Comparisons are unavoidable.
As secretary of state, Hillary Clinton was willing to sit before hostile Republicans and answer their pointed questions about Benghazi for an 11-hour stretch. Like her or loath her, at least she had the courage to show up.
She did so, in fact, through several investigations, at least one of which was intended, as Rep. Kevin McCarthy let slip at the time, not to obtain accountability, but to hurt her electoral chances.
In contrast, many of the Republican officials called on to meet the Jan. 6 committee, investigating the attempted 2021 insurrection, have dodged testifying, claiming “executive privilege” — before hearing a single question — or simply defying congressional subpoenas and challenging the Department of Justice to come after them. With mixed results.
But the Jan. 6 committee, made up of seven Democrats and two determined Republicans, toiled on, gathering evidence from more than 1,000 witnesses and more than 140,000 documents. At 8 p.m. Thursday the committee will begin presenting its findings.
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We suspect we already know much of what it will say: That then-President Trump attempted to illicitly and illegally overthrow the 2020 election — both by encouraging and supporting the violent attack on the Capitol and by engaging in underhanded legal shenanigans. It’s hard to avoid that conclusion just from the released recording of Trump urging — and threatening — Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” the votes needed to overturn that state’s electoral results — results, confirmed by three separate counts, that declared Joe Biden to be the state’s winner.
As America’s premier journalist Bob Woodward said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” “Evidence is overwhelming. Trump and those around him were involved in a criminal conspiracy. As we know it is a crime to obstruct … the lawful business of government. There’s no ambiguity in the law.”
The committee will likely also present evidence about Trump’s co-conspirators; it seems we’ve learned about a new one, or a new aspect of Trump’s scheme, daily since the committee first formed almost a year ago. They include legal minds who should have known better, like High Point University school of law’s recently hired dean, former N.C. Chief Justice Mark Martin, who allegedly approved Trump’s unprecedented scheme to have Vice President Mike Pence reject the Electoral College results — and, possibly, members of Congress who may have met with and encouraged the insurrectionists, including members of the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers who are being charged with seditious conspiracy. The whole tangled mess should be a conspiracy theorist’s dream, if they ever guessed correctly.
There will doubtlessly be a political element, as Democrats try to pull the nation’s attention from high gas prices and inflation to Trump’s crime and its importance to the nation. We are, unfortunately, not known for long attention spans.
But there are still questions that haven’t been answered, like what Trump’s family members — Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump and her husband, White House adviser Jared Kushner — told the committee when they testified behind closed doors. Maybe that will be enough to draw the nation’s attention.
Appearing on “CBS Sunday Morning” on Sunday, Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., said the Capitol attack was a “conspiracy” and described its fallout as an “ongoing threat.”
“It is extremely broad. It’s extremely well-organized. It’s really chilling,” she said.
The effort to overthrow the government should be taken seriously by every American who is interested in democracy or simple fairness. Elections shouldn’t be won by coercion, threats and sneaky legal maneuvering, but by the clearly expressed will of the people. The attempted insurrection is an event that will be repeated if it’s not confronted and nulled.
Having said that, it’s not likely that Trump or any of his accomplices will face severe legal consequences — certainly not the perp-walks to prison that many Democrats imagine. It would look too much like retribution on a political foe in a developing nation — an appearance that Democrats will want to avoid.
But truth matters. The election results are not a question of opinion; they’ve been verified over and over again.
The corruption and sheer sycophancy that enabled Trump to think that he was justified in cheating the American electorate like a tin-pot dictator also matters. That’s not how we do things here. You’re thinking of Russia.
The truth should matter to all Americans.
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