They say it ain’t over until the fat lady sings (sorry for the body shaming), but Thursday night’s prime-time, seventh broadcast of Jan. 6 House committee hearings probably will not be the last. The Democrats are having too much fun. (In fact, moments before the hearing began, word leaked that this would not be a series finale, but a season-ender, and those usually have a cliffhanger.)
Going into the telecast, the Dems had their own ideas about which people should be called to play To Tell the Truth, primarily two members of the Trump inner circle who resigned eight after Jan. 6. They were repulsed by their boss’ action.
My idea is there are a different bunch of people Americans want to see and hear.
I refer to the Secret Service agents who could corroborate — or dispute — stories previously spun about President Donald J. Trump: such as wrestling for the wheel of his limo, and decorating the walls of his dining room with food that had been on plates just moments before.
These are not important elements of the story, but they are known in the trade as “talkers” — things that people will talk about. Used to be at the office water cooler, but in covid
times, stuff shared on Instagram.
The committee’s stated aim was to create a timeline of what Trump did during the riot on Capitol Hill, all 187 minuets of it.
So the bulk of the hearing was a rehash of the 187 minutes during which there was a riot on Capitol Hill that Trump could have called off. The proof of that is when Trump issued a “go home” video — the crowd did.
Much is it was not new, aa were video statements from Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, blaming him for the riot or for failing to act against it, as his oath dictates.
Two two staffers — deputy national security advisor Matthew Pottinger and communications aide Sarah Matthews — said that Trump’s actions and inactions that day led directly to their resignation.
Even after the mob had breeched the Capitol, Trump was tweeting that the crowd was doing a great job.
Donald Trump Jr. texted Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to say, “He’s got to condemn this shit.”
Meadows replied, “I am pushing it hard.”
“They will try to fuck his entire legacy on this if it gets worse,” replied the junior Trump with more analytical skills than his father.
Lots of the Trump inner circle were sending futile message to get the big guy to turn it off, along with GOP leaders and media figures such as Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham.
I must mention a lack of actual evidence that he turned the riot on. He did assemble the crowd, sure, but never called for violence. Some say he lit the fuse.
And I think that is what a future criminal case might center on — his instigation. Failing that, there is dereliction of duty,
Committee member Elaine Luria cited numerous Trump appointees and Republicans who felt Trump should have shown leadership by stopping the riot.
He steadfastly refused.
Matthews said she suggested the violence be condemned quickly and unequivocally, and to tell these people go home. “I couldn’t believe we were arguing about this in the middle of the West Wing, talking about the politics of a tweet, being concerned about handing the media a win, when we had just watched all of that violence unfold at the Capitol,” said Matthews.
She motioned at the TV and said, “Does it look like we’re f’ing winning? Because I don’t think it does.” She resigned after the President’s 4:17 tweet, which started with the big lie about a stolen election. As a spokeswoman, she knew she could not defend that lie, so she resigned.
When House Minority Leader McCarthy couldn’t get Trump to agree to stand down, he then called the president’s daughter, Ivanka, and her husband Jared.
Eventually, he conceded and asked his followers to go home.
Which they did.
Pottinger and Matthews were fine witnesses, but they were not in the hot corner — and that was before we learned that most Secret Service texts sent on Jan. 6 had mysteriously vanished.
So there is our cliffhanger — when will the committee line up Secret Service agents to raise their right hand and pledge to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
See you in September.