Urgent 1/6 Questions
Americans need to know certain things about the coup attempt—the US press has a responsibility to ask the penetrating and disturbing and uncomfortable questions.
“So how will the Democratic Party message going forward? Is the concept that the GOP is overall a normal and decent and nonviolent organization and then there are just some actors within the GOP who pose a threat?”
“Is the US press failing to communicate to the public that this was a ‘trial run’, that the apparatus being set up doesn’t require Donald Trump, and that the GOP is busy implementing state-level changes that will ensure that the apparatus that failed in 2020 succeeds in 2024?”
“Is the US press properly communicating to the public who the villains in this story are and properly communicating to the public that this wasn’t just restricted to Trump and his crazy lawyers?”
We heard troubling and shocking and disturbing testimony today. There’s a 21 June 2022 piece about the fourth hearing—I took the following notes:
“The latest hearing before the House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection revealed new details Tuesday about how former President Donald Trump pressured state officials to help him overturn the 2020 presidential election.”
“The panel featured testimony from three Republican officials who were all on the receiving end of Trump’s outreach after the election: Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, his deputy Gabe Sterling and Arizona House of Representatives Speaker Rusty Bowers.”
“Like previous hearings, these officials testified about their unwillingness to participate in legally dubious schemes that would undermine the election, including efforts to subvert the Electoral College with fake pro-Trump electors.”
“Multiple witnesses told the committee that Trump was personally involved in the effort to put forward slates of fake electors in key battleground states—a key part of the broader effort to overturn Biden’s legitimate election victory.”
“Both the effort to decertify Biden electors and put forward fake Trump electors were part of the Trump team’s scheme to stop the congressional certification of the election on January 6.”
the committee has been interested in the “role that Trump’s allies in Congress played”—the committee “has subpoenaed five House GOP members, including Biggs and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy”
“The committee’s hearing underscored how the lies about the election spread by Trump and his team spiraled into multi-faceted disasters for the state officials forced to grapple with them.”
Bowers “described how Trump and his team wouldn’t take no for an answer and continued to pressure him to support decertifying the state’s electors up to the morning of January 6”
“Raffensperger described the attacks that his wife faced after the election, which he said he suspected was an attempt to pressure him to quit.”
“Tuesday’s hearing featured in-person testimony from three conservative Republicans who endorsed Trump in 2020.”
“The committee also played deposition clips from two other GOP officials: Michigan State Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and Pennsylvania House Speaker Bryan Cutler.”
“They all provided damning testimony against Trump, describing how he repeatedly tried to twist their arms and cajole them to overturn the results.”
“They also described the threats and pressure they faced from Trump supporters who believed his election lies and protested outside their homes and offices, and bombarded them with calls and text messages.”
“Bowers said under oath Tuesday that Trump lied about him in a press release that came out shortly before the hearing started, where Trump claimed Bowers told him in November 2020 that he believed the election was rigged.”
“Coverage of Trump’s presidency often focused on his words and lies. But the emotional and deeply personal testimony from Moss and Freeman flipped the script, and showed the human toll of Trump’s lies.”
“They described in devastating terms how Trump’s lies essentially destroyed their lives.”
The GOP is playing for keeps. And the Democratic Party has to decide how it wants to message going forward—there’s a disturbing and chilling and important video from Chris Hayes that discusses where the GOP actually is right now regarding violence:
And I saw a dark and chilling meme about the situation with the GOP:
So how will the Democratic Party message going forward? Is the concept that the GOP is overall a normal and decent and nonviolent organization and then there are just some actors within the GOP who pose a threat?
Sam Seder and Heather Digby Parton had—on the 17 June 2022 episode of The Majority Report—a fascinating conversation about 1/6.
I extracted—from the conversation that Seder and Parton had—some key questions that the US press should urgently pursue. And I really hope that the US press will pursue these questions seriously and intensively and thoroughly because I think that Seder and Parton really identified the most important issues.
Is it dangerous for the US press—which has been following 1/6 closely for a long time and which already knows a lot of this information—to approach the hearings as being mostly “old news”, given that “old news” for the US press isn’t “old news” for the American public?
The Threat and the Mechanism
1) Is the US press failing to communicate to the public that the fundamental important issue regarding 1/6 is that there’s a fundamental structural threat?
2) Is the US press failing to communicate to the public that this was a “trial run”, that the apparatus being set up doesn’t require Donald Trump, and that the GOP is busy implementing state-level changes that will ensure that the apparatus that failed in 2020 succeeds in 2024?
3) Is the US press failing to communicate to the public that the key problem with the 1/6 plot was that the heavy lifting happened in Washington? And failing to communicate to the public that the GOP is—based on the lessons of 1/6—currently working away at the state level? And failing to communicate to the public that nobody in the GOP is standing up against these state-level efforts?
The Legal Theory
Is the US press properly communicating to the public that there’s actually legal theory that backs up the GOP efforts to throw out the public’s votes, that this legal theory is working its way through the legal system, and that there are extremely dangerous partisan actors on the Supreme Court who can’t necessarily be trusted to do the right thing and reject this legal theory?
The Post-Pence Component
1) How much will the US press dig into the matter of how exactly the plot was supposed to unfold after Pence played his part?
2) How much will the US press dig into the issue of what role—if any role—Clarence Thomas was expected to play in the plot’s post-Pence component?
3) How much will the US press dig into the issue of what role—if any role—SCOTUS justices other than Thomas were expected to play in the plot’s post-Pence component?
Who Are the Villains?
1) Is the US press properly communicating to the public who the villains in this story are and properly communicating to the public that this wasn’t just restricted to Trump and his crazy lawyers?
2) How much will the US press shine the spotlight on the people in Congress who were involved in the coup attempt? I’m talking about Mike Lee, Lindsey Graham, Jim Jordan, Ted Cruz, Tom Cotton—these people in Congress apparently knew about what John Eastman was up to and did nothing to sound the alarm, but Americans have a false impression that 1/6 was confined to Trump and a couple weirdos.
3) How much will the US press shine the spotlight on Chuck Grassley and those around him? Grassley—and those around him—apparently knew about the coup attempt.
4) How much will the US press shine the spotlight on the SCOTUS justice who seems to have been involved?
Is Pence a Hero?
1) Is the US press failing to communicate to the public that Mike Pence was complicit in this as well, that he was intimately knowledgeable about the plot from November forward and yet did nothing to sound the alarm, and that he is the furthest thing from a hero in the sense that he should’ve sounded the alarm immediately back in November?
2) Is the US press failing to communicate to the public the fact that Pence knew exactly what his blindingly obvious responsibilities were as vice president? I’ll refer to this crucial fact as “X” for short.
3) How much will the US press dig into the issue of the nature of the “advice” that Pence was seeking from people like Dan Quayle? We know X, so the logical presumption is that these conversations with Quayle and others were an effort on Pence’s part to explore options and shop around and probe around and look into “Is there actually any way for my to wiggle out of my responsibilities, is there actually any way for me to participate in this plot without too much risk to myself, and would it actually make good career sense for me to participate in this plot?”.
4) How much will the US press dig into the issue of how many people in total Pence sought “advice” from and who all of these people were?
5) Regarding Greg Jacob’s testimony, how much will the US press dig into the issue of why John Eastman was in Pence’s office at all on January 5th? It wouldn’t have been that hard to just not take Eastman’s calls, so the logical presumption is that there was—on the day before 1/6—some ambivalence and uncertainty and indecision on Pence’s part. Pence evidently saw some value in the interaction with Eastman, but Pence had nothing to gain from convincing Eastman that Eastman was wrong, so the logical presumption is that the value in the interaction was exploration of options and exploration of risk.
Unless the DOJ decides to prosecute Trump, this whole thing seems like a theatrical waste of time. Voters rank it extremely low on the list for priorities, which is why we have GOP +3.