So the slam-dunk argument congressional Democrats have so far made during their obscenely boring Jan. 6 hearings is that Donald Trump not only lied about voter fraud in the 2020 election but that he knew he lied. How can we as a nation look at ourselves in the mirror ever again after that shock revelation?
Maryland Democrat Rep. Jamie Raskin, who sits on the Jan. 6 committee, summarized the conclusion on Sunday. “I think we can prove to any reasonable, open-minded person that Donald Trump absolutely knew because he was surrounded by lawyers,” he said on CNN.
There you have it, ladies and gentlemen. Trump must have been willfully dishonest when he said over and over again that he lost the election because it was rigged and fixed to ensure his defeat. After all, his lawyers had told him it was a lie!
The only problem with that open-and-shut case, to the extent that it’s supposed to mean anything to anyone, is that it ignores the lawyers and aides who were telling Trump the opposite, plus the all-too-likely possibility that Trump simply didn’t believe anyone who was telling him he had lost.
None of this is new. Trump White House assistant Peter Navarro was telling the president he had won the election, even publishing a three-part report making the case that the race was stolen. Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani was telling him he had won. Plenty of others inside and outside the administration were also arguing that state election laws had been illegally altered by lower courts, giving Democrats an unfair advantage.
It was supposedly “devastating testimony” (at least according to CNN’s Jake Tapper) by former U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr on Monday (previously recorded) when he recalled telling Trump in person that the Justice Department was unable to substantiate any widespread fraud that would have changed the outcome of the election.
That story is three months old. Barr recounted it first in the Wall Street Journal during which he said he told the president he found no evidence of fraud and that the president was resistant: “There is a mountain of evidence,” Trump said, according to Barr.
But people told Trump he lost! So he knew he was lying!
That’s not how lying works. The Justice Department swears at this very moment that “white supremacy” is our greatest domestic threat. I say it’s not and I can tell you why I disagree. That doesn’t make me a liar.
And if it were in fact a “lie” to charge that an election had been unfair, even stolen, we’re going to need a few more special committees just for Hillary Clinton.
A subsequent point Democrats are aiming for is that Trump had also stated even before the election that his loss could only occur if Democrats cheated, thus he must have had a diabolical plan all along. But guess who made the same assertion? Democrats!
Back in August 2020, CNN hosted a segment with fire-breathing liberal Ana Navarro, Democrat Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina, and Democrat former Sen. Barbara Boxer of California. Here’s what each of them said in the span of five minutes:
“The only way he feels now he can win this against the Biden-Harris ticket is to straight out steal it, and he’s doing it in plain sight, and we cannot let it happen.”— Boxer
“This man is not going to win fairly. So why are we supporting crooked activity?”— Clyburn (Yes, the James Clyburn who is credited with having “saved” Biden’s campaign.)
“[H]e’s going to find every single way he can to steal this election, to rig this election in his favor.”— Navarro
Is it only worth an investigation when Republicans do it or…?
I get that Democrats are trying to make a broader case that Trump’s election claims were part of a conspiracy that ultimately led to the riot in the Capitol in 2021, but if reaching that point first requires that they ignore the gaping holes in the fundamental assertion that Trump purposefully lied to the public, the committee hearings are basically just re-runs of Lawrence O’Donnell’s programming of the past year.
And we haven’t even gotten started on the role that the pandemic hysteria and Black Lives Matter violence, intentionally instigated and exacerbated by Democrats, played in the lead-up to Jan. 6. I’m sure the committee will use at least one day to get into that. Surely!