The committee sets the scene for an insidious true story of how one man, unable to face the truth of losing an election, sets about attempting to overturn an election and undermine the democracy of an entire nation.
Sounding a bit like a movie promo of some sort? Maybe a prime-time political drama series?
Well, it’s not.
It’s real. It happened. It’s still happening. And it will continue to pose a threat to the whole of American Democracy until such time as definitive legal and criminal action is taken and the lying, stealing, cheating grifter known as Donald John Trump and all his cohorts are held fully accountable.
NOTE: This single post will be updated as able following each of the televised hearings presented by the United States House Select Committee on the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol.
Day One – June 9, 2022: Attempted Coup & Subversion of American Democracy
Testimony during the first of seven planned and televised January 6th Committee Hearings made it very clear how we got here and who was the driving force behind the attempted coup at the Capitol on January 6th: Donald John Trump and the Big Lie he keeps doubling down on.
Harrowing new video footage of the insurrection was released and deposition interview clips from members of Trump’s inner circle, including former campaign manager Bill Stepien; former attorney general William Barr; campaign lawyer Alex Cannon; Trump’s own daughter, Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner.
Witness testimony from Caroline Edwards, a Capitol Police officer injured during the riot and Nick Quested, a British documentarian embedded with the Proud Boys. Among the video footage provided by Quested, we learned of a January 5th meeting between Pride Boys leader Enrique Tarrio and Stewart Rhodes of the Oathkeepers.
Impactful quotes from day one:
- “I told the president it was bullshit, and I didn’t want to be a part of it.” – William Barr, in response to questioning regarding the then-president’s claims of election fraud.
- “…our democracy remains in danger. The conspiracy to thwart the will of the people is not over.” – Committee Chair Bennie Thompson in his opening statement.
- “Tonight, I say this to my Republican colleagues who are defending the indefensible: There will come a day when Donald Trump is gone but your dishonor will remain.” – U.S. Representative Liz Cheney
- “Thanks to your bullshit, we are under siege.” – Greg Jacob, former counsel to then-VP Mike Pence and lawyer John Eastman, as quoted by Liz Cheney.
- “…what I saw was just a war scene. It was like something I had seen out of the movies. There were officers on the ground. They were bleeding. They were throwing up. …I was slipping in people’s blood. …It was hours of hand-to-hand combat.” – Caroline Edwards, injured U.S. Capitol Police officer.
Day Two – June 13, 2022: The Big Lie & The Big Rip-Off
Informed and advised by his aides and advisors that his claims of election fraud were baseless, Trump insisted on continuing the false narrative of a stolen election and widespread election fraud. According to recorded testimony by Barr, “There was never an indication of interest in what the actual facts were.”
Opting to heed the advice of a purportedly drunken Rudolph Giuliani over that of his own campaign chief, Trump declared victory while votes were still being counted. Showmanship intended to further rile up his base over his false stolen election claims.
Investigations and testimony revealed his fraudulent use of false stolen election claims to boost fundraising for a non-existent Official Election Defense Fund to the tune of $250 million.
Inspired by Trump’s false narratives and calls for action in defense of such, more than 840 people so far have faced criminal charges for their participation in the events of January 6th. The committee’s methodical presentation of findings lays the groundwork for possible (hopeful!) criminal prosecution of Trump and others at the top of the chain, holding them accountable for their parts in inciting the
Day Three – June 16, 2022: Pressuring Pence
Trump waged a high-pressure campaign against Pence to get him to overturn the election at the January 6th joint session to count electoral votes.
According to taped testimony by former Pence lawyer Greg Jacob presented during the hearing, even Eastman, who helped devise the plan, admitted to Trump that it required Pence to violate federal law. Despite knowing it was illegal, Trump continued to pressure Pence, both publicly and privately, including on the day of the insurrection and contributing to it.
Testimony by former White House attorney Eric Herschmann revealed Eastman had no qualms about the possibility of inciting violence. Herschmann warned Eastman that this plan would cause “riots in the streets,” to which Eastman replied, “There’s been violence in the history of our country in order to protect the democracy, or to protect the republic.”
Tweets and public comments by Trump had direct impact on the actions taken by the mob at the Capitol, including inciting the very real threat against Pence for not (illegally) nullifying the election.
Following the events of January 6th, Eastman was in contact with Giuliani regarding the possibility of obtaining a pardon. No pardon has been granted.
Impactful quotes from day three, all from retired federal judge J. Michael Luttig, whose statements and testimony wholly encapsulate the gravity of what has happened and is continuing to happen behind the scenes, and the urgency with which it needs to be dealt:
- “Donald Trump, and his allies and his supporters, are a clear and present danger to American democracy.”
- “They (Trump and his allies) may succeed in 2024 where they failed in 2020.”
- “They are planning in open and plain view of the American public.”
For those interested in the full text of Luttig’s statement to the committee (and it IS worth the read), you can read it here: CNN Exclusive: Read Judge Luttig’s statement to January 6 committee or here: Politico Read: J. Michael Luttig’s opening statement at Jan. 6 select committee hearing
Day Four – June 21, 2022:
This piece is an active work in progress... please bear with me as I get caught up. Thank you!
Day Five – June 23, 2022: Pressuring the Department of Justice
Day Six – June 28, 2022: Planning and Outbursts and Threats, Oh My!
This hearing was previously unscheduled and its announcement was relatively last minute owing to the urgency with which the committee felt necessary to get this information out to the American public. It did not disappoint. In fact, to date, it is the most damning of all publicly released testimony.
The surprise testimony presented by Cassidy Hutchinson, aide to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, gives insight into the actions, inactions, and temperaments on both the day of the insurrection and the days and weeks leading up to it.
Among the bombshell revelations learned from Hutchinson’s testimony:
- White House officials knew about the risks of violence in the days prior to January 6th.
- Not only was Trump aware that attendees were arriving armed and threatening violence, he didn’t care and wanted the metal detectors removed so they could come in, and continued to encourage them to march to the Capitol because they weren’t there to hurt him.
- Concerns were raised by White House counsel about Trump including language in his speech about fighting for him, going to the Capitol, and Mike Pence.
- Hutchinson recounted Meadows’ lack of interest or concern regarding the violence and advancement of the mob towards the Capitol on January 6th, saying that he wouldn’t look up from his phone and just kept scrolling.
- Trump was prone to fits of rage that included throwing dishes and flipping tables/tablecloths. Hutchinson testified that on December 1, upon hearing then-Attorney General William Barr publicly declare that voter fraud allegations were unfounded, Trump slammed his lunch against the dining room wall leaving broken dish fragments on the floor and ketchup dripping down the wall. She confirms this was not the first time she was aware of such behavior.
- Trump attempted to commandeer the limo following his rally speech, and even lunged at the throat of his Secret Service detail, in an attempt to join rioters as they marched to the Capitol.
- Confirmation that both Meadows and Giuliani sought pardons.
- After relenting to the insistence of Cabinet members under threat of 25th Amendment invocation, Trump agreed to record the January 7th speech but wanted to include pardons for the Capitol rioters.
- Evidence of active witness tampering in the form of veiled, mob-like threats were presented at the conclusion of the hearing.
Impactful quotes from day six:
- “I don’t f—ing care that they have weapons. They’re not here to hurt me. Let my people in. They can march to the Capitol from here. Let the people in; take the mags away.” – Trump, according to Hutchinson.
- “We’re going to the Capitol. It’s going to be great. The president’s going to be there, he’s going to be powerful … talk to the chief about it, he knows about it.” – Giuliani to Hutchinson on January 2nd.
- “… things might get real, real bad on January 6th.” – Meadows to Hutchinson when she inquired about Giuliani’s statements.
- “Mark, something needs to be done or people are going to die. The blood is going to be on your f—ing hands.” – White House counsel Pat Cipollone to Meadows, according to Hutchinson.
- “We’re going to get charged with every crime imaginable if we make that movement happen.” – Cipollone to Hutchinson regarding Trump going up to the Capitol.
- “I’m the f—ing president, take me up to the Capitol now!” Trump, according to Hutchinson’s testimony, in response to learning his protection detail was taking him back to the west wing after his rally speech.