House Select Committee to Investigate the 1/6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol July 27, 2021July 27, 2021 Hearings started today. This will be a thread for the work of this House Select Committee and anything pertaining to it.
29 thoughts on “House Select Committee to Investigate the 1/6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol”
Rep Liz Cheney’s opening statement, which I totally agree with:
Rep. Adam Kinzinger:
Meanwhile, other Republicans respond to the situation much differently
Here’s how a few described the rioters of 1/6:
Apparently, Rep. McCarthy, Rep. Scalise, and Rep. Stefanik are trying to blame Nancy Pelosi for the insurrection on 1/6.
If this were true, the Republicans would have welcomed an independent investigation.
More reactions from Congressional Republicans:
It seems like many didn’t even watch the hearings.
Reasons Republicans have opposed a special commission or committee to study the 1/6 incident:
As mentioned above, Republicans are trying to blame Speaker Pelosi for the 1/6 riot. However,
I will be shocked if the House Select Committee does not answer these questions. It will be a failure if they don’t. And again, if he wanted these questions answered–if he was confident Speaker Pelosi is to blame–he would have supported an independent commission to study what happened.
It looks like they know the truth will do great political damage to Trump and the Republicans, so their plan has been to not investigate the incident, hoping the issue will go away. Now that the Democrats are investigating the matter, the Republicans have to find ways to undermine the endeavor. But as Rep. Cheney says, this will cause the 1/6 riot to become a cancer to the republic–we can expect this to happen again, maybe every four years.
Regarding Senate Republicans,
The House Select Committee held the first of several upcoming public hearings on their findings.
I didn’t get to watch all of this yet–I missed all of Rep. Thompson’s opening, for example. But here are some random thoughts, off the top of my head, from what I did see.
I’ll have more thoughts after I watch the whole thing.
I hope a lot of people are watching this. (My understanding is that Fox News only put this on Fox Business channel, which has a smaller audience. My understanding is that they ran Tucker Carlson’s show–with no commercials.)
I still didn’t watch the entire hearing, but here are more thoughts–some I forgot to add yesterday.
What surprises me is that I read an article a few days ago that reported something similar–although it involved Mark Meadows hearing something to this effect. Here, there’s a specific quote attributed to Trump–and it’s appalling.
By the way, the sentiments is consistent with something Trump said in an interview with Jon Karl last year:
And I can’t forget Rupert Murdoch and other conservative journalists and pundits who have been complicit in aiding Trump and the GOP.
Based on what I’ve been reading, the connection between groups like the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers and people in Trump’s circle seems to be Roger Stone and Rudy Giuliani. (There may be connection with Alex Jones as well, but I don’t think he’d be considered a member of Trump’s circle.) I’ll be curious to see if 1/5 committee points to this connection.
Notes on the first hearing
Second hearing (June 13, 2022)
I don’t think I have much to say about this second hearing…or I have one big thing that’s occupying my mind, crowding out other thoughts.
They knew–Congressional GOP, party leaders, Rupert Murdoch and many of the pundits who work for him–they knew Trump was lying; they knew these lies were incredibly damaging to our democracy and dangerous to our country.
Yet, they didn’t sufficiently push back, and in some cases they actively defended him. Even worse, some perpetuated these damaging lies.
I don’t think this enough Americans have arrived at this truth (or what I think is the truth). It can’t be. If enough Americans realized this, the amount and degree of revulsion and animus towards these people would be off the charts. Or am I wrong?
Let me put it another way, posing this as a hypothetical. Suppose the members of a president’s party–specifically, the prominent leaders–knew the president was grossly unfit–that he didn’t respect the rule of law or the Constitution and may even be mentally ill, posting a serious threat to the country–but they never made these feelings public, and sometimes defended the president–doing this purely for power and our personal gain. I’m assuming most would agree these individuals would deserve the harshest and most intense contempt. Right? How is this not an egregious betrayal to their country?
To me, this is how I feel about McConnell, McCarthy, Cruz, Rubio, Graham, Bill Barr, Ronna McDaniel, Matt Schlaap, Rubert Murdoch, and many others. They knew, and put the country danger–and still continue to do so. They were the worst.
I listened to both hearings in their entirety so far. There are a few things worth thinking about from this second one.
1. Some of the most valid, valuable testimony is from people who are good at their jobs.
People far away from the White House, like the Fox News elections desk guy, and people inside, like the veteran Republican campaign lawyer, got to their positions because they’re (presumably) competent and professional, and because they have some measure of integrity.
The shadier element in the White House got ahead other ways. I’m generalizing, but a willingness to play dirty or (giving a benefit of the doubt they don’t warrant) simply mean but within the rules is a way to success in business and elected office.
The competent, credible people aren’t simply taking stands on principle, although I’m hoping that’s most of it. A lot of what the shady White House people was asking of the competent people required them to shoot down their own established credibility. Why in the world would they do that? The fact that the White House doesn’t seem to grasp this is evidence that they simply live by and play by different rules. They didn’t have to be competent to be successful and they have no professional name to protect or defend.
2 (related, but tangential). I’m taking an increasingly dim view of success in business and in elected office.
Not politics in general, because there are a lot of people successful in politics who don’t have to play the same game, but for elected office? It’s just a different way to play and to live, something I’ve thought a lot about since watching a whole season of Survivor several years ago. If you’re not doing whatever you can get away with, you’re not playing to win, and if you’re not playing to win, you don’t belong in the game.
Depressing, right? It is for me.
3. People who gave money for the legal costs are as much victims of scamming as senior citizens who turn their retirement savings over in response to some bogus phone call.
They should be pissed, and we should advocate for them, even if in this case it’s most likely stupidity (and possibly malevolence) and not merely naivete.
I don’t think every politician is doing this, although I’m not entirely clear on what constitutes “whatever you can get away with.”
Yes, but a lot of competent, well-respected individuals compromised their principles—or they never possessed these principles in the first place. In other words, the dirty individuals, including Trump, had plenty of evidence that they could successfully pressure well-respected individuals into doing bad thing—bad things that will indelibly stain their reputations.
They should be pissed, but I worry they will obdurately refuse to acknowledge they’ve been conned.
(Hopefully, I’ll have some thoughts on the 3rd hearing soon.)
3rd hearing (June 16, 2022)
(Note: I have only heard portions of the hearing.)
According to the committee, the focus is on “President Trump’s relentless effort to pressure Mike Pence to refuse to count electoral votes on January 6th.” The committee will attempt to show this occurred in spite of advisers, except for one, telling Trump this Pence could not do this–it was wrong and unconstitutional.
The adviser, who was the lone exception, John Eastman, a law professor, came out looking really badly.
Rep. Bennie Thompson’s description of what Trump, and his legal adviser John Eastman, were asking Pence to do–namely, “that one man, his own Vice President, could determine the outcome of the election” that the Vice President could “unilaterally select the President” makes clear the absurdity and wrongness of the action. VP Pence, in a previous speech, also expressed this well when he said”…there is no idea more un-American than the notion that any one person could choose the American president.”
Former judge, J. Michael Luttig, ostensibly a highly respected conservative judge, had some of the most eye-popping statements–for example,
Just to be clear–by “allies” and “supporters” Luttig also means the GOP. I know this because he clarified this in an NPR June 18, 2022 interview, which I recommend listening to.
One new tidbit: Trump knew of the riot and then tweeted critical remarks about Pence, possibly endangering Pence even more. To me, it’s clear that Trump intentional incited a violent mob to intimidate Pence and Congress. Even if he didn’t, acts of violence occurred prior to 1/6, with perpetrators citing Trump’s rhetoric (e.g., the El Paso shooter). Any responsible leader would have taken greater care with their rhetoric. This applies now as well. 1/6 occurred–leaders, including those in the GOP, have to be careful with their words. At this point, political leaders and pundits who are not careful are being irresponsible and reckless. For Trump and his allies, I believe they’re continue to foment a mob, as a way to subvert the next elections.
If the committee wanted Americans to get see how extensive the efforts were, behind the scenes, to overturn the election, I think they’re doing a good job. This notion has been crystallizing for me–not just the extensiveness of the planning, but the degree to which some people were saying it was wrong and/or illegal–making the efforts by Trump and his allies even more egregious.
It’s worth hearing it in its entirety, in order. The second half feels like the resolution for the (slowly) rising action of the first half.
It takes a while. I had to go back a couple of minutes several times throughout, to replay stuff I didn’t think I got.
I tried to follow Mitchell’s advice and watch all of the hearing, but I think I missed some of the early part of the hearing. I also listened to the hearing in piece-meal fashion (over the course of several days).
Here’s some notes I got:
Greg Jacob, legal counsel for VP
Marc Short, VP’s Chief of Staff
I would have never spoken those words ever in my life, except that that’s what the former president and his allies are telling us. As I said in that New York Times op-ed, wherein I was speaking about the Electoral Count Act of 1887, the former president and his allies are executing that blueprint for 2024 in open, in plain view of the American public.
I repeat, I would have never uttered one single one of those words unless the former president and his allies were candidly and proudly speaking those exact words to America. (emphasis added)
Fourth Day (June 21, 2022)
A plot twist I did not see coming, and left me flummoxed.
From the AP via theAtlantic
I just can’t wrap my head around the incongruity between the man’s heartfelt and admirable words about his loyalty to the Constitution, the courage he had to keep to his principles, and his decision to vote for a man who would burn down the Constitution. Bowers and his family had first hand experience of this.
His explanation doesn’t help me. A president could enact all my favored policies, but if he was a serious danger to our democracy (and the world), I would oppose him. I would think Bowers, given his testimony, would agree with me on that.
If I had to guess, I would say the majority of Bowers’s information comes from conservative news sources–including much of the 1/6 hearings. Believing the latter is a little difficult, but it would make his answer more understandable. To wit, for Bowers, this may be the only time Trump tried to do something so egregiously authoritarian. Bowers may be unaware of all the other instances, or maybe he’s dismissive of them, reasoning that the mainstream press has an irrational hatred of Trump, etc.
If this is not an adequate explanation, then what is? It doesn’t make sense–I’m stalwart in keeping my oath to the Constitution, but I’ll vote for a good who would violate this oath?
Fifth Day (June 23, 2022)
Transcript from NPR.
Jeff Clark—(Kinzinger) “acting head of the civil division and the head of the environmental and natural resources division at the DOJ” from the environmental section of DOJ; apparently not a criminal attorney, who never conducted a criminal investigation, who Trump wanted to appoint as AG, over Jeff Rosen.
Jeff Rosen—former acting AG
Richard Donohue—former acting Deputy AG
Eric Herschmann—attorney to Trump campaign?
Steve Engel—head of OLC (Office of Legal Counsel–provide legal advice to DOJ) (Note: Katie Benner from NYT pointed out that Engel wrote a lot of legal defenses for Trump’s actions during the administration–decisions that seem sketchy–but he told Trump he would be forced to resign if Trump appointed Clark as Acting AG.)
Pat Cippolone-WH counsel
Notes (some of very raw)
DOJ not quality control for elections—that’s state
50 minute mark on
And so, I said, Mr. President, you’re talking about putting a man in that seat who has never tried a criminal case, who has never conducted a criminal investigation. He’s telling you that he’s going to take charge of the department, 115,000 employees, including the entire FBI, and turn the place on a dime and conduct nationwide criminal investigations that will produce results in a matter of days.
It’s impossible. It’s absurd. It’s not going to happen and it’s going to fail. He has never been in front of a trial jury, a grand jury. He’s never even been to Chris Wray’s office. I said at one point, if you walked into Chris Wray’s office, one, would you know how to get there? And two, if you got there, would he even know who you are?
And do you really think that the FBI is going to suddenly start following your orders? It’s not going to happen. He’s not competent. And that’s the — the point at which Mr. Clark tried to defend himself by saying, well, I’ve been involved in very significant civil and environmental litigation. I’ve argued many appeals in appellate courts and things of that nature.
And then I pointed out that, yes, he was an environmental lawyer, and I didn’t think that was appropriate background to be running in the United States Justice Department.
All anyone is going to think is that you went through two attorneys general in two weeks until you found the environmental guy to sign this thing. And so, the story is not going to be that the Department of Justice has found massive corruption that would have changed the result of the election. It’s going to be the disaster of Jeff Clark.
And I think at that point Pat Cipollone said, yeah, this is a murder suicide pact, this letter.
Others have been conservative Republicans for their entire careers. It can be difficult to accept that President Trump abused your trust, that he deceived you. Many will invent excuses to ignore that fact. But that is a fact. I wish it weren’t true, but it is. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I yield back.
Sixth Day (6/28/2022)
(Note: This hearing was unplanned–the Committee announced this hearing yesterday or a day before. The notes are not comprehensive. At some points, I got so disgusted, and I didn’t want to write anything down.)
Cassidy Hutchinson, aide to Mark Meadows, WH Chief of Staff (from 2019; previously worked with Steve Scalise and Ted Cruz)
Tony Ornato, White House Deputy Chief of Staff (security protocols and oversee protection for POTUS, VP and their families and WH staff)
“mags” = magnetometer (metal detectors used to detect weapons)
hand. We’re going back.” Trump lunged at Engel’s clavicle. Cheney points out that Engel was there, hearing Ornato recount this and she asks if Engel corrected or disagreed; and if either Ornato and Engel later said this didn’t happen. CH: No.
Side details from Carol Leonnig of WaPo that I found eye-opening, especially the fact that a “large contingent” of Secret Service cheered for Biden to fail.
Another tidbit in the video: Pence’s head of security told Tony Ornato, Trump’s Deputy Chief of Staff, who is in charge of security for WH (I think), “I know you people. You’ll take him (Pence” to Alaska.” The context was Pence refusing to go into the car when they were escaping from the rioters on 1/6.
I’m late on notes for the Day 7 hearing, but here’s something that seems germane to the investigation:
This happened last week. (The thread also has Trump’s social media tweets attacking Voss.)
Day 7 didn’t do much for me and I don’t think a direct link between the White House and the organized groups was established. Only the very last note by Cheney really perked my ears. 45 called a witness on the phone but the witness didn’t answer. Notified his or her lawyer instead. The attempted tampering is just another symptom of a guy who has always just done whatever he wants because there have never been actual consequences.
Seventh Day (7/12/2022)
Time period: 12/14/20-1/6/2020
Nicholas Luna (aide):
(Ali Alexander (organizer for “Stop the Steal” rallies)
Eighth Day (July 21, 2022)
One thing that stood out: A National Security person testified (via video) that the VP’s Secret Service detail were “screaming” at a certain point during the rioting. He says they were saying things like, “Say goodbye to your family.” In other words, the Secret Service thought they might soon die.
This is around the time that Trump tweets out that Pence lacked courage. (The committee also claims that many of the protesters were really angry at Pence. Sarah Matthews, in person, describes that tweet as “pouring gasoline on the fire.”
Utterly ridiculous and enraging.
(I want to hear from testimony from Pence’s Secret Service personnel.)
I gathered they were saying things like “Say goodbye to my family,” which is even more horrible. I had to miss an hour of this (first time I watched on TV and first time I consumed it live) for a Zoom meeting, but I’ll get caught up later. Probably listen to the whole thing from the beginning.
That stuff about getting Pence out was the tensest. They were really not sure if and when they could get him out of the building safely.
Reliving the legislators’ hiding behind chairs in the chamber while people were right outside the entrance trying to get in was also horrifying. Again. Dammit, what would have happened if those idiots had broken through before the congresspeople evacuated?
45 deliberately avoiding phrases like “the election is over” also damning, as if he needs any more damning.
I remembered a few more things that stood out.
Closing statements by the committee members were all pretty terrific, Kinzinger’s especially. I liked how Cheney addressed the lack of cross-examination by skeptical Republican would-be committee members too.
It continues to baffle me that for so many people THIS was where the line was. Ugh.
For some reason, every time Thompson has said more people are coming forward with new info, I’ve been skeptical. Yet today when he said, “The dam has begun to break,” it sounded completely for real. It doesn’t please me; it kind of fills me with foreboding.
I missed parts of the hearing, too. It’s kinda hard to catch all of it in one sitting.
From the previous hearings, I knew Pence’s security detail was concerned about this, but I didn’t know details about their emotional state–i.e., the yelling and screaming. (I think I just read that they were passing on personal messages to their family.)
On a related note, there are some other details that really seem important:
You know it’s likely not good. Here’s the thing, though. I have to believe that if something awful happened–if members of Congress were seriously injured, or worse–the GOP would forcefully condemn Trump, and continue to do so. (Well, I tend to think this would happen, but I admit I do have some degree of doubt.)
But what this means to me is that the events of 1/6 (and every other awful thing Trump has done) weren’t sufficiently bad for them to forcefully condemn Trump and turn against him. They know something much worse could have happened, and I also believe they know something awful could still happen–but they’re going sit this one out, until it’s too late. To me, this is sickening.
I think Kinzinger’s might have been the best, but some of the others seem to go a bit too long and meander. What did you think of Cheney emphasizing the courage of women in her closing remarks? I thought it stood out as something curious. (She made a point of elevating women in her speech at the Reagan library as well.)
Here’s the first thought that came to mind: She’s courting women, laying the ground work to run against Trump in the event she loses her congressional seat. If she gives Republican women, especially suburban women, an appealing alternate to Trump, maybe she’d have a shot of beating him.
One other thing. One point of emphasis in the hearing seemed to be the oath to the Constitution. Did you notice that? If so, what’s your take on the reasons for this emphasis? The first thought that came to mind: They’re talking to the other congressional Republicans and Trump administration officials.
Some other comments I forgot to add, including more responses to Mitchell’s posts. Before I do, I want to mention one or two takeaways–things I would point out to those who haven’t had a chance to listen to this.
Trump didn’t act to quell the riot and protect members of Congress and their staff and family–in spite of people in his administration, supporters outside of it (e.g., Fox News pundits), and family members.
Trump did act in two ways: 1) contacting Senators, wanting them to delay the certification of the electoral votes, and 2) tweeting that Pence lacked courage to do the “right” thing, which likely increased the peril of Pence, his family, and the security detail around him.
(On a side note, the press has reported a lot of this prior to the hearings, relying on anonymous sources to do so. But the hearings featured testimony from Trump officials that corroborates these previous reports, and vindicates the journalists use of these sources.)
I’m probably being a bit nitpicky, but I didn’t find her response to the lack of cross examination devastating or even super effective. Yes, Bill Barr would likely not be tripped up by cross examination, but some of the other witnesses (e.g., Hutchinson, who is young; Moss, the poll worker and some others) may have more difficulty. If Cheney meant that the (good faith) cross examination would like not change matters much, I tend to agree with this. However, I do think Republicans, acting in bad faith, could have really muddied the waters.
I’m not entirely sure what you’re referring to by “this.” Are you referring to the lack of cross-examination? That is, for many people the hearings were invalidated because it lacked cross examination, and you’re surprised by this?
How are you thinking of the “dam breaking?” I think of it as Trump officials and supporters–or even prominent Republicans–coming forth in droves, to either provide information or even publicly turn against Trump.
For me, I’m really hoping this will happen–primarily because I think this would be able to give us the best chance of protecting the republic. Indeed, I have a hard time imagining a scenario where we preserve the republic, without the dam breaking. If Trump officials and congressional Republicans–gave evidence, testimony or public statements that proved or affirmed the work of the 1/6 Committee so far–that would go about as far as we could to settle matters on the 2020 election and 1/6 storming of the Capitol.
Here, I’m specifically thinking of the casual or inattentive news consumers, whom I think make up the largest segment of the population–people who don’t have really strong political views, and may have uncertainty about the claims about the election and 1/6. If the dam breaks, I think the matter would be settled for many of these people.
And if that happens, I think they’re more likely to punish Trump, Trump enablers, and Trumpist candidates at the polls.
The hearings juxtaposed with the current attempts by the GOP and the Conservative media to either downplay 1/6 and sweep it under the rug, or, worse, to continue to promulgate Trump’s lies leaves me flabbergasted. That the support of the GOP and Conservative media hasn’t plummeted is a bad sign for our country and shows the level of effectiveness of their propaganda campaign.
Here’s are some important truths being stated by Rep. Adam Kinzinger:
The first paragraph is why I think the Republicans choosing to remain silent makes me so upset.
I understand that Mike Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short, made the following comment on ABC News today:
How can Short and Pence–among others–can’t be apoplectic at Republican members of Congress and Fox News–for downplaying 1/6 or worse? I wonder if they actually sympathize with their political precariousness and their desire to beat the Democrats. Maybe. But there’s no way they’d feel that way if Pence’s wife or daughter died, right?
I only watched a few minutes of the what is supposedly the final hearing. I couldn’t stomach what to me is primarily reiteration that Trump instigated the riot and did nothing to stop it–which was an effort to stay in power. I’ll try to watch the whole thing later on, though.
FINAL REPORT, Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol, December 00, 2022, 117th Congress Second Session, House Report 117-000
Team Trump were involved with 62 cases contesting the election results.
Regarding the 1 win:
The Devastating New History of the January 6th Insurrection by David Remnick in the New Yorker
Major Highlights of the January 6 Report by Ryan Goodman and Justin Hendrix of Just Security
I’m not sure where to put this, but I wanted to put this somewhere: Trump is inciting violence–if he’s indicted and convicted and/or if he loses the next election. It’s crazy that this kind of rhetoric is totally normalized now. This is not a red line for Republicans.
Oath Keepers Leader Is Sentenced to 18 Years in Jan. 6 Sedition Case from the NYT
I wanted to find Judge Mehta’s complete statement at the sentencing, because I think it’s worth hearing. This CNN article some of his words, and recommend reading them.