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Drip, Drip, Drip

Have you seen this bonus clip from the January 6 committee today? (Of course you have but the lurkers might not have seen it).

Check it out and I’ll meet you underneath:

Tomorrow’s hearing has been postponed. The excuse is that they need to work on their audio/visual production values. I could buy that. But if they told me that more Team Normal people are running just as fast as they can to get what they witnessed on record, well, I could buy that too.

There are some pretty terrible people who visited the White House but there were some people who clung to professional ethics. It’s giving me mixed emotions because on a typical day, we could expect Liz Cheney to vote against the bill to check gouging on gas prices and for the lot of the Republican Party elected officials and advisors to scheme to end social security and Medicare as we know it.

Question: If given the choice, would Republican voters prefer unlimited, unregulated guns or the social security and Medicare they’ve worked for their entire adult lives?

I’m looking forward to the rest of the hearings now. The committee has leaked teasers like “scenes from the next episode”. They’ve structured the presentation so that there’s a clear narrative forming: Trump knew he lost but he decided to lie anyway in order to hang on to power, cripple the election process and for personal gain. Hundreds of millions of dollars were donated to Trump’s fictional election defense fund. Very little is known about where that money went with the exception of $60,000 for 2 minutes of Kimberly Guilfoyle’s presentation skills.

The flood gates are opening. The White House insiders see that it’s safe and they want to set the record straight. It’s probably a lot worse than we know. The above clip is just the beginning.

How Are We Doing So Far?

Meaning, “How is the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the United States Capitol” doing? The answer, at least mine, is, “Quite well, but we are all hoping for a powerful crescendo for the final part.”

Today there was an effective refutation of “The Big Lie,” the claim that the 2020 election was rigged, fixed, stolen from Trump. A series of Republicans testified under oath that there was no basis to the claims, and that they told Trump on the day of the election that he had lost. This hearing was actually shown on Fox Network, so it is dimly possible that some of those viewers actually learned something that was not propaganda, at least they heard it for the first time.

So far, the hearings have been devastating to Trump, and I do think that by the time they are finished, he is going to have a very difficult time reviving his chances of successfully campaigning for President in 2024. That would be a great thing, though certainly not an unmitigated victory. There is still DeSantis, a slicker version of Trump, and there are still all those Republicans in office, and running for office, who have the same horrible Trumpist viewpoints, and cannot wait to enact them. They are not going away.

In fact, we see them trying to rehabilitate their image, and thinking that by telling us now, after the carnage at the Capitol, that The Big Lie was a lie, and that Trump was deluded in some sense if he really believed it, they have whitewashed themselves. They are nothing if not resourceful in trying to escape responsibility for everything. It was effective to use Republicans to make the case today, but there is a bitter quality to letting them do it.

My question right now is, how far will the committee go in showing what they have learned about how the attack was planned? I don’t think this will be like the Watergate hearings, which of course went on for months, where the questioning actually unearthed facts, like watching a classic mystery. Here, they have less time, and the interviews were already done, with those people who decided to show up. As we have seen, they have been filmed and used as evidence here.

I have been perhaps unduly hoping that we will see some powerful evidence regarding the planning of the attack, at least some of the communications among Trump, Meadows, Giuliani, Stone, and others. That is the crux of the whole thing: how a cabal of people reaching into the highest levels of our government, sought to take it over by canceling the election, and causing violence.

It may be that the most we will get are hints and suppositions. I don’t know that the committee has had enough cooperation, and had enough power, to get the biggest perpetrators to talk. That was their goal in not cooperating. Meadows gave the committee some records, but kept many, undoubtedly the implicating ones. I have not seen anything yet to indicate that there is some key witness who is going to come forward and blow up the whole cover-up, but we will see.

Of course the committee has always said that they are not the body with the power to indict anyone for sedition or anything related, that would be the Department of Justice. Today there was some contradiction as to whether they intended to make recommendations to the DOJ, with Chairman Thompson saying that they would not, and then Vice-Chairman Cheney saying that they hadn’t decided yet if they would.

A wall of deceit, denial, and obfuscation was put up by people who specialize in that, and who have been confident that it would not be penetrated. Some of it has been, but not the most sinister aspects. Was the attack intended to kill people in Congress? Was the goal to create so much violence that Trump could declare martial law? Was Grassley intended to step in for Pence to refuse to certify the electoral vote? He hinted at that stance in a comment I read today that he made at the time.

These are the questions which may never be answered, just as with the assassination of President Kennedy, Iran-Contra, the Trump collusion with Russia. Trump took a number of documents out of the White House, and it is believed that he destroyed many. Remember Hillary and her emails, where the Republicans and the media virtually salivated over the thought of getting hold of one stray email, even if was about her family, or what was being ordered for dinner? Trump probably destroyed documents which would have put him, members of his family, and inner circle, in prison, and the media has barely mentioned that.

As far as prison is concerned, what are Trump’s chances of ending up there? I don’t think that there is any significant chance that he can be prosecuted for something relating to sedition, or inciting violence. The causal connection is too difficult to prove in court, particularly when you need a unanimous jury. Can you imagine trying to find an impartial jury? It would likely drag on for years, which of course has been Trump’s and his mentor Roy Cohn’s tactic to thwart justice.

I do think that it is possible that something related to defrauding people, stealing money from them by having them send and donate it to a nonexistent company which he and his cronies controlled, as was revealed today, could be pursued against him. The issues of motive or belief are not nearly as relevant in this area. Various legal cases involving money, wire fraud, etc., could indeed be opened.

Republicans are not hard to figure out. Their only goals are power and money. They have surprised even those of us who remember their various schemes and crimes over the decades, by how far they have been willing to go in the last few years. I would say that a vast majority of them have known what has been going on, and they were fine with it, until it was so much revealed, that they needed cover, and the infamous “plausible deniability.”

It is beyond shameful and appalling how many of them voted against the certification of the election, while telling their colleagues and some media that they knew that there was no election fraud. That they backed everything that Trump did, even while they knew that he had colluded with Russia, had attempted to blackmail Ukraine, had lied about everything, and that ultimately he tried to overturn the election and install himself as de facto dictator. Some of them wrote anonymous pieces about it, some of them saved it for books, or told journalists who saved it for books. Profiles in cowardice, and lust for money and power.

None of this has gone away. It is very unlikely that there will be some kind of metaphorical cleansing. There wasn’t after Watergate. Ford pardoned Nixon, who would have been tried. He barely lost the election in 1976. Four years later, Reagan was elected, a major factor being illicit dealings with Iran to keep their hostages until he could use that to win. And then later, violating an Act of Congress, and funneling money from arms sales to Iran, to the Contras in Nicaragua; and everyone in the White House “not remembering,” or being “out of the loop.”

Republicans have always figured that they had enough money and media clout to avoid ever being called to account for their deeds. Trump not only figured that way, his whole life has been a testament to it. I am glad that he is being exposed and disparaged in these hearings Let’s hope that the committee can take it even further than that, and uncover the sinister outlines of the coup which just missed ending our tenuous democracy.