Last Thursday the January 6 House Committee recessed. Its leaders indicated that they would resume their investigative sessions at some future date.
What have we learned thus far?
The committee was established by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to ostensibly investigate the events of January 6, 2020, in particular the storming of the Capitol building that day. Normally, when a select committee is appointed, it is a cooperative arrangement between Democrat and Republican House leadership. The Speaker appoints the majority party’s members, and the Minority party leader appoints members of the opposition. Based on relative party strength in the House, the Democrats should have had about 10 persons on the committee and the Republican’s 8. Unfortunately, Pelosi refused to accept some of the persons nominated to serve on the committee, at which point Minority Leader McCarthy no longer agreed to cooperate. Pelosi then proceeded to appoint a 9 member committee composed of 7 Democrats and 2 Trump hating Republicans. The legitimacy of the committee immediately came into question.
The work of the committee was further compromised because of the unfairness of its procedures. Certain persons like Nancy Pelosi, who had intimate knowledge of certain January 6 events, were never questioned. Others were questioned and the committee released partial transcripts or video snippets of testimony without allowing Republicans or Trump’s own lawyers to cross-examine witnesses or challenge the narrative offered to the American public.
The purpose of the committee was immediately obvious to any fair-minded American citizen. It was out to convict Trump in such a way as to either send him to prison or deny him the chance to ever run again for public office. The proceedings were one-sided and unjust. Famed law professor Alan Dershowitz, lifelong Democrat and a Biden supporter in 2020, said that “It’s the first time this has happened in my lifetime since McCarthyism, and it’s despicable.” He further stated that the committee Democrats and two anti-Trump Republicans created a clear perception with their performance of being “partisan zealots” rather than truth-seekers.
Nevertheless, the committee did discover some facts about the events of January 6 and Trump’s actions that day.
Trump was convinced that he had been cheated out of electoral victory on November 4, 2020. He still believes that today. There is nothing criminal about that belief. Many Americans agree with him. The question remains, did Trump do anything illegal or unethical to overthrow what appeared to be a settled electoral outcome? Did he provoke an insurrection?
On January 6 Trump was continuing to do anything in his power to slow the process until he could prove himself the victor. Some of his supporters believed as he did, but there were other close advisors, including Vice President Pence, who advised him to accept the inevitable and agree to a peaceful transfer of power. He was running out of options, but he hated to give in to what he considered a massive cheat.
As Trump ended his speech to his supporters on January 6, he advised them to march peacefully and patriotically to the Capitol. A large crowd had already gathered at the Capitol building, and some rioting had occurred. As members of the Trump rally arrived at the scene the situation became even more confused and disorderly. Trump sympathized with his supporters, and he wished to join them at the Capitol. Of course, he was dissuaded by the secret service officers and by his own family. Finally, and reluctantly, he was persuaded to urge his supporters to go home.
The most damning charge against Trump is his reluctance and slowness to give word to his supporters to leave the Capitol. He had urged them to march there peacefully, now he was telling them to back off. In some way, I believe he felt that he would be betraying them by this reversal. Nevertheless, he finally asked them to desist and go home.
There is a mass of exculpatory information that tends to clear Trump of criminal action and intent.
Not long after the November 4 election, with Trump’s approval, arrangements were being made for the peaceful transition of power. Trump was still fighting the results, but at the same time he was preparing to hand the reins of government to Biden.
On January 2, 2021, four days before the Capitol riots, Trump offered thousands of National Guard troops to the Capitol Police. The police turned down the offer, but then they began to have second thoughts. On January 4 Capitol Police asked their political minders — the House sergeant at arms chief among them — for permission to accept the troops, but they were turned down on the ground that such a show of force would create bad “optics.” As Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi was surely consulted on such a sensitive matter. The Washington Mayor, Muriel Bowser, was also contacted, and she also expressed opposition to the use of National Guard troops. Therefore, despite warnings of possible violence, the president’s offer of troops wasn’t accepted, and the Capitol Police were unable take a security posture on Jan. 6 commensurate with the threats.
The question for the January 6 Committee is, “If Donald Trump had any evil intent on January 6, why did he offer the National Guard?” It’s obvious that the Committee is not interested in the answer to that question. It doesn’t mesh with their narrative.
President Trump is innocent of any charge that he attempted to incite an insurrection.
The January 6 Committee is a farce.