I generally follow US political news fairly closely so you would think that the public hearings on the riot on January 6th would not contain much that is new to me. But I have been impressed at how well put together the hearings have been, with the committee combining live testimony with previous closed-door testimony to lay out a clear and coherent picture of what happened and why. What it laid out was a damning indictment of what a lying, lawless, person Donald Trump is.
What the hearings reveal is that what happened on January 6th was the culmination of a plan hatched by Trump and a few of his close political advisors, based on a hare-brained theory concocted by a lawyer named John Eastman, that Mike Pence had the power to unilaterally overturn the results, a theory that all the legal and other sane people working in the White House and justice department thought was utterly crazy and possibly criminal. They told Eastman and Trump so but they went ahead anyway, which shows criminal intent.
The House select committee investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol presented evidence on Thursday that Donald Trump was told his last-gasp attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 election was unlawful but forged ahead anyway.
Trump then pressured his vice-president, Mike Pence, to reject a tally of state electors as part of a plot that brought the country “dangerously close to catastrophe”, the panel heard.
Trump was told repeatedly that the plan was unlawful, according to witnesses and testimony from his closest advisers. Yet in the final days before Congress was due to certify the election results Trump increased his public and private pressure campaign on his loyal lieutenant to do his bidding.
“What the president wanted the vice-president to do was not just wrong, it was illegal and unconstitutional,” Congresswoman Liz Cheney, a Republican of Wyoming and the committee’s vice-chair, said on Thursday.
The hearing concluded ominously, with a warning from Luttig that the same forces continue to threaten American democracy.
Trump and his allies remain “clear and present danger to American democracy,” Luttig told the panel, not because of what happened on January 6 but because of their determination to “succeed in 2024 where they failed in 2020”.
I cannot summarize all what came out in the hearings yesterday, but Seth Meyers, Stephen Colbert, and Trevor Noah did a good job of it.
Samantha Bee’s show this week was taped before yesterday’s hearings but she gave the background from the previous two hearings.
It is clear that Trump is worried about the effect these hearings are having because today he issued an all-caps statement “I DEMAND EQUAL TIME!!!”.