Former President Donald Trump was provocative in calling for the mobilization of tens of thousands of supporters to protest against the formalization of the 2020 election at the Capitol on January 6, 2021. However, he didn't “incite” the riot at the Capitol—not within the legal definition of “incite” nor even the standard one.
As the impeachment trial—which was possibly unconstitutional and averted by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court—demonstrated, the Capitol protests began well before Trump finished speaking at his rally, which was about one mile away. Furthermore, Trump told the crowd to “peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.” There is no evidence to suggest that he was aware that a small percentage of protesters would enter the building, assault Capitol Police, and rush into the legislative chambers.
After more than 1,000 conversations with witnesses and many leaked media reports, no new evidence was discovered to link Trump to the violent protesters. The only thing that could be concluded is that when he instructed the rioters to leave, he did it at the wrong time and sympathized with them. Apart from hints of the existence of a “war room”—a term coined by the Clinton campaign—that was run by Trump supporters to coordinate protests, there's been no indication of any new information about the protests.
The Capitol incident was certainly not an “insurrection,” except for a small minority among the many who participated in the protest. However, the January 6 Committee may have revealed a genuine continuing “insurrection” against the Constitution's separation of powers as well as its Bill of Rights and national unity. There isn't a single instance in America’s past history when one side dominated the other and questioned the opposition party, gaining access to people's personal lives, aided by notoriously discredited and deeply politicized prosecutors.
It is not clear if the Committee holds a “smoking gun” in reserve that could be a huge problem. What it has shown is the degree to which Congress, without oversight, can employ the pretense that it is “defending democracy” to abuse its power.
Here's what’s been discovered so far:
- Double standard for “riots”: Congress devoted an impeachment trial and an entire year and a half of investigation to one riot that was directly linked to one death (of a rioter), injuries to officers, and some structural damage. However, Congress ignored the left-wing protests that took place in 48 of the 50 major cities over the previous months, resulting in hundreds of victims, injuries to hundreds of police officers, and billions of dollars of damage in the biggest man-made catastrophe to occur in U.S. history.
The nature of the Capitol incident was quite different. It targeted the legislature in its performance of its job of governing an orderly transition of power. It was not an attempt to take down the government. Some protesters believed they were helping to save it. Democrats—including President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris—spent months defending the riots of 2020 in the name of “peaceful” protests. Harris assisted in the rescue of protesters and attacked federal police officers for being a “paramilitary” force.
- A serious investigation is not being conducted into Capitol security breaches: The Capitol incident occurred, in part, due to its not being secure. Then-President Trump requested the National Guard to assist; however, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) declined. She did it as Democrats had spent the prior summer in the spotlight accusing Trump of militarizing the capital city of the U.S. with the help of National Guard troops to help in calming riots that even threatened the White House itself (a real “insurrection”). The presence of the Guard in the Capitol would have embarrassed Pelosi and deprived Democrats of a point of discussion. Therefore, requests for assistance were rejected. The police were overwhelmed and even opened doors for protesters, hoping they would eventually leave, which they did.
The January 6 Committee did not summon Pelosi to give testimony, nor Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), in particular. It also did not require emails or documents from Pelosi’s office. Instead, it offered Pelosi the opportunity to escape responsibility.
- There is no equal treatment for Democrat doubters: Trump and his advisers stated publicly that they intended to use the protests to press Vice President Mike Pence to send some states back to review their Electoral College votes in their legislatures. While doing so, they were following a constitutionally questionable and politically polarizing strategy. However, it was not any different than what Democrats have done in Congress in the past whenever a Republican won the presidency.
One person who was against certifying the Electoral College votes in 2004 was the January 6 Committee Chair, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) himself. However, Republicans in Congress who wanted to follow suit were referred to as insurrectionists. Earlier this year, President Joe Biden himself said that the 2022 midterm elections may possibly not be “legitimate”–an assertion that the Committee has called an instance that resembles “insurrection” when applied to the 2020 elections. But he's been unpunished.
- Not a solitary sentence for the “Russian collusion” hoax: The January 6 Committee has been holding its hearings secretly while the public has witnessed the first trials of Special Counsel John H. Durham over the fake “Russian collusion” conspiracy theory. That hoax, cooked up by losing 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and her lawyers and aides, provided the basis for attempting to undermine and oust a democratically elected president using the media and law enforcement.
A single FBI attorney, Kevin Clinesmith, admitted to altering an email so the FBI could monitor an innocent person. He was reprimanded. Within the past week, ex-Clinton legal counsel Michael Sussmann was acquitted by a jury packed with Clinton donors. The “Russian collusion” hoax was as much an “insurrection” against democracy as the Capitol protests. However, its perpetrators have not been probed by Congress and have not apologized. Some, such as National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, were rewarded.
- Terror from the left and threats against Supreme Court justices: In recent days, left-wing demonstrators–with the support of Democrats and the Biden White House–have protested in front of the residences of Supreme Court justices, illegally. The protests began following the leak of a draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade—which is a serious attack on the workings of the judiciary–and after several years of threats made against justices by high-ranking Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). On Wednesday, this savage political rhetoric culminated in the detention of an individual who was planning to murder Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh—a gruesome act that, if it had been successful, could have resulted in the appointment of a liberal successor. The supposed non-political Department of Justice (DoJ) continued on Wednesday to permit an illegal protest at Kavanaugh's residence. Other places, including pregnancy centers, were bombed by pro-choice terrorists without opposition from Democrats.
- An illegitimate process: The January 6 Committee has repeatedly reaffirmed several of the procedural errors that led to the failure of both Trump impeachments—not surprising, as the people who authored the failed impeachments were both on the Committee. The enabling resolution involved an unbalanced committee composed of eight Democrats and five Republicans. However, Speaker Pelosi, in a rare breach of protocol, refused the nominees selected by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). This resulted in McCarthy quitting the Committee, which left the panel without a chairperson. Pelosi picked two anti-Trump Republicans to sit on the panel. This meant that there was never a single opposing voice heard during the hearings or investigations. Witnesses were interrogated in secret, as Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) did during the “basement” depositions in the first impeachment. Any witnesses who questioned the authority of the Committee before a judge were subject to prosecution for contempt.
- Infraction in the exercise of separation of powers: The Constitution doesn't allow Congress to be an enforcement agency. Its committees and investigations have to be connected to a legitimate legislative goal, with the exception of the case of impeachment. The January 6 Committee has no legal objective. Instead, through its entire proceedings, Democrats have hoped publicly that they could provide an excuse for allowing Attorney General Merrick Garland to pursue Trump or his supporters. Garland agreed, bringing charges against Stephen K. Bannon and Peter Navarro for contempt of Congress—even after the department refused to pursue the same action against Democrats, including ex-IRS official Lois Lerner and Attorney General Eric Holder.
The Department of Justice is now using transcripts from depositions that were secretly recorded in other criminal prosecutions—depositions in which witnesses received no constitutional protections that they would have enjoyed in a normal criminal investigation. Furthermore, witnesses raised genuine concerns regarding the extent of executive privilege when they were asked to provide documents or provide evidence about conversations they had with Trump. The Committee has largely ignored these issues. In doing so, the Committee has weakened the executive, supplanted the judiciary, and set an example that any new president could revoke the executive privilege of the previous president, making it more difficult for the next president to work with his or her advisers.
- The destruction of civil rights: Apart from using the process of investigation to try to skirt the constitutional protections to which witnesses are entitled in normal criminal procedures, the January 6 Committee violated the rights of citizens in a variety of different ways. One was to demand private phone records or witnesses’ bank records without legitimate justification. Subpoenas were issued to private corporations instead of witnesses as individuals frequently passed over the boundaries of the investigation. In many instances, witnesses were not even informed of subpoenas, even before they were served, which left them with little time to line up legal resources to protect their privacy as well as threatened them, such as being accused of contempt. The Department of Justice has carried out the threats and wasted funds on detaining Republicans who are political enemies instead of defending the general public from mass shootings or the wave of crime that has swept through American towns across the country.
- The opposition targeted for prosecution: The January 6 Committee has taken the unique and scandalous step of delivering a subpoena to House Minority Chairman McCarthy himself and threatening him with criminal contempt charges if he does not adhere to it. There has never been a time, other than the formal impeachment proceedings, when a single party placed the leader of the opposition party on trial and in a way that could result in the possibility of imprisonment. This is an all-new low and threatens any chance of unity.
- Trial for show: The trial will begin on January 6. The Committee is scheduled to conduct its first open hearing Thursday evening on prime-time television as part of a special broadcast created by a former ABC News executive to assist in achieving the event's full potential as propaganda.
The New York Times all but admitted that its main goal is to influence the midterm elections (in which Democrats are worried about devastating losses) instead of revealing the truth, preventing further tensions, or bringing peace to the nation after decades of conflict. The opposition doesn't know the evidence that will be put forward and who the witnesses will be. It's just the stage for a show trial. Totalitarian regimes are all the same. Free countries are not. As a result, the Committee might be found guilty of self-deflection.