The House Select Committee on Jan. 6 finally devoted a major portion of a hearing in its summer show trial series to the violence at the Capitol.
After again re-establishing that members of the Trump White House were divided over the Republican president’s challenges to the 2020 election, lawmakers spent the second half of Tuesday’s hearing on the turmoil from more than 18 months ago.
“We settle our differences at the ballot box,” Committee Chair Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said during his opening of proceedings in which a fellow panel member, Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-M.d., led the questioning of two repentant rioters who illegally entered the Capitol. Just five years ago, Raskin spearheaded efforts to overturn the 2016 election results as one of his first actions in Congress, objecting to the certification over made-up narratives of Trump-Russia collusion.
Over the course of Tuesday’s hearing, lawmakers sought to paint former President Donald Trump as guilty of coordinating an assault on the Capitol, which began well before he had finished his speech at the White House. At one point, the panel featured an unsent tweet from the president urging supporters to “March to the Capitol,” as incriminating evidence. The post loses its shock value, however, when one acknowledges that Trump said plainly to those gathered at the Ellipse to head toward the Capitol and protest “peacefully.” Quite the bombshell.
“I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard,” Trump said.
For all its redundancy in its desperate attempt to smear political dissidents as violent “insurrectionists” ahead of the fall midterms, the Jan. 6 Committee’s latest hearing offered the most information yet about the telegraphing and public planning in the run-up to the Capitol riot. The proceedings, on the other hand, came complete not with testimony from senior officials in charge of Capitol security, but instead from an anonymous Twitter employee and former D.C. Chief of Homeland Security and Intelligence Donell Harvin.
In a pre-recorded clip played during the hearing, Harvin told lawmakers his division received information “suggesting that some very, very violent individuals were organizing to come to D.C. and not only were they organizing to come to D.C., but these groups, these nonaligned groups, were aligning. All the red flags went up at that point.”
“When you have armed militia collaborating with white supremacy groups collaborating with conspiracy theory groups online all towards a common goal, you start seeing what we call in terrorism, ‘a blended ideology,'” Harvin added. “And that’s a very, very bad sign.”
Harvin said groups went beyond casual chatter and began coordinating specifics.
The committee’s anonymous Twitter employee, meanwhile, testified that the company was concerned about the potential for violence on Jan. 6.
“I don’t know that I slept that night [Jan. 5, 2021] to be honest with you,” the employee said. “I was on pins and needles, because again, for months, I had been begging and anticipating and attempting to raise the reality that, if we made no intervention into what I saw occurring, people were going to die.”
Tuesday’s testimony raised more questions than answers and reinforced existing questions about the Capitol security failures under the leadership of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who six times turned down requests for the deployment of the National Guard, according to former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund.
Why didn’t Pelosi’s House Sergeant at Arms approve requests for National Guard assistance? According to The Washington Post, “Harvin’s team set up a call with analysts at the Capitol Police.” Why did the U.S. Capitol Police Intelligence Unit “not warn its officers or law enforcement partners of the gravity of the threat” as outlined by a Senate report last summer? Why didn’t the Jan. 6 Committee ask Harvin about the Capitol Police’s failure to heed his warnings? And why is the committee soliciting testimony from former D.C. government employees instead of the Capitol Police Intelligence Unit? We all know the answer to the last two.
Devoid of opposition, the committee is operating for the sole purpose of expunging its political enemies from public life, and that means doing everything in its power to present a curated narrative. Panel member Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., admitted that much on CNN on Sunday when she said on national television that the committee was uninterested in corroborating blockbuster claims left unverified at best.
“We never call in witnesses to corroborate other witnesses or to give their reaction to other witnesses,” Lofgren said.