Learning Sometimes By Confirmation

Even with a postponement – and I have some thoughts on that, not to be shared today – the 1/6 Committee hearings were the big events of the week just ended. We learned some things and other suspicions were confirmed. Allow me to go through a brief overview and comments exercise.

We learned that beyond a doubt Donald Trump knew that he lost the 2020 election in a fair contest. Almost all his closest advisors told him so. In the wee hours of the morning of November 4, 2020, he took the advise of an apparently inebriated Rudy Giuliani over all the professionals surrounding him and declared victory. I remember watching it live. To the politically knowledgeable all he did was illustrate his ignorance of how votes are counted. It probably played well with Bubba (assuming he was still awake and somewhat sober) but not with those of us who understand the process. In reality it was simply too close to call at that point but already everything was pointing to a Biden victory.

To steal the words of Representative Zoe Lofgren (who again proved her genius) the Big Lie became the Big Rip Off. Trump knew he had lost but decided it was too good of an opportunity to scam a few more bucks – it turned out to be at least $250 million – and why not throw a few Hail Mary passes while he was at it. He might just get lucky and have four (and most likely more) years of running his kickback/scam operation from government housing.

We did learn another major source of funding for 1/6 – the Trump scam fundraising operation kicked in $5 million (of other people’s money).

As my regular readers well know I love baseball. Trump and his minions – yes, there are still people stupid enough to support him – complain that he never got a chance to get a hearing on his election complaints. Let me remind you of the facts. In the wake of the election Trump and his forces filed 62 court cases. They lost 61 outright. (Their lone victory was to get a court to allow their recount observers to stand a few feet closer to the “action”. Which, by the way, proved that the original count was correct.) In baseball terms he went 1 for 62 which is a batting average of .016. If you were lucky that is a ticket back to the minors but much more likely your outright release. You simply proved you can’t hit.

My compliments to the committee staff who called a great audible when the final 2020 Trump campaign head, Bill Stepien, called out at the last minute. Stepien, who if he was telling the truth which I suspect he was, had a legitimate excuse. He is still far from pure as driven snow. Among his other exploits he was up to his eyeballs in the Bridgegate affair when he worked for Chris Christie. Currently he is working on the campaign of the Trump endorsed Harriet Hageman who is Liz Cheney’s primary challenger. The committee’s staff did a great job of putting together tapes from his sworn testimony, started the proceedings only 46 minutes late and still convincingly drove home the message that Trump lied, he knew he lied and he scammed his small dollar supporters. In other words: standard operating procedures for an organized criminal enterprise.

It would be one thing if the witnesses, live or on tape, were progressives; but they were almost exclusively Trump Republicans and/or Trump loyalists. (In fairness, Ben Ginsberg is a legitimate Republican.)

For the next hearing the live witnesses were Federalist Society member and extremely respected right wing retired federal judge J. Michael Kuttig and then-Vice President Mike Pence’s Legal Counsel Greg Jacob. Representative Pete Aguilar and Committee Counsel John Wood led the questioning.

Kuttig spoke mainly of the illegality of Trump’s legal plots and the danger they/he posed to American democracy. Jacob spoke mainly to the fact that Trump browbeat, belittled and abandoned Pence. A case could be made that Trump was an important part of an attempted murder plot. I’m no Mike Pence fan, but we simply cannot condone the assassination of a sitting Vice President!

Now to my personal anticipations for the remainder of the hearing sessions.

I remember as I watched the events of 1/6 unfold on TV thinking that this had to be a coordinated effort. The facts already emerging prove as much. It also had to be to some degree an “inside job”. To date one member of Congress is pretty well proven to be complicit. I refuse to think he was alone. Who were the others and what were their roles? I feel at least two Republican Senators (who I am not prepared to name in writing at this point) along with several more House members were in on the plot. This, in part was why Trump wasn’t concerned if Pence were killed. In fact, it might have helped his plot along.

Aside from one strange event only peripherally publically covered at this point, the role of the Capital Police has not been questioned. The overwhelming majority of the rank and file responded well above the call of duty. In fact, several died or were seriously injured. But I have a difficult time comprehending how this happened without some inside cooperation at high levels and I wonder if it still isn’t going on and/or some of the brass is simply afraid of certain office holders.

We’ll see. I have an idea that members of Congress will be called out in the final or next to last hearing.

Much of what wasn’t a confirmation of opinions was a learning experience and both should be equally alarming.

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