Tuesday was Hump Day for the House Jan. 6 committee, the fourth and halfway point. As things stand now, seven hearings will be held.
In case you are new here, I concede the committee is out to “get Trump.” I also believe the first three hearings did not produce a smoking gun.
I am not interested in the opinion of committee members, nor what you have heard on OAN or CNN. I am interested only in the sworn testimony of those with first-hand knowledge.
Advance word was the committee was going to try to prove that Donald J. Trump’s attempted subversion of the election began before January 6.
Did it succeed?
I answer that in a minute, but the first thing to know is every witness I am reporting on who gave damaging testimony
is was a Trump loyalist.
To Trump’s debit, the key witnesses are men of principle who put loyalty to their country over loyalty to their president.
The committee led with it’s best shot, a conservative Republican who wanted Trump to win, but not at the cost of breaking the law or his word to God.
There was a foreshadowing of the bad news delivered by Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers, when it was learned Presidential Counsel Rudy Guiliani and Trump reached Bowers after he had left church on a Sunday. That suggested he was a man of faith and a man who took oaths seriously.
In short, Giuliani and Trump wanted him to convene a session of the legislature to overturn the election. On what basis?, he asked.
Giuliani claimed he had the name of thousands of undocumented people who had voted, plus thousands more of dead persons.
Bowers asked Giuliani for the names. He is still waiting. It’s hard to produce what does not exist. If it did exist, Guiliani would have produced it.
Then they asked Bowers to replace Joe Biden electors with a fake panel pledged to Trump.
He recounted his response in powerful words.
“It is a tenet of my faith that the Constitution is divinely inspired by my most basic, foundational beliefs,” he said.
Of Trump’s request he said, “You are asking me to do something against my oath and I will not break my oath.”
In a later press release, Bowers explained he had no authority to overturn the expressed will of the people, and quoted President Ronald Reagan that America’s orderly transition of power is “a miracle.”
For his efforts, he received countless thousands of emails, calls, and texts, many of them threatening, and his home has been picketed by protestors calling him corrupt and a pedophile.
In a contemporaneous diary entry he was asked to read, Bowers said, “It is painful to have friends who have been such a help to me turn on me with such rancor. . . I do not want to be a winner by cheating. I will not play with laws I swore allegiance to.”
He was not the only election official to invoke his oath.
Trump asked Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” more than 11,000 votes to give him a win in Georgia.
Sounding delusional, Trump insisted he had won by more than 400,000 votes.
Georgia conducted not one, not two, but three audits of the five million votes cast under the supervision of Republicans. All three audits, Raffensperger told the committee, convincingly proved that “President Trump came up short.”
In a 67-minute phone call with Trump, Raffensperger said the president wanted him to certify the election, then threatened him, suggesting he could find himself in court.
“We followed the law. We followed the Constitution we swore an oath to do,” Raffensperger said.
Whether these “requests” by Trump and attempts in seven battleground states to replace legitimate Biden electors with fake Trump electors, are an actual crime, some other body will have to determine.
But if the committee did not produce a smoking gun, it did lay a gun on the table. Its barrel was pointed squarely at Trump.
In much shorter testimony, Georgia Chief Operating Officer in the Secretary of State’s office, Gabriel Sterling publicly said of the violence that was sparked by his lies about the election being stolen, “President Trump, you have not condemned these actions or these words.”
The final witness, Georgia election official Wandrea “Shaye” Moss, testified about threats, but I believe she is a Democrat, and I am keeping this all GOP.
Like these on video:
Former U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr: “Allegations have no merit… No evidence of subterfuge… The claims of fraud were bullshit.”
Former acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue: “Major allegations are not supported by evidence.”
Cassidy Hutchinson, an aide to former Trump chief of staff: Attempt to decertify “not legally sound.”
Former Trump campaign manager Justin Clark: “Unless we have litigation pending in those states, I don’t think this is appropriate.”
Trump campaign staffer Robert Sinners: “We we’re just useful idiots or rubes at that point.”
Former chair of the Michigan Republican Party Laura Cox: “Insane and inappropriate.”
Is insanity a defense?