Zealotry in Prime Time: Another ‘Stalinist’ J6 Hearing
I know our slogan is “We watch the news, so you don’t have to,” but, really, there’s only so much a person can take.
You know by that lead-in that I’m talking about last night’s January 6 committee hearing, in which House Democrats are trying to “impeach” Trump a third time and pre-empt another run for the presidency. At least this is supposed to be the last prime-time installment, but there’s just something wrong with staging these purely political events at taxpayer expense, considering they’re not real hearings, just one-sided prosecution. As Andrew C. McCarthy has said (paraphrasing): I could make a pretty darn good case if mine were the only side presented.
But anti-Trumpers and media — I repeat myself — eat this stuff up with a big spoon and lick the bowl. Some believe they’re actually watching history in the making, like the Watergate hearings. If that’s what it is, it’s something our country will have a hard time living down.
Promoting a False Theme
The committee used last night’s hearing to promote their false theme that President Trump waited “187 minutes” to call off the rioters. FOX News’ congressional correspondent, Chad Pergram, told Shannon Bream that the committee’s purpose, which Liz Cheney really pushed in her closing statement, was to convince the public that Trump is not qualified to run for president again.
To do this, they focused on interactions with the Secret Service. They played audio testimony by a former national security adviser — not identified, to the point of even distorting his voice — saying that the situation got quite ugly behind the scenes, with some people even doubting they’d make it home that day and calling their loved ones.
Deputy White House spokesperson Sarah Matthews testified that when Trump sent out a tweet in the 2:00 hour, she believed it had sent the wrong message. She personally thought it sent “a green light” to the protesters to go into the building. This is the tweet that said, “Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement. They are truly on the side of our country. Stay peaceful!” How is that a green light?
One piece of new testimony concerned communication between then-Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and then-Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, as they discussed what to do. They weren’t going to let a mob intimidate them, they decided, but rather get back into session and do their job. They were in contact by phone with the Pentagon, asking when the building would be secure. It wasn’t until almost 4 a.m. on January 7 that they certified the election results.
‘More About 2024 Than It is About 2022’
Pergram suggested that with no more hearings scheduled until September, the committee would use the month of August to stage a “drip-drip-drip” of information, maybe in the form of new audio. He said that by stretching this into the fall, Democrats risk having the Republicans “weaponize” that by saying it’s being done to affect the midterm elections (which it is).
However, as Pergram noted, this is “more about 2024 than it is about 2022.” He said many Republicans are admitting privately that they don’t want Trump to announce before the midterms, because then Trump would dominate the conversation. It would stir up the fire ants (my term) on the J6 committee, who’ll try to tie all GOP candidates to Trump and make them “answer for” whatever Trump has to say.
The committee even played outtakes (!!!) from the video Trump made on January 7, to reveal his reluctance to say the election was over. I wonder if this might backfire, because watching it, I felt the President’s pain and anger and saw him as a sympathetic figure. (Plus, since that day, we’ve learned how messed-up that election really was.) See if you don’t agree.
Martha MacCallum observed that the committee was trying to show “dereliction of duty” on the part of the President, that he “was not actively seeking help from the Department of Defense, from the Department of Homeland Security, wasn’t making those phone calls at the time.” He was only tweeting to protesters. (I thought the story was that he wasn’t communicating with protesters.)
Bret Baier said the President looked “horrible,” that it looked as though he “only cared about stopping the certification.” I would reiterate that it’s easy to paint an ugly picture of someone when you’re only offering the “prosecution” side and it can say whatever it wants. Indeed, Liz Cheney is still building her one-sided case. “New subpoenas have been issued,” she said yesterday in the ninth public hearing “and the dam has begun to break.” We just need to be done with the whole “dam” thing.
The question is, MacCallum said, whether January 6 disqualifies Trump from running for president in the minds of his own supporters, donors, undecided voters. And “does it impact his own decision, ultimately.” She thought the idea that Mike Pence might want to run again could be “a galvanizing notion,” especially after the testimony of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, who spoke well of Pence’s “direct, unambiguous” efforts to secure the Capitol.
Bream had an interesting take: that instead of discouraging Trump from running again, these hearings might be “ramping him up” for a run, to vindicate himself. Knowing Trump, I can see that after enduring this much unfairness, lying, and downright abuse, with no one there defending him, he would feel that way.
Unethical, Unfair, and Bad Lawyering
Investigative reporter John Solomon has a good write-up that includes the story we mentioned yesterday, about the IG report that detailed Trump offering National Guard troops in advance of the event to make sure it was “safe.” Gen. Milley had a specific recollection of that. Solomon’s analysis is a must-read.
Harvard Law professor and lifelong Democrat Alan Dershowitz said of the one-sided case being made in these hearings, “It’s the first time this has happened in my lifetime since McCarthyism, and it’s despicable.” The use of Cassidy Hutchinson’s hearsay testimony is “not only unethical, is not only unfair, it’s bad lawyering.”
According to Solomon, Dershowitz said the committee “created a clear perception with their performance of being ‘partisan zealots’ rather than truth-seekers.” No kidding.
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Key quote from former career federal prosecutor David Sullivan: “Legal scholars are very troubled by the way these hearings are being conducted. There is no due process. For people who don’t have an agenda to promote, these [hearings] are Stalinist. And I hate using that term.”
Speaking of Hutchinson’s hearsay testimony, the committee has had to walk back the story of Trump “lurching” for the steering wheel. They haven’t called either of the Secret Service agents who are ready to offer testimony refuting that story, but they did have a witness calling what happened merely a “heated discussion.” Trump was “upset.” Well, darn right he was.
Retired D.C. Metro Police Sergeant Mark Robinson, who was in the motorcade that day but not in Trump’s vehicle, was called as a witness against Trump (there are no defense witnesses, ha), but according to Breitbart Senior Editor-at-Large Joel Pollak, “his testimony actually contradicted Hutchinson’s testimony and undermined the hearing’s credibility.”
I’d be surprised there was any credibility left to undermine.
Mike Huckabee is the former governor of Arkansas and longtime conservative commentator on issues in culture and current events. A New York Times best-selling author, he hosts the weekly talk show Huckabee on TBN.
Originally published at MikeHuckabee.com. Reprinted with permission.