Jan. 6 Committee Doesn’t Move the Needle on Trump

The January 6th Committee held what is expected to be its final hearing into the events that contributed to the insurrection at the United States Capitol.

There were some intriguing tidbits: Trump privately admitting he lost the election. More details about the Secret Service’s advance warnings of trouble. The contrast between Congressional leaders trying to summon additional security while Trump watched the events unfold.

And, of course, the vote to subpoena Trump to testify before the committee. Representative Liz Cheney (R, Wyoming) said only Trump’s testimony would provide for a complete picture of events. “Every American is entitled to those answers,” she said.

And she is correct.

Trump responded with a wide-ranging attack on the committee’s work, while repeating his false claim that the election was rigged.  “It (the committee investigation) is a Witch Hunt of the highest level and a continuation of what has been going on for years,” Trump said.

Trump supporters have dismissed the hearings as made-for-television theatre. If so, then Trump should answer the subpoena and give his version of events. No one commands the political stage like Trump, and there would be no brighter lights than a congressional hearing.

His supporters would love to see him extracting pounds of flesh from committee members, even as nervous lawyers sit beside him, ever conscious that you can go to jail for lying to Congress, even if you are not under oath.

Critics argue the committee is stacked against Trump, and there is some validity to that.  The proceedings have, at times, seemed more like a grand jury where only the prosecution presents evidence.

However, it is important to note how much of the damning testimony has come from individuals who worked for and supported Trump. The case against the former president comes from the very people who were closest to him, who tell remarkably similar stories.

Gary Abernathy is a former executive with the West Virginia Republican Party and conservative columnist for the Washington Post who withdrew his support for Trump after January 6. He called Trump’s efforts to reverse the election “shameful” and said Trump’s “actions spurred the January 6th incursion.”

But Abernathy is among those weary of the hearings—he called Thursday’s hearing “a monotonous rehash”—and said he doubts the hearings are changing anyone’s mind. He seems to be right about that.

A Monmouth University Poll taken in August found that 38 percent of the public thinks Trump “is directly responsible for what happened on January 6th” compared with 42 percent in June when the hearings began.  In June, 30 percent said Trump did nothing wrong on January 6th, while that number was 32 percent in August.

That is not surprising because after seven years of Donald Trump, Americans’ views of him are baked in and largely unmovable by events. If inciting an insurrection of the United States Capitol isn’t going to change minds, what will?

Add in the overwhelming concerns by Americans about inflation and recession and the political implications of the hearings are negligible.  However, the investigation is essential for a full accounting of the unprecedented attack on the Capitol, even if it is not changing minds about Donald Trump’s role.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





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