I know where I will be at 1 p.m. tomorrow–in front of my television. I will be tuned into what is expected to be the last investigative hearing of the House Select Committee on the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol. A few days ago, Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), a Committee member, hinted that Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, would testify. That has changed. Now Lofgren just promises “surprising new material.”
I wasn’t particularly interested in learning more about Ms. Thomas, an enthusiastic proponent of efforts to keep Donald Trump in the White House. I wonder what the new material might be given everything the Committee has already reported. Could it be that Roger Stone got a new tattoo or that Trump played a round of golf with three Oath Keepers and cheated? Yawn.
What do I expect tomorrow? Although I hope I’m wrong, not much. The hearing will take the format of the previous hearings. The witnesses are a minor part of a multimedia presentation structured to make what could be boring information more accessible to a larger audience. There will be videos of depositions, and presentations by one or two Committee members laying out “new revelations.”
My expectation of an anticlimactic final day of hearings doesn’t mean that the Committee has failed in any way. The Committee has documented that Trump spent considerable time planning and executing the January 6 insurrection and that the law and Constitution did not deter his plan to overturn the 2020 election in the least.
The formal findings of the Committee, which will be issued after the midterm elections, will present a compelling case to indict Trump. We already know that. We will be told, again, that:
Trump lost the November 2020 election and, unable to reconcile himself with his defeat, either knowingly lied about believing he won the election or deluded himself that he did.
Various White House counsel, his daughter and Attorney General Barr knew Trump had lost and advised him of that fact.
Before the January 6 failed insurrection attempt, Trump, and various Trump gang members, including Rudy Giuliani and Lindsey Graham, sought to interfere with the proper counting of votes, including in Georgia and Arizona.
Trump intended the rally that preceded the attack on the Capitol to be the starting point for the attack.
Trump was aware that armed militia groups were going to the Capitol in quasi-military garb.
Trump intended the assault on the Capitol to persuade legislators to reject electoral college votes to set the stage for his being declared the winner.
Trump supported the discredited legal theory that suggested that the vice president could reject electoral college votes.
Trump was angry at Vice President Pence after he declined to implement Trump’s unconstitutional scheme.
Trump did nothing to deter the Capitol riot once it started, choosing instead to watch it on TV.
What more do we need to know? More importantly, what else does the Justice Department need to know to start formal proceedings against Trump?
Regardless of what happens on Thursday, Donald Trump and the big-game hunter Donald Trump, Jr. will cry “Witch Hunt!”
To my knowledge, Don, Jr. has never bagged a witch. But, while the defeated ex-president does not deserve fairness given his assault on democracy, it must be admitted that Democrats are doing their best to use the final hearing of the January 6 election to influence the midterm elections. That revelation is like the discovery that gambling was going on in Rick’s Café in Casablanca. What did you expect? It is, however, unfortunate because the crimes that the January 6 Committee documented need to be prosecuted, and anything that gives Donald Trump ammo to attack the Committee and its findings as politically motivated is counterproductive.
One final thought: I wonder whether the January 6 Committee got to the bottom of what was said at the December 19, 2021, meeting at the White House attended by our Congressman, Andy Harris. To date, Dr. Harris has not offered a satisfactory explanation of what he was doing at the meeting. It would be a service to the First District if the Committee shared everything it has about that meeting and its attendees before election day. The information might open some eyes here on the Eastern Shore.
J.E. Dean is a retired attorney and public affairs consultant writing on politics, government, and other subjects.