Accountability and the January 6th attackJune 21, 2022
It’s not surprising that Donald Trump is now pretending to barely know the man who provided the anchor for Trump’s Big Lie. It’s what he’s done time and time again when accountability has nipped at his heels — deflect the blame and continue the deception.
Ankush Khardori takes a deep dive into legal accountability and how the right-wing world is reacting to the hearings:
The information we are learning from House’s hearings about January 6 has reignited legitimate questions about Donald Trump’s legal liability for the events leading up to the siege of the Capitol, but conservative pundits are so far struggling to offer a compelling rebuttal to the proceedings.
Over at The Daily Beast, Eleanor Clift games out how the DOJ may respond:
There won’t be a puff of white smoke emanating from the DOJ to alert us that they’re investigating potential crimes committed by Trump. But, really, how could they deny the public such an indication? Yet it’s possible that—with such a sensitive case—the lead prosecutor and the AG may not explain the nature of the investigation until it’s time to speak in court.
“It’s very intentional on the part of the committee, laying out breadcrumbs in terms of each allegation, and without directly saying so, calling for federal action,” says Jack Pitney, professor of politics at Claremont-McKenna College. “Cheney inserted the word ‘illegally’ when she said Trump summoned a violent mob and directed them to march on the Capitol. She’s a lawyer, she knows what she’s doing.” Cheney used the word “corruptly” three times in the seven-part plan she said Trump used in his effort to overturn the election and prevent the transition of power.
“What they’re doing is laying out evidence of his state of mind and that he either knew or should have known the fraud charge was bogus,” says Pitney. Former Attorney General Bill Barr’s observation in a video clip that Trump was “detached from reality” might fall under the legal umbrella of willful ignorance given all the testimony from his inner circle of advisers that they told him the election was fairly decided and there was no evidence of fraud that would change the outcome.
As someone the MAGA Right probably considers to be a RINO (which stands for “Republican in Name Only”—an ironic slur coming from the likes of men who flirted with Democrats not long ago), let me go on the record and say that I’m against hunting and killing even the squishiest of Republicans.
In a different time and place, I might dismiss someone else writing this column as yet another example of “hair on fire” media blowing things out of proportion. But we live in a world where Trump supporters rioted in the Capitol—shouting “Hang Mike Pence!” and attempting to stop the peaceful transfer of power.
We live in a world where Rep. Adam Kinsinger (a Republican who has angered the MAGA world for his participation in the Jan. 6 Committee) has said that his wife received a letter threatening to execute her, him, and their baby. […] Against this backdrop, Greitens’ rhetoric could easily inspire violence, even if Greitens’ motive is mere political opportunism. It’s almost certainly a troll, but who can even tell the difference anymore between a gross, but harmless troll and an actual incitement to violence?
And here’s Paul Walman at The Washington Post on the dangerous consequences of allowing a party to embrace violence with impunity:
At the moment, we’re seeing a rise in widely distributed, low-level acts of violence and intimidation directed at the right’s enemies. This will likely escalate: This year has seen a dramatic increase in threats against Pride Month events, which comes after a couple of years of near-riots at school board meetings and threats against public health officials and election administrators.
There is an undeniable connection between what the angry right-wing mob does on the ground and what it sees from the Republican elite. […]
When more of it happens, candidates such as Greitens will pretend they had nothing to do with it. They will say their ugly, violent rhetoric was just figurative — even as they wink and nod to their supporters. They’ll claim to be shocked and ask how they could possibly have known anyone would take them seriously.
But we should take them very seriously. Violence isn’t something they’re working to discourage. It has become a key part of their rhetoric and their political program. And the worse it gets, the more pleased they’ll be.