The Insurrection Lives — and meet me in New York…
I have a new piece below on how the January 6 hearings are working—and an invite for an upcoming event for any of you who happen to be near New York.
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The January 6 hearings are working.
That is not an obvious or inevitable outcome. Many Congressional hearings are not effective. They are largely known for being “boring” (you don’t see most get live news coverage for that reason), or for descending into partisan clashes (which can make them both ineffective and hard to watch), or for becoming a stage for politicians to grandstand (a bipartisan problem).
These hearings, led by an unusually serious, constructively bipartisan and temporary committee, are revealing facts.
They are showing the public new things.
They are compelling testimony from even recalcitrant Trump veterans.
They are objectively providing evidence of crimes against the U.S., including allegedly by former Pres. Trump, and spurring new action by the Justice Department. And doing all that pretty quickly.
The evidence shows Trump led the plot; planned the march to the Capitol in advance; hid his own planning - with illicit intent - and he pressed on when he was warned by top aides that his supporters were armed. Then, as the last hearing will focus on, Trump viewed the storming of the Capitol as a goal to be cheered, not a “mistake” to be stopped.
Much of the worst and most incriminating material has come from primary sources—eyewitnesses who were in the room. Trump aides detailing how Trump came to secretly plan the march on the Capitol. The aide to the chief of staff recounting the specific warnings about crimes. Veterans of extremist groups recounting how they took their cues from Trump.
The committee has also compelled new cooperation from a significant witness—Pat Cipollone—who just testified in private, and undercut the (largely lame) objection that some of witnesses’ stories were secondhand “hearsay.”
The committee stated Cipollone “repeatedly raised” legal warnings about “Trump’s activities on January 6th and in the days that preceded” it. That’s diplomatic. The portrait that emerges is that he was practically screaming at Trump and other aides to try to stop them from not one, but several, felonies to overthrow the election.
As the committee approaches its last scheduled hearing, what happens next?
The DOJ’s open cases continue. That includes over 800 people charged in connection with storming the Capitol, and two prosecutions of Trump aides who defied the Committee. One of those cases, against Steve Bannon, begins Monday.
The Committee will release a report. That may carry even more information, and a possible blueprint for other charges, as well as policy reforms to better protect democracy in this climate.
The DOJ may take new actions in response to the Committee’s work, from witness tampering to election fraud to the big question of whether to charge Trump or his aides for actually trying to obstruct the Jan. 6 certification and overthrow the election.
Finally, at a time of great skepticism, the committee’s work and the professional hearings show something that is working. A project built on truth and accountability. That may even be an antidote to other (valid) criticisms of how Pres. Biden and Democrats are deploying their power right now. There is plenty of reasons to be down on Washington and politics and the “whole system.” So it’s also striking to see a tangible example of independent, effective and even sometimes courageous leadership inside an institution like Congress — as it faces down a very real plot to destroy that very body, and American democracy itself.
Join me in New York
For those of you in or near New York, I am excited to be a part of this gathering — which you can join for free on Sat. July 23 by registering in advance.
The Inaugural Social Justice Convention will bring together leaders, experts, and advocates who are committed to working together in the spirit of social and racial justice to enact change in police violence, law, voter registration, education and civic action.
I’ll be leading an afternoon panel on prison reform, with several reform leaders in that field, and the Roc Nation artist Yo Gotti, who backed a successful lawsuit to compel change at the notorious Parchman prison. Again, it’s free but you have to register in advance at https://www.unitedjusticecoalition.com/ujc-summit.
P.S. Here’s wishing you a great week and maybe some time away from news and politics. Thanks for your interest in my work, and if you want to support this newsletter and get all the editions, you can consider signing up for the full thing below:
You report the way reporting was intended.....factual, without hype or bias, journalism at its best!
I think the January 6th Commission has been coherent,detailed and factual providing primary source materials or testimony. The operative part being factual. Sadly I am not sure that facts matter anymore for many citizens. I am not sure how that will mold our country or how it portends for future America. I really believe your coverage of these hearings has been next level excellent