biden’s inauguration – is irrelevant to the possible criminal charges of inciting or assisting an insurrection, obstruction of an official proceeding of Congress, conspiracy to defraud the United States, and conspiracy to make a false statement that arise from the January 6 attack on the Capitol. (Perhaps another time.) I applaud the committee’s recognition that others in government played a role in Jan. 6 that should not be ignored: kudos for the Ethics Committee referrals against House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy and GOP members Jim Jordan, Scott Perry and Andy Biggs for (like Trump) refusing to comply with committee subpoenas. You can’t just thumb your nose at a Congressional committee and expect there to be no consequences.
Of course this isn’t the first time we’ve had ample evidence of Trump’s…shall we say, wrongdoing; Congress made history when it twice impeached him for high crimes and misdemeanors. Well, Democrats in Congress did that; the feckless Republicans succumbed to a partisan effort to protect their own – a president of their own party, and more crucially their own jobs and power from the electoral annihilation they expected they would suffer from their MAGA constituents. The Republican leadership of the incoming Congress will be powerless to stop this disbanding select committee’s work or the publication of its findings. It’s up to the Justice Department now to do something about protecting the integrity of our democracy from those who think the laws do not apply to them.