GOP Working To Dissuade Americans From Watching Jan. 6 Committee “Witch Hunt”. What Don’t They Want You To Know?
[guest post by Dana]
The first Jan. 6 Committee hearing is airing tonight at 8 PM EST.
In the meantime, House GOP members are working to minimize the importance of the Jan. 6 Committee and the hearing:
House Republicans are casting Thursday’s prime-time hearing by the committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol as a media production aimed at smearing former President Trump.
The effort by Republicans to push back at the hearing has started days before the spectacle is set to be carried live by the major networks and news networks — with the notable exception of Fox News Channel, which will air its regular programming.
The GOP is arguing the effort is just meant to distract voters from inflation and crime, two issues that Republicans expect to be a big part of their effort to win back the House and Senate this fall.
“*They are scrambling to change the headlines, praying that the nation will focus on their partisan witch hunt instead of our pocketbooks. It will not work,” House Republican Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik (N.Y.) said in a Wednesday press conference.
Stefanik, who replaced Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.) — one of two Republicans on the Jan. 6 panel — as conference chair, called it a “smear campaign against President Donald Trump.”
On Tuesday, the House GOP hosted a press call on the Jan. 6 hearing with a number of conservative outlets but did not invite or include many mainstream outlets, including NBC News, Politico and The Hill. It is a move that the GOP conference also made in January when discussing the Capitol riot around the time of its first anniversary.
Outlets on the Tuesday call included Breitbart, The Washington Examiner and The Federalist, according to a source familiar with the call.
Republicans have long countered the committee’s work by pointing to security failures at the Capitol that day and accusing Pelosi of not doing enough to keep the campus secure.
They have not wanted to focus on Trump’s involvement in the rioting.
The GOP is also trying to use the fact that the Jan. 6 Committee enlisted the aid of former ABC President James Goldston to produce the hearing can only diminish the credibility of the hearing. Goldston has been accused of killing a story about Jefferey Epstein. Apparently, according to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, because of the former producer’s involvement, the hearing will just be “political theatre.” I’m not exactly sure how the GOP figures that the producer of the hearing can change or alter or have any real impact on actual witness statements and testimony…
Anyway, this effort to detract from the actual meat of the hearings – interviews from more than 1,000 witnesses, testimony, and statements – is a painfully obvious effort to cover up any wrongdoings, and particularly, the wrongdoings of the former president. And that is one of the most disappointing features of today’s GOP: the lack of interest in uncovering the truth and rooting out wrongdoers and law breakers, no matter who they might be. Instead, that honorable pursuit has been replaced by a collective effort to detract from any findings. Once upon a time, the Republican Party would have been working furiously to ferret out the who-what-where-when actions of anyone involved in an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. That’s no longer what today’s Republican Party is about. Something has gone seriously wrong. And the efforts to minimize the Jan. 6 Committee and attempts to dissuade Americans from learning more about a (hopefully) once-in-our-lifetime event would seem to confirm that.
I’ll leave you with this because I’ve been thinking along the same lines. There is more than just one reason that these hearings are so important:
As you watch the House January 6th Committee’s primetime hearings, keep the following top of mind: The committee is not just examining the past. All the conditions that resulted in the violent assault on the U.S. Capitol, on Congress while it was discharging a vital constitutional duty, and on more than 140 police officers remain clear and present.
Donald Trump is still the uncontested leader of the Republican party. His base still clings to the idea the 2020 election was stolen and is nominating election-denying candidates to powerful positions in key swing states. Members of extremist groups that led the charge to the Capitol now have footholds in state and local GOP organizations all over the country. And all the affiliated members of Trump’s elite political, advocacy, and media class remain willing to assist Trump in carrying out his desires.
So don’t settle into the hearings thinking about them as a history lesson. They’re an active threat assessment.
And given that the congresswoman who replaced Rep. Cheney as conference chair referred to the hearings as a “witch hunt,” makes it very clear that the same conditions that lead to the insurrection on Jan. 6 do indeed remain solidly in place.
(*It is indeed possible for both Democrats and Republicans to focus on more than one issue at a time. And that’s certainly true of Americans, as well.)