Spreading Sense of Outrage
Terry H. Schwadron
June 26, 2022
At this point, are the continuing exploration of details in the plotted march to Jan. 6 really “bombshells,” as cable tv tells us, or just more icing on an awful insurrection cake that was anything but spontaneous?
Indeed, after this week’s concurrent, unrelated Supreme Court decisions overturning abortion rights and expanding the rights to carry concealed weapons, there is a yet more overwhelming feeling about being manipulated and overrun by self-appointed right-wingers pursuing their rewrite of law and history.
Presentations by the House Select Committee and the continuing parade of former Donald Trump appointees who now see the error of what was going on continued this week to fill in horrible and unending disregard for law and values by Trump.
On its own, Jan. 6 is an unfolding story of malice and political ego, but with the court decisions, there is a bigger felling that our reliance on political rights and votes are out of control.
We can’t control the economy, we can’t legally control our medical decisions, we can’t be assured that our votes will be fairly counted — all at the same time. The hearings still offer one path that we can address a system gone wild, and seek accountability, and thus remain important — despite the continuing denials from Trump supporters that what we saw never happened.
Knowingly Violating Law
At the minimum, the degree to which the Trump ego would manipulate state and federal agencies to work as an extension of his own political campaign to remain in office should be disqualifying for any renewed run for the White House. The legal dithering about what exactly has constituted prosecutable federal crimes should be easier than not — and thus we saw court-approved FBI searches for evidence and new Justice Department subpoenas emerging even as the committee continues to air its findings from its months-long investigations.
But it is the insistence of those Republicans officials and staffers who knowingly violated the law and the Constitution in his behalf that may have become a new fascination.
The committee’s call-out of a half-dozen Republican congress members, lawyers and political operatives planted in various agencies who actively sought blanket pardons in Trump’s waning days provides a unique display of disgust, for example. They knew they had violated the law as well as having tried to overthrow our votes.
And yet, rather than reflect humiliation, most of them are continuing to run for office anew, planning for a Republican majority in Congress to launch punitive campaigns against Democrats and are still crowing about a rigged 2020 election in which it has become painfully obvious that Trump’s forces had absolutely no evidence.
Deeply Weird Plotting
In our best-of-TrumpWorld, worst-of-TrumpWorld recitations through these committee presentations, the questions increasingly are focused on what those around Trump possibly could have been thinking. That Trump was morally and probably legally bankrupt now seems obvious, but where were these truth-tellers while it was all going on through two impeachment trials and innumerable scandals.
We now know that Trump put staying in office over concern for law, that he lied repeatedly to supporters and the country at large, that he was central to the overlapping legal, political and finally physical schemes to overthrow an election, even while inciting or encouraging violence.
And yet, he remains leader of his party, and is acting as if a re-run in 2024 is a foregone conclusion.
Testimony this week from Trump-appointed Republican officials underscored the degree of institutional and personal pressure brought on state and federal agencies to just declare an election fraud to allow him to take over. Along the way, an increasingly desperate Trump repeatedly brushed aside law and Constitutional bars on how elections are run and counted, prepared to install unqualified people in Justice to carry out his political desires, ready to send federal law enforcement or the military to seize voting machines, willing to plot with white supremacist militia groups for violence at the Capitol.
The possibilities for fraud claims in a White House that spent every day on the plot to stay in office got increasingly strange in the committee’s retelling, from satellite manipulation of voting machines to video clips that apparently were totally misinterpreted. The weirdness matched the machinations that could have resulted in the appointment of Trump advocate Sidney Powell, who is facing disbarment based on faulty voter fraud allegations she presented in court, as a special counsel for fraud investigation.
It remains remarkable that Trump couldn’t pull off the coup.
Now, we’re getting to inclusion of yet more people, including Republicans in Congress. Testimony showed that at least four Republican House members — Reps. Matt Gaetz (Fla.), Mo Brooks (Ala.), Louie Gohmert (Texas) and Andy Biggs (Ariz.) — asked Trump for pardons. Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) had asked for a pardon as well, according to earlier testimony as well as Trump legal adviser John Eastman. And an aide testified that Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.) also sought a pardon.
The FBI showed up pre-dawn to seize documents and electronics from Justice’s Jeffrey Clark, who Trump apparently was ready to name acting attorney general to declare a national election fraud and set the stage for setting aside election results, and who, like Eastman, has pleaded the Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination before 100 committee questions.
We’re hearing that Sen. Mo Brooks (Ala.), who lost his primary this week, is ready to testify, though he oddly thinks he has leverage in setting the conditions. We’re hearing odd, ill-explained backdoor maneuvers by Sen. Ron Johnson (Wis,) to seek to put the names of alternate Electoral College electors into the hands of former Vice President Mike Pence to stop the certification proceedings, and then denying it happened — all coordinated with a Trump lawyer, Madison.com reported. We’re hearing new names emerging as apparatchiks placed in Justice. We’re hearing a relentless campaign on the single subject of Trump political survival while covid was causing real death and the nation’s economy was tanking.
New video of the Trumps from an invited filmmaker has emerged that show his distance from the reality we all witnessed and that raise yet new questions about differences in family testimony under oath to the committee.
Republican response has varied from reports that Trump donors are turning away to criticisms that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy should have ensured that more Republicans, including those caught up in the plotting, should have been on the investigating committee.
It all smells of fear of criminal liability for a group broader than Trump himself.