The January 6th committee is on the verge of delivering its much-anticipated “report” on the Capitol Building turmoil following the 2020 election.
Or is it? Yes, a report will be produced (along with a separate release of criminal referrals), but if the initial leaked facts about what it will contain are any indication, it won’t be about the turmoil at the Capitol Building at all. Instead, it will be a continuation of the committee’s preoccupation with Donald Trump, who was not present.
According to sources that talked with Politico, the chapter list will consist of the following chapters:
The report will begin with an extensive executive summary detailing Trump’s conduct from start to finish. It will track and supplement the story laid out in the public hearings. https://t.co/7FUwOpjYqK
— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) December 12, 2022
When the January 6th Committee was initially formed, it was portrayed as an impartial investigation that would reveal the systemic weaknesses that enabled the events of that day to occur. Regarding the House’s oversight function, jurisdiction begins and ends with inquiries into why the USCP was so unprepared despite several warnings. Liz Cheney and her associates are not law enforcement officials. It is not within their jurisdiction to “investigate” non-government persons for alleged “incitement.”
However, who am I kidding? When anyone in Washington wants to go after Donald Trump, traditional boundaries are irrelevant, and this report appears to be almost completely about the previous president. The chapter list that has been released has nothing that isn’t completely about him until the very last one, and even then, the “analysis” will likely still be primarily about Trump.
This news exposes the group for what it is and has always been: a politicized effort intended to influence the 2022 and 2024 elections. The hearings have yielded nothing novel or useful, and the so-called “bombshells” have all proven to be duds.
Consider the absurd standards at play here that would never hold up in any other context. In chapter seven, for instance, Trump is accused of not telling anyone to leave the Capitol for 187 minutes. In fact, this is the major piece of evidence presented by the January 6th committee during the whole event. What is this meant to demonstrate, however? Putting aside the fact that Trump did send a message ordering the rioters to cease fighting with police officers, it is not incitement for someone who is not in leadership of a group to not advise them to leave a location. It is a Kafka trap in which Trump’s non-involvement is presented as evidence of his involvement.
The January 6th committee is described thusly. It is a group of partisans attempting to create a damning accusation against one individual based on information that is, at best, ordinary and inconclusive. Someone may argue that on that day, Trump should have done more. However, this does not prove that he planned the assault, and the notion that we would extend the definition of incitement to include “anyone doing anything because of anything unrelated you did” is authoritarian.
Regarding the turmoil on January 6, it is irrelevant what Trump intended to do with state electors or what he requested of Mike Pence. These are not examples of incitement. If so, Bernie Sanders should be incarcerated immediately for “inciting” the attack that almost killed Steve Scalise. Politicians both speak and act. If these items do not directly instruct others to conduct violence, then the responsibility belongs with the perpetrators.
However, I digress; I may as well be speaking to a brick wall. The committee never intended to uncover the truth and prevent future attacks. It was an attempt to intervene in elections and bring Trump down for good. In this sense, I suppose it has accomplished its intended purpose.