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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 6/3/21

Investigating the 1-6-21 Insurrection: What are the Republicans Afraid of?

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"Either this nation shall kill racism, or racism shall kill this nation." (S. Jonas, Aug., 2018)

Charadrius bicinctus 2 - Boat Harbour. When on the Wikimedia images link I clicked on .Insurrection,. the pic of this cute little bird came up.  So I thought, .why not go with it?.
Charadrius bicinctus 2 - Boat Harbour. When on the Wikimedia images link I clicked on .Insurrection,. the pic of this cute little bird came up. So I thought, .why not go with it?.
(Image by Wikipedia (commons.wikimedia.org), Author: JJ Harrison (https://www.jjharrison.com.au/))
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When I last wrote on this subject there was talk of establishing a bi-partisan commission along the lines of the Bi-Partisan 9/11 Commission, to investigate the events at the Capitol of 1-6-21(otherwise known by some as "The Trumpsurrection2021┬ę"; as late as 6-2-21 Mitch McConnell himself was referring to it as an "insurrection"). The House put forward legislation to so create such a commission, and then ensued lengthy negotiations on its composition and purview between Rep. Bennie Thompson for the Democrats and Rep. John Katko for the Republicans. They eventually did come to an agreement with, what we are told, were many concessions on all aspects of it being made by the Democrats. The document was passed into legislation by the House, 252-175 with, obviously, some Republicans voting for it. As is well-known, even though it had attracted a solid majority including some Republicans in that House, and had a majority in the Senate as well, i t was rejected through the use of that well-known legacy of racism, the filibuster.

Back in February-March there had indeed been much talk about establishing a "bi-partisan commission" to investigate the Riot of 1/6/21 Being dubious at the time that any such thing would be established, I cited two reasons. The first was how could one possibly establish a bi-partisan commission, that is one presumably consisting of Republicans and Democrats in equal numbers, with a bi-partisan chairmanship, presumably consisting of a Republican and a Democrat, when the riot was clearly carried out on behalf of the Republican candidate for the Presidency in the Election of 2020?

And sure enough, despite, for example, the large signs and flags prominently displayed in large numbers by the rioters which had the name of one of the candidates prominently displayed on them, such people as Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin insisted that, on the one hand a) that it was really peaceful (see below), and b) on the other that it was Black Lives Matter folk impersonating (or egging on) the Trump-folks, and "Antifa" (which doesn't actually exist as a national organization).

But, oh dear for Ronanon (see below), the caps worn by large numbers of the rioters displayed a particular Trumpist slogan, usually abbreviated, MAGA. And then the rioters frequently shouted the name of one of the candidates, but not the name of the other.

So, it's pretty clear on whose behalf the riot occurred. And then of course, there is the primary question of whether the events of the day be could characterized as a "riot" when, according to Senator "Ronanon" (the name given to him by Joe Scarborough of MSNBC's "Morning Joe"), as he assessed, the crowd consisted largely of peaceful protesters including many mothers with small children as well as elderly and overweight people. So even the question of whether the event(s) can be characterized as a "riot" is not subject to "bi-partisan" agreement. Just because Ol' Mitch used the term informally, doesn't mean that it has any formal meaning when it comes to the matter of investigations

Further, at the same time consider the following. There is the photo of (Republican --- yes, he is) Sen. (!) Josh Hawley appearing to lead persons (of whom at least some subsequently engaged in violent behavior) towards the Capitol with a raised fist (usually a sign that expresses the intent to commit real or threatened violent behavior). And it was he and Senator Cruz who, leading up to the riot (if I may use that term) were floating an idea for a recount (of certain [Black --- shhh!] votes) with a system nowhere to be found either in the Constitution or Federal law. And of course, to this day Hawley and Cruz and numerous right-wing commentators are claiming that Trump won, and such personages as Sydney Powell are further claiming that he will be restored to the throne --- I mean to the White House --- by mid-August. Apparently, according to "sources," Trump believes this himself. Ah Bonnie Prince Charlie --- Over the Sea to Skye. Ad so on and so forth, as detailed in my earlier column.

And so, despite the fact that he made a very strong Trump-condemnatory speech immediately following the events and as of June 2, 2021 as noted McConnell was still referring to the events as an "insurrection," he was also still making sure that there would be no bi-artisan investigation, as least as between the Senate and the House. There will presumably be one or more investigations by one or more House Committees. Whether they will be on a bi-partisan basis, and if so or not, under what rules, remains to be seen.

Now if there had been a joint-Party investigation, whatever would have come out of it, and whomever made up the Commission and its staff, Trump, Fox, OANN, etc. would be screaming Dem. Plot/hoax/Witch Hunt, and etc. But with a joint commission that would be harder to pull off than if there are those investigations in the House alone, whether bi-partisan or not. With the latter, they will be screaming and yelling regardless of what evidence is put on table, like some we know of already, e.g., at the height of the physical threat to Congress members Minority Leader McCarthy himself was on the phone with Trump pleading with him to call off the dogs --- which he did not. (McCarthy seems to have sloughed this one off, which he why he would not want to answer about it under oath --- see below).

So, at this point one must ask, just what are the Republicans, in the House, in the Senate, in the former Administration, as well as individuals like Rudy Giuliani, Roger Stone, Mike Flynn, his younger brother Lt. Gen Charles Flynn, and certain Congress people like Paul Gosar, to say nothing of former Pres. Trump and members of his staff and family, afraid of? They must be afraid of something, actually a whole bunch of somethings. For, if they were not, they would be delighted to have a carefully balanced joint investigation, which obviously would clear their names. But of course, that is not going to happen. There will be one or more investigations in the House (as well as the criminal proceedings, which are another matter. But persons who have already plead guilty to Federal charges, with those who have received light sentences most likely having agreed to cooperate, could be called before the Commission with a grant of immunity from further prosecution. But that is another matter.) And so, once again, what are the bulk of the Republicans in general and named person in particular afraid of?

First, Repubs. are either really in denial or faking it for the cameras. Obviously, NONE of them would want to testify under oath about anything related to the events of 1-6-21. But it would be much harder not to do that if there were a joint commission, which would automatically be operating under agreed-to rules with agreed-to personnel. Second, Repubs. are trying very hard to be in denial. McConnell talks about "relitigation" of a series of events that have not yet been litigated in the sense of a Congressional investigation. E.g., McConnell would be asked about the strong anti-Trump speech he made immediately after the events. Repubs. are very concerned about keeping those of their voters who believe in the Big Lie still believing it (this is very important). Some of those Trumpite minds would never be changed. But some might be. Do McCarthy, Cruz and Hawley, really want to be questioned under oath about what they in the run-up to the Insurrection and on the day itself? Again, yes, they wold have to be subpoenaed, but it is much easier for them (and many others who would likely be called, only some of whom are mentioned above) to refuse to comply with a House subpoena (which would run out if the Repubs. take back the House in '22) than to one from an independent Joint Commission. (Even GW Bush eventually testified before that Bi-Partisan Commission, except that he did so with his minder [the father of the supposed 'heroic" Republican Liz Cheney] and not under oath.)

Second, certain Repubs. are clinging very hard to the "Stolen election" narrative, and not just Sidney Powell and Mike (let's overthrow the government with force and violence [where is the Smith Act when we need it?] later "walked back") Flynn. There would be questions about the "tours" and other possible pre-involvement of various Repub. House members, as well as Giuliani's "Trial by Combat" remark. And what about "Hang Mike Pence" and the gallows and what he might or might not have communicated to Trump? Then, there's Third, Trump's role. He would surely refuse to testify, and would not respond to a subpoena. But again, that's easier in terms of his propaganda for him to if the investigation is just going in the House. What was he planning and when was he planning it? Was there White House coordination at some level with the Oath Keepers and etc., which an indicted/pled/lightly sentenced (presumably for cooperation) Oath Keeper possibly stated in court papers? (Presumably this man will soon be placed in the Witness Protection Program --- no joke).

Third, Trump may be thinking that if he announces another run for the Presidency that will protect him in the same way he was protected from the Mueller Investigation. (There's also his road-to-becoming-Speaker-of-the-House, a position for which he has no qualifications. But then again he wasn't qualifed to be President either.) On either kind of investigation, what do the Repubs. do with that one?

Fourth. Repubs. are very afraid of what the military will say (esp. vis-a-vis the role of Mike Flynn's brother Charles), and what the testimony would be from the: from the Capitol Police; the DC Metropolitan Police; the National Guard; and the quick study done at Speaker Pelosi's direction under the leadership of retired Lt. Gen. Russell Honore'.. Again, this would be under oath in either venue, but much easier to drown out for the Right if it's given before a House Committee.

These are just some of the reasons that Mitch "previously litigated, ho, ho, ho) McConnell will make sure that there is no joint commission. And in the House, the Repubs. will do their best to gum up and drag out whatever will be going on there, just hoping to take back the House in 2022.

What a mess, but just a few more steps on the way to Republo-fascism. ________________________________________________________________________

This column is drawn in part from a previous column of mine on this subject: "Bipartisan Commissions: 9-11 and the Capitol Riot," published at OpEdNews on 3/5/21, Click Here

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(Article changed on Jun 03, 2021 at 7:53 PM EDT)

(Article changed on Jun 06, 2021 at 5:04 PM EDT)

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Steven Jonas, MD, MPH, MS is a Professor Emeritus of Preventive Medicine at StonyBrookMedicine (NY) and author/co-author/editor/co-editor of over 35 books. In addition to his position on OpEdNews as a "Trusted Author," he is a Senior Editor, (more...)
 
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