On Thursday evening, June 9, a national primetime TV audience was treated by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her hand-picked bipartisan group of nine congressional Donald Trump haters to yet another effort to falsely portray the disorganized January 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol building in Washington, DC, by angry but unarmed Trump supporters as an attempt to overthrow the federal government.
The politicized story line of Pelosi’s make-believe TV reality show was based on the dubious premise that the unruly January 6 protest, which unprepared Capitol police had allowed to get out of hand, was actually an attempted coup d’état. It accused Trump once again of collusion, this time with an extreme right-wing paramilitary group calling itself the Proud Boys, to block the Congressional certification, scheduled for that day, of Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory, which Trump has never accepted, in the November 2020 presidential election.
With the notable exception of Fox News, all major national TV channels readily agreed to give Pelosi and her fellow Democrats free prime coverage to the lavishly produced show. It featured carefully edited videos of the January 6 riot and scripted statements by witnesses and members of the committee, from which all evidence that exonerates Trump of the collusion allegation had been deliberately removed.
Speaker Pelosi also violated a long-standing congressional tradition of permitting the leader of the opposition party, in this case, GOP House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, to choose the two Republican members of the bipartisan investigative committee. Instead, she chose the two most outspokenly anti-Trump Republicans in the House, Wyoming’s Liz Cheney and Illinois’ Adam Kinzinger, because she knew they would eagerly join with Democrats on the committee in condemning the former president for his actions on January 6.
Washington Times opinion editor Charles Hurt described the televised hearing as a third attempt by frustrated Democrats to impeach Donald Trump in the court of public opinion.
A DESPERATE DEMOCRAT DISTRACTION
Hurt made the comment during an interview with Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson. Both agreed that the committee hearing was designed to serve as a distraction for American voters who have been infuriated by the incompetence of the Biden administration, and most of all over his reckless spending policies that have led to ruinous runaway inflation.
“In the 18 months since January 6,” Carlson noted, “gas prices have doubled. Drug overdose deaths have reached their highest point ever. The US economy is now careening toward a devastating recession at best.” These are the problems that the vast majority of Americans are most concerned about, leading up to the midterm elections in November — but Biden and the Democrats have no solutions to offer. That is why they are desperately trying to change the subject by resurrecting the fading memory of the incident at the Capitol, for which Trump certainly bears some of the blame, but which had no lasting consequences on the lives of American today.
Democrats have spent the last six years trying to demonize Trump in the eyes of the American voters, but public opinion polls show that they now realize that President Biden’s leadership is worse. His policies have clearly failed, leaving this country facing multiple threats. In addition to runaway inflation, they include an economy teetering on the edge of recession, a critical energy shortage, a nationwide spike in shootings and other violent crimes, chaos on the southern border, and a failed foreign policy which has led to a dangerous war in Europe and national humiliation in Afghanistan.
It is hard to believe that Democrat efforts to dramatize the importance the January 6 incident will be able to convince American voters to disregard all these Biden-generated problems facing the country today. The televised hearings are an attempt to instill a fear that voting for Republican candidates in November might eventually lead to a return to power by Donald Trump, even though his job approval ratings when he was president were actually better than Joe Biden’s still sinking job approval ratings are today.
DEMOCRATS NOW MORE OUT OF TOUCH THAN EVER
Hurt said that if “any of these people [Democrats] got out of Washington to talk to normal people, they would realize that American people are very, very concerned about a lot of things. This [the January 6 riot] is not one of them.
“But then, step back even further and look at the cavalcade of lies that Democrat politicians have made in their promises to get elected, even before Joe Biden came to Washington. Whether it’s solving health care problems for poor people, ending poverty or providing public education to people, they failed on all these fronts.”
George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley, who testified as an expert witness on Constitutional law at Trump’s first congressional impeachment hearing, noted the similarities between that spectacle and the January 6 hearing. He criticized Pelosi for rushing to hold that impeachment hearing before the end of the year, rather “than conduct the traditional impeachment investigation with witnesses” beforehand.
Turley noted that “instead of building a more convincing case, Pelosi preferred to impeach with virtually no record, [setting the stage] for a certain defeat in the Senate. In the second impeachment, she went one better: She held no hearing at all and pushed through the first ‘snap impeachment.’ The January 6 committee was similarly stripped of any pretense,” he observed.
Turley criticized Pelosi for deciding to the “gut the process” that Congress had observed during its 230-year “history of bipartisan investigatory and select committees. Many [such as the Watergate committee] were formed during [periods of] deep political rifts, yet Congress maintained the need for bipartisan membership [because] past congressional leaders understood that the credibility of such investigations required balance, including opposing views.”
NO ATTEMPT TO ACHIEVE JUSTICE OR FAIRNESS
Turley said the way the January 6 committee conducted its televised hearing violated the well-established legal principle of avoiding even the slightest appearance of bias. He quoting British jurist Lord Gordon Hewart, who declared in 1924, “Justice should not only be done, but should manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done.”
According to Turley, doing justice was never on Pelosi’s agenda for the January 6 committee. When a reporter asked her what she hoped to achieve from the committee on the first day of hearings, Pelosi tellingly responded was that it was intended to sell a [partisan Democrat] “narrative” to the American people ahead of the upcoming midterm election.
Citing the interpretation of her comment by the New York Times, Turley says “that narrative is meant to ‘recast the midterm message’ and ‘give [Democrats] a platform for making a broader case about why they deserve to stay in power.’”
According to Turley, the hearing was not designed to be a search for the truth or justice. Instead, it was “packaged with the help of a high-powered media figure brought in to help stage the event. Much of the media touted how the hearings would be ‘must-see TV’ and would force voters ‘not to look away’ from Trump’s ‘coup.’ Countervailing evidence [exonerating Trump] was edited out. Thus, Trump was shown calling for the protesters to ‘march’ on the Capitol — but not his additional words to do so ‘peacefully and patriotically.’”
While the mainstream media dutifully hyped Democrat claims that the hearing would reveal shocking new evidence of Trump’s guilt, it turned out to be no more than a rehash of old accusations against Trump, accompanied by vivid descriptions of the chaos that unfolded that day at the Capitol building.
The hearing was characterized by its gross exaggeration of the violence of the protesters, combined with its failure to ask obvious questions, such as why Capitol police were caught so unprepared, days after the FBI had received two separate warnings of plans by extreme right-wing activists to disrupt the congressional vote certification process on January 6.
QUESTIONS THE COMMITTEE REFUSES TO ASK
Turley called it a “shame” that Pelosi did not permit the committee to be properly balanced politically, or allow a broader scope of inquiry into why events at the Capitol unfolded as they did on that day.
“For example,” Turley noted, “the first two witnesses highlighted the ongoing controversy over the failure of Congress to adequately prepare for the riot despite repeated warnings from the executive branch. Capitol Police officer Caroline Edwards and Nick Quested, a British documentarian, both noted the shocking absence of sufficient officers around the Capitol. Quested described ‘hundreds’ of Proud Boys marching on the Capitol and seeing a single officer at one barricade; Edwards described a handful of officers holding back hundreds of protesters. Critical anti-riot equipment was not distributed or was affirmatively withheld. Security objectives were ignored, and even Edwards said officers were quickly and easily overrun due to lack of support.”
Turley adds, “It would be useful to get the full story on what decisions were made, but [Democrat] House leaders appear to have curtailed inquiries into the failure to properly staff or equip officers at the scene, to erect fencing, or to call for the National Guard after the riot erupted.”
THE TRUTH IS COMING OUT
However, according to investigative reporter John Solomon, an internal after-action report by the Capitol Police Department identified 53 major failures in its response to the known threat that there might be trouble at the Capitol on January 6. Among other key facts, the internal report documents that the Pentagon began offering Congress a deployment of National Guard troops to reinforce security at the Capitol four days before the riot, but the offer was turned down, first by Capitol Police officials and later by aides to Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
According to Solomon’s report, a senior member of Schumer’s staff also received a separate notification of FBI information, the night before January 6, about plans by right-wing protesters to blockade congressional lawmakers in the tunnel system around the Capitol complex.
According to its internal report, Capitol Police also received that warning on the eve of the riot from the FBI, as well as an intelligence bulletin from the FBI office in Norfolk, Virginia, warning that protesters were planning bloodshed, invading the Capitol, and targeting members of Congress. However, neither report was forwarded to the frontline commanders responsible for security at the Capitol that day.
But because none of this had anything to do with Trump’s role in the events at the Capitol that day, these pertinent facts were totally ignored during the televised committee hearing.
ENOUGH BLAME TO GO AROUND
While Trump may have been reckless in encouraging his supporters to march to the Capitol to protest the Congressional certification of Biden’s election, and negligent in failing to order federal officials to promptly put a stop to the riot at the Capitol building, there is also plenty of blame to go around for elected Democrats and other federal government officials who failed to heed these warnings and could have easily prevented the riot from occurring in the first place.
Turley also defended the legal right of Trump and his supporters to raise legal challenges to the post-election vote certification process, and cited instances in past presidential elections when Democrat members of the current January 6 committee used the same tactic to challenge the victory of the Republican candidate: committee chairman Bennie Thompson voted to challenge the certification of the 2004 results of President George W. Bush’s reelection, and committee member Jamie Raskin sought to challenge Trump’s certification in 2016.
PELOSI’S SOVIET-STYLE SHOW TRIAL
Tristan Justice, a correspondent for the Federalist, compared the one-sided January 6 congressional hearing to the notorious Moscow public show trials of the late 1930s. The trials were staged by Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin to justify his “Great Purge” of the remaining original Bolsheviks within the Soviet Communist Party at the time. They were executed on Stalin’s orders after being falsely accused and convicted of treason and sedition.
As in the Soviet show trials, the verdict of the January 6 committee hearing was never in doubt. As the Wall Street Journal put it, the committee “made clear in its first hearing that its main goal is showing Donald Trump was to blame for the attack on the Capitol, raising the question of what legal or political consequences the former president might face at the end of the probe.”
With tongue in cheek, conservative commentator Roger Kimball wrote that Democrats should have advertised the TV broadcast of the hearing as “The ‘Get Trump’ Show.” Kimball added, “this entertainment is really only an updated rebranding of that earlier Democrat-sponsored farce “The Robert Mueller Show,” starring Robert Mueller and co-starring James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Lisa Page, and Peter Strzok… The story centered around Donald Trump’s supposed ‘collusion’ with Russia. But there was no collusion to be had, not for a lack of trying on the part of the Democrats.”
Kimball suggests that, “The January 6 committee has taken up where the Mueller show left off. The great difficulty for both shows is their utterly incredible premises. Donald Trump did not ‘collude’ with Russia or kowtow to Vladimir Putin. With every passing month, we know with greater clarity that that entire $34 million entertainment was cooked up by Hillary Clinton and her agents.”
TRUMP RATHER THAN CLINTON WAS THE VICTIM OF COLLUSION
While there is now no doubt that Trump was innocent of the hysterical accusations that he was guilty of treason for colluding with the Russians to defeat Hillary Clinton in 2016, former Trump Attorney General William Barr recently said on a podcast with conservative columnist Glenn Beck that he still thinks that Clinton might be guilty of the federal crime of sedition for instigating the covert attacks on Trump which continued well into his presidency.
“I thought we were heading into a constitutional crisis,” Barr said on the podcast. “Whatever you think of Trump, the fact is that the whole Russiagate thing was a grave injustice. It appears to be a dirty political trick that was used first to hobble him and then potentially to drive him from office.”
In addition to being a gross injustice, Barr noted that the continuing Clinton-inspired attacks on Trump “hurt the United States in many ways, including what we’re seeing in Ukraine these days. It distorted our foreign policy.”
Before leaving office, Barr assigned federal prosecutor John Durham to get to the bottom of the Clinton connection to the Trump-Russia collusion hoax, and determined whether anyone should criminally be prosecuted for it. So far, Durham’s investigation has failed to yield any major convictions, but it has helped to uncover the full extent of the involvement of the leaders of the Clinton campaign, with the explicit approval of Mrs. Clinton herself, in trying to discredit Trump in the media and the court of public opinion.
Furthermore, thanks to Durham’s investigation, it is now clear from sworn testimony in federal court that Clinton and her campaign officials knew at the time that some of those accusations, such as those in the Steele dossier, were totally false and had been deliberately made up for the purpose, and that others, such as the alleged secret Trump computer contacts with the Russian Alfa Bank, were based upon evidence which might not hold up under close scrutiny. While it is unlikely that Clinton and others in her campaign will ever be brought to trial for what Barr has labeled as criminal acts of sedition, the judgement of history on that matter is now clear.
But those matters were of no interest to the members of Pelosi’s January 6 committee. They are clearly only interested in evidence of Trump’s guilt, rather than anything that might exonerate him or, even worse, prove that Trump was the victim of a potentially criminal Democrat conspiracy, first to discredit his candidacy and then to undermine his presidency.
TUCKER CARLSON’S LONELY PROTEST
During the January 6 committee hearing, the only voice on network television which was raised to object to the one-side presentation was that of Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson, who has become a prime target of criticism by the liberal media because of the popularity of the conservative views he promotes on his nightly prime time TV broadcast. Carlson roundly condemned the hearing as a blatantly partisan political propaganda show, and criticized the other networks for agreeing to broadcast it.
“This is the only hour on an American news channel that will not be carrying their propaganda live,” Carlson told his large prime time audience. “They are lying, and we are not going to help them do it. What we will do instead is to try to tell you the truth.”
Carlson then launched into a point-by-point refutation of the false claims and accusations that were simultaneously being made against Trump during the hearing being broadcast on the other channels.
THE “INSURRECTION” THAT WASN’T
He began by denying the Democrat characterization of riot at the Capitol building on January 6 qualified as an insurrection, rather than just another Capitol Hill protest that was allowed, due to negligent planning by Capitol officials and police, to get out hand. “It was not even close to an insurrection. Not a single person in the crowd that day was found to be carrying a firearm,” Carlson noted. “In fact, the only person who wound up shot to death was a protester. She was a 36-year-old military veteran called Ashli Babbitt. Babbitt was just over five feet tall. She was unarmed. She posed no conceivable threat to anyone, but Capitol Hill Police shot her in the neck and never explained why that was justified.”
Carlson also asked why “insurrection” is a word that congressional Democrats and the mainstream media refuse to use “to describe, say, the months-long siege of a courthouse in Portland, or the ongoing coordinated effort to intimidate Supreme Court justices at their homes with guns.”
Perhaps, Carlson suggested, it is because, “January 6 was different … It was unique because it was their offices and because it bothered Nancy Pelosi.”
Carlson insisted that he was “not defending and would never defend vandalism, violence, rioting. We disapproved of it when it happened. We disapprove of it now, all riots, not just this one. But this [January 6 riot] was not an insurrection.”
BIDEN’S WHITE SUPREMACIST LIBEL
The Fox News commentator also criticized President Biden for characterizing all those who protested at the Capitol building on January 6 as white supremacists. Nine months later, Biden said, “We’re confronting the stains of what remains, a deep stain on the soul of the nation, hate and white supremacy. The violent, deadly insurrection on the Capitol… was about white supremacy, in my view.”
Carlson insists there is no evidence to support Biden’s blanket accusation against all of Trump’s supporters at the Capitol that day. “The people at the Capitol, including the ones who broke the law by entering the Capitol, which is a crime, those people to a person said they were upset because they believed their democracy had been stolen from them,” Carlson said, “and whether all of their claims are true or not, that’s a valid reason to be upset. But rather than reassure the rest of us that actually our democracy is sound, elections are fair and transparent, there’s no cheating and we can prove it, rather than do that, they [Biden and his Democrats] call half the country names and not just names, [but] the worst thing you can be called: a white supremacist.”
NO POLICEMEN WERE KILLED ON JANUARY 6
Carlson also condemned “as a pure lie” statements made by reporters on several of the other networks covering the hearing which falsely claimed that five police officers died as the result of injuries they suffered at the hands of rioters on January 6.
“In fact, precisely zero police officers were killed by rioters on January 6, not five, none. Not a single one. So, how’d they get to five?” Carlton asked, and then answered his own question by citing “the suicides of [four] local police officers that took place after January 6, in some cases, long after January 6. . .
“The fifth death [they are] referring to is of Capitol Hill police officer Brian Sicknick,” Carlson said, showing video clips of reporters of other networks claiming that Sicknick died after being hit in the head with a fire extinguisher during the riot.
“Once again, that’s not true,” Carlson told his Fox News audience. “The D.C. medical examiner performed an autopsy and the autopsy report showed that Officer Brian Sicknick had not suffered any kind of blunt force trauma. He was not beaten to death. He died of a stroke in his office later.”
“They are lying to you. That is provable. Not a single [network reporter] you just saw [on video clips] has apologized for lying. Not a single one.”
DID FBI OPERATIVES INSTIGATE THE RIOT?
Carlson also suggested that “some in the crowd, more than a few, were encouraging protesters to breach the Capitol, to commit felonies,” might have been undercover FBI operatives deliberately instigating the riot.
“We have pictures of their faces,” Carlson noted, referring to private video footage available online that was taken that day. “In the case of a man called Ray Epps, we know his name, but they’ve never been charged. Ray Epps was standing in exactly the same place that a lot of people who went to jail were standing, but he wasn’t charged. His name was taken off the FBI’s Most Wanted list. Why is that?” Carlson asked.
“The January 6 committee will not explain that… They won’t tell us, nor will they tell us how many FBI agents and assets were in the crowd that day and what were they doing there… And why are they still hiding thousands of hours of surveillance footage from within the Capitol? If the point of the committee was to get the truth out there, why can’t we see the tape?
“Why did authorities open the doors of the Capitol to rioters and let them walk in, usher them in the doors? … No one’s ever explained it.”
FBI STEPPING UP RIGHT-WING PROSECUTIONS
It also appears that the FBI and federal Justice Department prosecutors have been cooperating with Pelosi and the Democrats to highlight the alleged threat to national security posed by the right-wing supporters of Donald Trump who rioted at the Capitol building.
A few days before the hearing, the former chairman of the Proud Boys and four other members of the group were formally charged with seditious conspiracy in connection with the January 6 attack, which, according to legal experts, will be very difficult for prosecutors to prove in court.
A few days after the January 6 committee hearing, police in rural Idaho arrested 31 people accused of belonging to a far-right group known as the Patriot Front, which was allegedly planning to attack a liberal demonstration in a nearby small town. According to the local county sheriff, the arrests warrants were issued after an anonymous informant called in a report that they had seen a group of people dressed like Patriot Front members climbing into a U-Haul van near where the demonstration was to take place. They are being charged with conspiracy to riot, which is a misdemeanor. Nevertheless, the story was prominently reported by the New York Times and other national news media outlets.
Meanwhile, anyone who still publicly supports Trump’s claim that his November 2020 election victory was fraudulently stolen from him remains a target of the committee. For example, on Friday June 2, FBI agents arrested former Trump Trade Advisor Peter Navarro while he was trying to board a flight to Nashville at DC’s Reagan National Airport on misdemeanor charges that he acted in contempt of Congress by defying a subpoena from the January 6 committee. He was handcuffed, his wallet, cellphone, and pen were removed, and he was then taken to the FBI’s Washington Field Office for fingerprinting and the collection of a DNA sample.
Navarro complained that the humiliation of his public arrest on a misdemeanor charge was unnecessary, and that the FBI denied his requests to call his attorney and to inform a TV producer that he would not be able to make a scheduled broadcast appearance that evening.
A DESPERATE DEMOCRAT STRATEGY
Unable to deal with the country’s most urgent problems, and faced with the near certainty of huge losses in the upcoming midterm election, the Biden administration and Democrat leaders have embarked upon a desperate strategy which looks beyond this November towards 2024, when they hope to be able to retain the White House by raising the specter of another Trump presidency and demonizing every Republican candidate running for office as a racist Trump surrogate and a threat to American democracy.
But the polls indicate that most Americans are just not buying that argument any more. They know that this country was much better off when Trump was president, before the Covid pandemic hit, than it is today under Biden’s failed policies, which have already led to ruinous inflation and the prospect of a steep economic decline.
They have grown tired of a president who won’t take responsibility for his mistakes, stubbornly refuses to change course after it is clear that his policies have failed, and blames everybody else, from Vladimir Putin to the big oil companies to Donald Trump, for the myriad problems he has created.
The Democrats know they have already lost the November election, and that they have no acceptable alternative, including Kamala Harris, to lead them in 2024, when a visibly frail and failing Joe Biden will turn 82. At this point, Pelosi and her colleagues realize they have no choice but to continue to ignore or try to minimize all this nation’s urgent problems which they don’t know how to solve. Instead, they are following the dangerously divisive and high-risk political strategy epitomized by the poisonous accusations being promoted by the January 6 committee hearings.