1/6 Insurrection

During this week the House passed a bi-partisan bill to form a commission to investigate the 1/6 insurrection. House Minority Leader, Kevin McCarthy, opposed it at the last minute, even though he initially gave support to Rep. John Katco (R) to work on this bill with Katco’s Democratic counterpart, Rep. Bennie Thompson. Mitch McConnell has now also publicly opposed this.

In any event, I wanted to post the articles about this in the thread, Journal During the Trump Regime (10): Interregnum, but that thread is to slow to open and navigate now. Because of that I’m starting this thread to post comments about the insurrection. I’ll start things off in the first comments by posting something from the Interregnum thread.

15 thoughts on “1/6 Insurrection

  1. Posted originally on January 6, 2021:

    Updated 5/18/21

    Call to immediately impeach, remove and even arrest Trump

    I confess this idea didn’t cross my mind—although I did think impeachment and removal would have been warranted at about the end of the summer, before the election. At this point, I thought we could wait until the 20th, but the following commenters give make their case for impeaching, etc. now.

    Trump is a danger to his own country. He shouldn’t be president for one more minute. op-ed by Tom Nichols in USA Today

    Impeach. Convict. Indict. Robert Transinski from theBulwark

    After this, if Congress wants to pretend it is still the dominant legislative authority in this country, if its members still want us to view the U.S. Capitol as the seat from which the people govern, they need to immediately impeach and convict Trump and remove him from office for sedition.

    The charges should then be sent to the Justice Department, which should arrest Trump and indict him for the same crime.

    What is this if not sedition? This was a lawless mob encouraged—practically ordered—by the president to disrupt Congress in the act of recognizing the results of the Electoral College. It was a mob summoned to prevent the peaceful transition of power, to prevent the legitimate government of the United States from exercising the authority granted to it on behalf of the people of the United States. This mob overran the Capitol. Congress fled.

    Trump’s actions perfectly fit the : conspiring “by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereof.”

    Impeach Trump Again from Yoni Applebaum in theAtlantic

    Here are some thoughts on the matter:

    1. What effect would impeachment, removal (and arrest) have on the country? How would his followers react? I’m worried it would irreparably split the country. To me, this consideration has to be at the forefront of the decision.
    2. If Congress decides to impeach/remove, my sense is that they should first give him conditions he must meet, otherwise they will impeach/remove him—e.g., stop undermining the results with baseless lies, etc. In this way, the public, including his followers, that Congress is making reasonable demands and that Trump is behaving irresponsibly and unreasonably if he defies them. Congress would be giving Trump a chance. And if Trump ignores this, impeachment.

      and removal will seem justified to the majority of the Americans. In a way, Congress articulating behavior that warrants I/R—which, if reasonable, the public can examine and digest. They would give Trump a chance to avoid this—which is reasonable and fair on their part. If Trump doesn’t comply, then I/R should be more palatable. If Congress impeaches immediately, the public may fully understand the reasons for this—it may not seem as reasonable or necessary.

    3. Maybe we don’t have time for this—or the justification can be made right now. I do think Trump will do more to stay in power. I doubt he’ll stop. The chances he will see prison time is high, and he knows this. What happens if he attempts to invoke the Insurrection Act and take over the military?

    Edit

    The following, if true, lends support for Trasinski’s argument that Trump should be indicted (for insurrection).

    David French:

    Max Boot:

    I agree with his tweet.

    1/8/2021

    One reason to remove Trump

    Then again, if Trump were impeached and removed, he might be in a stronger position to push for this. On the other hand, if he did this as a private citizen, he would be subject to prosecution. There is a real possibility that he would be seen as a kind of martyr, which might just increase his political power.

    At the same time, if the House impeaches Trump, the Senate need not remove him immediately. They use it as a threat–in the even Trump did something that warranted removal. The threat might keep Trump in check until January 20, which should be a top priority.

    1/9/2021

    1/11/2021

    Thread from Juliette Kayyem:

    Political commentators are falling into mistake that violent terror threats get less so if some mercy (no impeachment) is shown its leader. There is history of counterterrorism efforts that show otherwise. Only complete isolation, powerlessness, deplatforming, of leader works. 1/
    For the next 10 days and beyond, Trump has to be seen as ineffectual, without oxygen, so he can not have second act. No soft exit. It’s horrible to admit, but do not buy into argument that violence is less if we put a brake on gas pedal. They need to be stopped. 2/
    But the violence is actually worse if they, and future recruits, view him as strong. They want to back a winner. We prepare for violence but it will be less so in the future with no leadership and if they know their leader can’t help them. 3/
    Maybe I’m sounding too harsh, no mercy etc. He may be president of the United States but he is also inciter of domestic terrorism. And his complete isolation and condemnation is the safest path forward. We can’t stop now. Total isolation. 4/4

    1/13/2021

    Reading this thread makes me think the Senate convicting Trump is unlikely, which is dismaying especially given the account of Trump’s reaction during the mob ransacking of the Capitol. If Senate Republicans can’t convict when the Trump was slow to react, was excited by ransacking–which could have lead to their own physical harm or even death–then I don’t know what will.

    One thing that comes to mind: Are the Republican Senators worried about the safety of themselves and their families if they vote to convict Trump? To me, this is a legitimate concern, and the threat could be real long after this vote–extending out for a year or more maybe. Some fanatical Trump supporter may seek revenge. At the same time, I would think this applies to Democratic Senators as well, and I’m assuming they’ll all vote to convict. If physical safety is not really a factor, then I can’t sympathize with them if they don’t vote to convict.

    With regard to the fear Republicans may be feeling,

    1/19/2021

    Not a call to remove Trump, but certainly something that can be used in the trial to convict him:

    “Other powerful people”=congressional Republicans, GOP party leaders, Fox News and other conservative pundits.

    “Republicans, such as myself, also failed to vigorously speak out and condemn President Trump’s lies that undermined the election and his incitement of violence and racial tensions.” Hope he said that, too, but I doubt it.

    1/20/2021

    op-ed by Amanda Carpenter in Bulwark

    Never forget that the insurrection of January 6 did not start on January 6. Yes, Donald Trump stood before the mob on the morning of January 6 and urged them to march on the Capitol. But the mob gathering was planned in advance. And even before that, the ground was seeded for weeks on end by elected Republicans attesting to the lie that Donald Trump was the legitimate winner of the presidential election and calling for the results to be overturned, by hook or by crook.

    McConnell waits until December 15 to congratulate Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as the winners.

    For his part, Mitch McConnell does not seem to have done much of anything to stop this train until December 31, when he tried to warn senators against objecting to Biden’s certification during a conference call.

    By then, it was much too late.

    McConnell, though his silence and complicity, permitted Trump to unfurl his election conspiracies for weeks. And, McConnell helped by throwing his full backing behind the Georgia candidates who amplified, legitimized, and took those lies straight into the heart of the United States Capitol.

    5/18/2021

    Unreal reporting about some Secret Services members believing the election was stolen.

  2. Putin questions U.S. prosecution of Capitol rioters, saying mob carried only ‘political requests’ from WaPo

    With regard to the upcoming meeting between Russia and the U.S., the U.S. wants to raise the issue of Russia poisoning and jailing political opposition leader, Alexey Navalny.

    In response, the Kremlin has attempted to draw an equivalency to the U.S. treatment of the Capitol rioters. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called it a “persecution” earlier this week.

    “These are not looters or thieves, these people came with political requests,” Putin said of the pro-Trump mobs that stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6.“I’m not giving any evaluations to the actual event. I’m talking about what followed after,”

    I’m not sure what he’s saying, but some of the “political requests” was to hang the Vice-President and halt the certification of the election.

    People who support or make light of the 1/6 riot should know that Putin is their ally. I suspect he’s saying this to further divide the country. Those who are silent or support the event are only assisting in that endeavor.

  3. Chuck Todd gives a decent timeline leading up to the 1/6 insurrection, although I think he leaves out some important details, which I’ll mention below. He rightly describes the situation as a moment when “our democracy was hanging by a thread.”

    • Todd starts his timeline on December 14, the day of the electoral college votes. However, from the summer Trump was undermining confidence in the elections from the summer–saying it was rigged, making comments to delegitimize mail-in ballots. This is important because it fed the belief that Joe Biden didn’t legitimately win the election, and this was a crucial impetus for the 1/6 storming of the Capitol.
    • On a related note, we should mentioned the Texas AG, Ken Paxton, and several other state AGs filed a lawsuit to block electors from four battleground states. This is especially absurd since Republicans/conservatives claim to be champions of states rights. The SCOTUS rejected the lawsuit. However, even though the lawsuit was blocked, the action further undermined confidence in the legitimacy of the election.
    • Todd rightly mentions Trump calling the Georgia state officials to find “11,780 votes,” but I think he should also mention that something similar happened in Michigan. At one point, the Michigan Republican politicians and officials tried to delay or not certify votes. (I believe they didn’t want to certify the votes in Detroit and maybe other districts with a lot of African-American voters.) Trump invited Michigan Republicans to D.C.–and they went there to discuss this. In the process to certify Michigan’s vote, Aaron van Langeveld, who is a Republican, certified the votes, despite pressure not to. He and others in Michigan should also included among the last guardrails that held to preserve our democracy.
    • Trump isn’t the only one to incite violence. Rudy Giuliani, and Republicans like Ted Cruz also used reckless language as well.
    • According to reports, Trump reacted slowly to storming of the Capitol. Based on some reports, he was pleased and confused why people thought it was a bad thing. (This is one reason we need a bi-partisan report, and Trump should testify under oath.)
    • There’s some reports that some Congress persons actually helped some of the rioters get into the Capitol. If true, they have betrayed our country, and there should be severe consequences for them as well.
    1. Inside Ted Cruz’s last-ditch battle to keep Trump in power from WaPo

      This long article provides enough information for me to conclude that Cruz should not be a U.S. Senator, let along presidential candidate.

      An examination by The Washington Post of Cruz’s actions between Election Day and Jan. 6, 2021, shows just how deeply he was involved, working directly with Trump to concoct a plan that came closer than widely realized to keeping him in power.

      Here’s the plan:

      As (John) Eastman outlined a scenario in which Vice President Mike Pence could deny certifying Biden’s election, Cruz crafted a complementary plan in the Senate. He proposed objecting to the results in six swing states and delaying accepting the electoral college results on Jan. 6 in favor of a 10-day “audit” — thus potentially enabling GOP state legislatures to overturn the result. Ten other senators backed his proposal, which Cruz continued to advocate on the day rioters attacked the Capitol.

      Both John Eastman and Ted Cruz clerked for Federal Judge J. Michael Luttig. Here’s Luttig’s opinion about Cruz’s role in 1/6:

      Luttig told The Post that he believes that Cruz — who once said that Luttig was “like a father to me” — played a paramount role in the events leading to Jan. 6.

      “Once Ted Cruz promised to object, January 6 was all but foreordained, because Cruz was the most influential figure in the Congress willing to force a vote on Trump’s claim that the election was stolen,” Luttig said in a statement to The Post. “He was also the most knowledgeable of the intricacies of both the Electoral Count Act and the Constitution, and the ways to exploit the two.”

      Remarkably, this is not the only example of outrageous and irresponsible behavior by Cruz. The article also includes Cruz’s willingness to take two cases challenging the election results to the SCOTUS. One involved a case put forth by the Texas A.G., requesting the election results of 4 other states (Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, and Wisconsin) by thrown out. So much for the principle of states’ rights.

      Cruz’s cooperation was seen as crucial by Trump’s allies. They believed his experience and standing as a senator brought credibility in comparison to the much-criticized work of Trump’s other attorneys, like former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, who would later have his New York state license suspended for making “demonstrably false and misleading statements” about the election. (Giuliani could not be reached for comment.)

      Ted Cruz is totally unfit for office. This is the kind of thing that supports the claim that the Republicans have given up on democracy.

  4. Priming the pump for more violence

    OAN Goes Full Fascist, Calls for Mass Executions Over ‘Election Fraud’ from The Daily Beast

    In a comment to Talking Points Memo, however, (Pearson) Sharp (the guy who has pushing false claims about voter fraud and suggesting those involved should be executed) asserted that “neither I, nor OAN, are suggesting anyone should be executed. That is for the appropriate law enforcement agencies to determine.” He went on to add that “OAN is simply pointing out that if election fraud is proven, then it could very well constitute treason. And according to our laws, treason is punishable by death.”

    I just listened to a podcast with Anne Applebaum who believes this is planting the seeds on the idea; extreme acts first have to be conceived and then suggested to the public. I agree with her. This is dangerous. And this is why Rep. Liz Cheney is right–they have to speak out against lies and crazy ideas like this, in order to prevent violence and the further fracturing of our democracy.

  5. New York Times video summary of the storming of the Capitol:

    Two thoughts:

    Trump and the supporters who incited the storming of the Capitol are authoritarians, not patriots or people who believe in a democratic republic and the rule of law. These individuals must be condemned; they have no place in American politics.

    What a colossal failure of security. How could this happen? The video just reaffirms the need for a 9-11 style commission to get to the bottom of this, to prevent this from happening again.

  6. Rep. Mo Brooks involvement with the 1/6 riot needs to be investigated.

    Although a few years ago, if any Congressperson did what Brooks has done and said and alleged to have done and said, at the very least, his/her political career would be over.

    What Velshi describes isn’t only incitement of violence, but sedition–with Trump and other Congresspersons guilty as well. The House Select Committee needs to get to the bottom of this.

    1. Ali Velshi is pretty sharp. I don’t watch his show but I listen to Rachel Maddow via podcast and he’s her usual sub when she has a night off.

  7. The behind-the-scenes actions of Trump and his allies that occurred before, during, and after are critical parts of the 1/6 insurrection. For example, see the following– DOJ officials rejected colleague’s request to intervene in Georgia’s election certification: Emails from ABC News

    The emails, dated Dec. 28, 2020, show the former acting head of DOJ’s civil division, Jeffrey Clark, circulating a draft letter — which he wanted then-acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen and acting deputy attorney general Richard Donoghue to sign off on — urging Georgia’s governor and other top officials to convene the state legislature into a special session so lawmakers could investigate claims of voter fraud.

    Later,

    “There is no chance that I would sign this letter or anything remotely like this,” Donoghue said. “While it maybe true that the Department ‘is investigating various irregularities in the 2020 election for President’ (something we typically would not state publicly) the investigations that I am aware of relate to suspicions of misconduct that are of such a small scale that they simply would not impact the outcome of the Presidential Election.”

    Donoghue closed his email response by stating that, while he was available to speak to Clark directly about his request, “from where I stand, this is not even within the realm of possibility.”

    Donoghue cited former Attorney General William Barr’s previous statements that the department had no indication fraud had impacted the election to a significant degree, and that no information had surfaced since Barr’s departure that changed that assessment.

    A few days ago, WaPo and other news outlets had a story about Donoghue’s notes of conversations with Trump that is also germane to the information above:

    In one Dec. 27 (2020) conversation, according to the written account, acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen told Trump that the Justice Department “can’t + won’t snap its fingers + change the outcome of the election.”

    The president replied that he understood but wanted the agency to “just say the election was corrupt + leave the rest to me and the R. Congressmen,” according to the notes written by Donoghue, a participant in the discussion.

    Trump seems to be wanting the public announcements as a way to create pretense and opportunity to overturn the election, and it’s clear he doesn’t care if his claims are baseless.

    1. Ahead of Jan. 6, Willard hotel in downtown D.C. was a Trump team ‘command center’ for effort to deny Biden the presidency from WaPo

      Who was there: Giuliani, Bannon, Bernard Kerik, former New York City police commissioner who was there as an investigator; John Eastman, “the scholar, who outlined scenarios for denying Biden the presidency in an Oval Office meeting on Jan. 4 with Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.”

      Why were they there:

      They sought to make the case to Pence and ramp up pressure on him to take actions on Jan. 6 that Eastman suggested were within his powers, three people familiar with the operation said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to describe private conversations. Their activities included finding and publicizing alleged evidence of fraud, urging members of state legislatures to challenge Biden’s victory and calling on the Trump-supporting public to press Republican officials in key states.

      One thought: These people, along with Trump, didn’t have sufficient justification for urging the VP to not delay or reject the electoral votes or for trying to convince state legislatures to delay or reject the votes. If future politicians can resort to the tactics of this group, particularly on insufficient evidence for their position, our elections and our democracy will be dysfunctional. Kinda like how it is now.

      The country needs Republicans and conservative pundits to repudiate these efforts and reaffirm that Biden is the legitimate winner.

    2. EXCLUSIVE: Jan. 6 Protest Organizers Say They Participated in ‘Dozens’ of Planning Meetings With Members of Congress and White House Staff from Rolling Stone magazine

      Along with Greene, the conspiratorial pro-Trump Republican from Georgia who took office earlier this year, the pair (protest organizers) both say the members who participated in these conversations or had top staffers join in included Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.), Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), and Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas).

      Also according to the two organizers:

      And Gosar, who has been one of the most prominent defenders of the Jan. 6 rioters, allegedly took things a step further. Both sources say he dangled the possibility of a “blanket pardon” in an unrelated ongoing investigation to encourage them to plan the protests.

      and

      Both describe Katrina Pierson, who worked for Trump’s campaign in 2016 and 2020, as a key liaison between the organizers of protests against the election and the White House.

      “Katrina was like our go-to girl,” the organizer says. “She was like our primary advocate.”

      and

      Both sources also describe Trump’s White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, as someone who played a major role in the conversations surrounding the protests on Jan. 6. Among other things, they both say concerns were raised to Meadows about Alexander’s protest at the Capitol and the potential that it could spark violence.

  8. President Biden’s speech on the one year anniversary of the 1/6 insurrection:

    President Biden said,

    Look, folks, now it’s up to all of us — to “We the People” — to stand for the rule of law, to preserve the flame of democracy, to keep the promise of America alive.

    That promise is at risk, targeted by the forces that value brute strength over the sanctity of democracy, fear over hope, personal gain over public good.

    Make no mistake about it: We’re living at an inflection point in history.

    and later,

    I said it many times and it’s no more true or real than when we think about the events of January 6th: We are in a battle for the soul of America. A battle that, by the grace of God and the goodness and gracious — and greatness of this nation, we will win.

    I want to say something he doesn’t say–something that I’ve felt is important to articulate, if it’s accurate–namely, the vision of those threatening the republic. President Biden mentions autocracy and lies, and I agree these are part of the un-American vision for the country Biden warns us about. However, this leaves out the motivation for those supporting this vision. For Trump, narcissism would be a plausible and sufficient explanation, but what about all of his supporters?

    To me, the most plausible explanation involves a desire for majority status groups–such as whites, Christians, males and heterosexuals–to retain this status–and to either prevent minority status groups–i.e., people of color, non-Christians, females, and LGBT individuals–from gaining greater status and prominence in our country–or to cause havoc and destruction as an expression of rage over these changes.

    If this is accurate, then two competing visions are battling for the soul of America–one in which America is based on the principle that all people are created equal–that is, no group has greater or lesser value in America because of their ethnic, racial, religious, gender or sexual status, which the vision Biden most other modern POTUSes have espoused–and the other in which an individual’s or group’s status as Americans are based on their ethnic, racial, religious, gender or sexual status. Specifically, whites, Christians, males, and heterosexuals have a higher status–are more American–than those outside of these groups.

    Trump and his supporters don’t explicitly articulate this vision, but what is a more plausible motivation for Trump supporters? What would make them believe Trump’s lies–or not care if he lies–tolerate his incompetence and reckless handling of the pandemic, and his authoritarian ways–continuing their support despite these things? The Democrats’ policy positions are not an adequate explanation for this (except for the ones that threaten the status of the majority groups–e.g., increased immigration of non-whites). Additionally, my sense is that opposition to something like critical race theory is more of a symbolic fight. That is, critical race theory is a symbol and proxy for the fight for maintaining the status of majority groups. I suspect the same applies to previous battles over school prayer, flag burning–maybe even abortion, gun rights, and gay marriage served this function as well. This not to say that non of Trump’s supporters have genuine ideological convictions in these matters. I’m sure some do, but I’m skeptical that an ideological conviction is the animating force behind Trumpism. Trump has violated many seemingly critical conservative values–and that did not damage his political power.

    What does MAGA mean? MAGA stands for preserving or returning to an America where the status of majority status groups was rock solid. Now, I’m not 100% sure this is correct, but I find this to be the most plausible and compelling explanations. I do think a sizable group of individuals would embrace an authoritarian to

    Why do they hate Democrats, and I do believe the antipathy towards Democrats is real? I do think Democrats can belittle Trump supporters, and that’s part of it, but I also think they see Democrats as those embracing if not encouraging the changes that contribute to the weakening status of majority status groups. If this is true, this would definitely explain the Trump supporters’ hostility towards Democrats, and also why they would see Democrats as a threat to their vision of America.

    So what if this all correct? What’s my point? My point–or my sense is that articulating all of this, as the competing vision for America, seems really important. It’s something all Americans should know, if this indeed is accurate. Trump and his supporters benefit from keeping this hidden.

    But whether this is the case or not, Americans should know the two options between them. I suspect Trump supporters themselves may not fully acknowledge this, and for these individuals, I feel like it’s good for them to be totally aware of this and ask if this is truly the vision of America they want. They may be angry and scared about the social changes occurring, but would do they really want to dismantle democracy for that?Force them to consider this. Additionally, Americans who are not fully engaged in politics should also be clear about these two options. (I’m fairly confident that a large majority of Americans–including many in the majority status groups–would reject the MAGA vision I’ve fleshed out.)

    Maybe I’m wrong about this. But if I’m wrong, I think there is some reason that explains Trump supporters that we haven’t identified, and whatever that is, my sense is that getting this out in the open is really important. Maybe I’m wrong about that, too. It’s possible that talking about this could be fraught with pitfalls, making the situation worse. But I just feel uneasy about keeping the main drivers behind Trumpism hidden.

    1/10/2022

    Forgot to comment on some other sections of the speech–and I’m going to do so speaking from the perspective of Trump supporters, based on Trump supporters’ vision that I posited above.

    And so, at this moment, we must decide: What kind of nation are we going to be?…

    Are we going to be a nation that lives not by the light of the truth but in the shadow of lies?

    We cannot allow ourselves to be that kind of nation. The way forward is to recognize the truth and to live by it.

    The Trump supporter may not care about the truth–or, there is a larger truth for them that matters more–namely, that their status is waning, while status of other groups are rising. It’s plausible to me thatp people will tolerate lies and give up democracy in order to preserve their majority status.

    Finally, the third Big Lie being told by a former President and his supporters is that the mob who sought to impose their will through violence are the nation’s true patriots.

    Is that what you thought when you looked at the mob ransacking the Capitol, destroying property, literally defecating in the hallways [rifling through desks of senators and representatives, hunting down members of congress?

    They’re fighting for Trump, who they believe is fighting against the loss of their majority status. Their America is one where whites, Christians, males and heterosexuals have the highest status–and maybe even represent true Americans. This is the real America to them; and so fighting for this is a patriotic act.

    You can’t love your country only when you win.

    But if the majority status groups lose this status, Trump supporters may believe they’re losing their country. Would they only love America if whites, Christians, et al., are the most prominent and influential groups in the country? I really would like a national discussion on this. (I’m more optimistic that most American would reject this–that they would not define America in this way. If I’m right, the two visions should be out in the open and at the forefront of our political discussions, forcing people to choose.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *