He Almost Succeeded
As the January 6 committee is proving with each hearing, Donald Trump's criminal schemes came perilously close to ending the American democratic experiment
I had planned to share snapshots from Berlin today, but yesterday’s fifth televised hearing is pulling me to share a few brief comments. With each subsequent session, the January 6 House Select Committee’s carefully produced presentation is building a powerful case of Trump-led criminality replete with a shameful collection of criminal co-conspirators ready to do his bidding.
Now we know with specific detail the constant efforts of Trump to commandeer—to browbeat, to pummel—the Department of Justice to lie on his behalf about unproven election fraud, just long enough to enable him to overturn the legitimately elected government and cling to power. Now we know that acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and deputies Richard Donohue and Steven Engel were unwilling to advance his wicked scheme—and that they stood firm against his plan to insert the craven Jeffrey Clark into the Attorney General slot. Now we know the Department of Justice obtained a warrant for about a dozen federal agents to search the home of Jeffrey Clark, now a clear criminal target.
Now we also know that at least six members of Congress sought pardons, an obvious indication that they knew they were in criminal danger. House members all, their names read like a rogue’s gallery of arrogant insurrectionists: Mo Brooks, Scott Perry, Jim Jordan, Matt Gaetz, Andy Biggs, Marjorie Taylor Greene. Now we also know that the committee is pausing until July while they assess new documentary film footage and new potential witnesses stepping forward—another fine sign that the work is paying off and there likely will be more rats jumping from the sinking ship.
Step back for a moment and it remains stunning to see how perilously close Trump was to succeeding in holding onto power and ending the American democratic experiment. This but for a handful of associates and appointees like Rosen, Donahue and Engel who refused to turn their backs on the Constitution and the truth to serve the criminal desires of the White House occupant.
I think it’s worth reading the closing words of Rep. Adam Kinzinger, who ably led the questioning and the narration of this hearing:
“The conspiracy theories were false. The allegation of a stolen election was a lie. The data left no room for doubt, nothing to question, and the Constitution left no room for President Trump to change the outcome of the election. But we're here today because the facts were irrelevant to President Trump. It was about protecting his very real power and very fragile ego, even if it required recklessly undermining our entire electoral system by wildly casting baseless doubt upon it. In short, he was willing to sacrifice our republic to prolong his presidency.
“I can imagine no more dishonorable act by a president. We owe a great debt of gratitude to these men you've heard from here today, real leaders who stood for justice when it was in grave peril, who put their country first. When the leader of the free world demanded otherwise, they threatened to resign rather than corrupt our democracy.”
Kinzinger concluded with this:
“As it's said, the only thing necessary for evil to succeed is good men to do nothing. Thankfully, there were good people in the Department of Justice. You heard from other good people too on Tuesday. They too defended us. But I'm still worried that not enough has changed to prevent this from happening again.
“The oath that we take has to mean something. It has to cut to the core of who we are and be the driving force of our service to this nation. We on this committee, we may be able to shine light on the darkness, but that is not enough. It's now up to every American, now and in the future, to stand for truth, to reject the lies wherever we confront them.”
I would suggest that confronting the lies by “every American” includes Merrick Garland, who we can increasingly see is investigating the crimes of January 6 at every level—and we must continue to assert that the inevitable prosecutions need to include the criminal kingpin. Democracy is still hanging in the balance.
Back to you tomorrow with some pictures from Berlin.
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