There are words to describe the Jan. 6 House Congressional Committee dealing with the protest on Capitol Hill, and those words would not imply inquiry, inquiry, or investigation. These include Agitprop, Sham, Show Trial, Star Chamber, and Kangaroo Court. How else would you describe a one-sided “investigation” where only the prosecution plays a role and the defense doesn’t exist?
That most Australian media believes the committee’s televised hearings are credible is evident from the breathless coverage, but here are some clues as to what’s really going on.
First, none of the GOP’s nominees were appointed to the nine-member committee, whose charter requires 13 members. GOP spokeswoman Elise Stefanik says this breaks a 230-year precedent. Indeed, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appointed two anti-Trump GOP members, pariah Liz Cheney and resigning Adam Kinzinger, both of whom voted to impeach Trump. She got exactly what she wanted, a fig leaf of impartiality.
That’s a bit like making Malcolm Turnbull the judge of Tony Abbott’s political career. There will be no cross-examination, no contesting of narratives or witnesses, no alternative evidence, simply a staged slander of Trump designed to derail any presidential bid in 2024.
Second, the committee laid out its priorities by hiring a network news veteran to produce the hearings, which were then scheduled for evening prime-time television instead of the more usual morning sessions. A certain quick-and-loose approach to the truth has emerged, exemplified in the December admission by the Committee to Alter Evidence by Falsifying Texts by GOP member Jim Jordan to Trump aide Mark Meadows and in an edited cut-and- Paste video evident in the first TV broadcast enraged influential expert Scott Adams, who called it propaganda and caused more damage to the country than the January 6 riot itself.
Third, Speaker Pelosis’ role was specifically removed from oversight by Democratic leader Bennie Thompson on Jan. 6. This is odd because the House and Senate Sergeants-at-Arms control security and report to the Speaker and Senate Leader. The two sergeants repeatedly turned down multiple requests for additional manpower from Capitol Hill Police Chief Stephen Sund on Jan. 6, and now the paper trail explaining this is taboo. Also, about 14,000 hours of video footage from inside the Capitol remains hidden as of this day. The real question here is why Capitol security was so lax. Just this week, new information surfaced showing that both Homeland Security and DC authorities warned Capitol Police on December 21, 2020 in social media posts by right-wing Oath Keepers of impending January 6 violence. Trump himself called for 10,000 National Guardsmen to protect the building days earlier, but this was ignored. Was that mere negligence or something more malicious? Both Sergeants-at-Arms and Sund resigned the day after 6 January.
Fourth, where is the evidence linking Trump to violent protesters? The FBI itself concluded that the violence and protests that day were disorganized. That Trump has attacked the 2020 voter fraud and is still urging protests against it is a given, but in his speech that day in the Ellipse he urged the rally to go to the Capitol “peacefully and patriotically” — a line that supports that committee removed speech from its telecast. If you don’t blame the Democratic leadership for the damaging BLM riots that rocked the US in 2020, when Kamala Harris went so far as to support bail money for jailed protesters, then you can’t blame Trump for the actions of his supporters .
Then the question arises who caused the violence that day. Without all the missing CCTV footage there is no way to know definitively what happened and obviously some protesters misbehaved, we all saw multiple videos. However, the curious case of former Marine Sergeant Ray Epps adds significant shadows to the possibilities. Thanks to revolver News, we’ve seen revealing videos from Epps urging crowds to storm the Capitol for consecutive days. In one clip, he was so riotous that the crowd around him started chanting, “Fed! fed! fed!’ Epps was one of the first on the FBI’s Most Wanted list immediately after Jan. 6, but then, the day after media reports questioned his role on June 30, his name disappeared from the database. He was never arrested.
revolver‘s review of public footage suggests that Epps led the burglary team at the metal barricades. Interestingly, the key break-in happened minutes after Capitol Hill police learned of a pipe bomb at nearby GOP headquarters, an incident chief Sund says it was a diversionary tactic. The barricades were then breached 20 minutes before Trump finished his speech in the Ellipse and well before the Trump rally crowd arrived at the Capitol. Epps has never publicly explained his actions, although the Jan. 6 committee reported that he denied being on the FBI payroll. Attorney General Merrick Garland, when questioned by GOP Rep. Thomas Massie, declined to answer whether federal agents were present Jan. 6 and whether they were agitating to enter the Capitol.
And while we’re dealing with the meaning of words, it’s nonsense to call a single unarmed protest a “riot”; Reporters who use this language are lazily doing the Democrats’ bidding. Any serious rebellion needs serious weapons, like guns, and the Capitol mob had none. The only shooting that day involved a Trump supporter by a Capitol Hill police officer. In fact, the only deaths that day were pro-Trump protesters and officer Sicknick, who died of a stroke after the event, despite earlier reports that he had been beaten. This is in contrast to the BLM riots, where the protesters themselves caused about 20 deaths.
The truth of what happened that day will not emerge from this Trump Insurrection Show, which is simply agitprop. Judging by the plummeting ratings, the US public is treating it as a sideshow to real concerns like skyrocketing fuel prices, inflation, a plummeting stock market, Biden’s dumpster-fire of a presidency and the war in Ukraine.
With the nation’s eyes on the Capitol that day, Trump and his supporters had everything they needed to benefit from the peaceful, scheduled broadcast of evidence of voter fraud ahead of voting certification. It was a tremendous coup by the Democrats to both derail this and win a stick to bludgeon Trump with in the process.