What kind of man believes it is appropriate to threaten elderly women? I'm not being rhetorical: would-be commenter "Chris Adams" was so incensed by Wading The Rubicon: Yesterday's Hearing
that he sat down at his keyboard and banged out this missive:
The whole "hearings" thing is just a show trial designed to impugn a man without having to go the the trouble or proving actual facts. It's the sort of thing that Communist and Fascist dictatorships have traditionally done and anyone who supports it being done here in America needs to be watched with suspicion. We see you, Roberta.
Ooooooh! I'm skeered now, you betcha.
Taking his points in reverse order, "We see you
" is a classic veiled threat
, and rather a thin veil at that. In this context, it carries overtones of night-riding intimidation -- preposterous deployed against a sixty-four year old woman with a blog, and downright foolish when she has a good supply of pepper spray, is a fair shot, has a lodger who is even better, and lives in a state with a very strong Castle Doctrine. But such is the emotionally-fragile nature of bullies. I am not minded to coddle them.
"...[J]ust a show trial...anyone who supports it (the 1/6 Committee hearings) being done here in America needs to be watched with suspicion," riiiight. I have news for you, little man: The U. S. Congress has been conducting hearings for as long as there has been a Congress. There are several types. The very first Investigative Hearing
was in 1792
, after Native Americans commanded by Little Turtle and Blue Jacket handed the U.S. Army their worst defeat at the hands of Native Americans. The Federal government was more than a little agitated at this, and the House of Representatives set up a committee to find out what went wrong.
The insurrection and attempted coup of 6 January 2021 merits investigation, too. Only the second time the U. S. Capitol building was broken into by a force of men,* it resulted in five deaths
, multiple injuries, millions of dollars in damage and a lengthy interruption in the tally of electoral votes, a core function of the Federal government. Was it merely spirited excess by overly-enthusiastic followers, or a serious effort? That's the kind of thing Congress ought to find out about, and they set out to establish an independent, bipartisan commission
to look into it.
Senate Republicans voted it down
. So the House voted (222 to 190) to establish a select committee, to consist of eight members appointed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and five selected by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy
in consultation with her This is pretty standard as such things go. The Speaker announced her intention to appoint one Republican in her picks, which would put the committee at seven Democrats and six Republicans.
have. Kevin McCarthy's picks included three Congressmen who had voted against certifying 2020 electoral results from Pennysylvania
. Two of them (Jim Banks and Jim Jordan) had gone on to make intemperate public statements about the 2020 Presidential election and the events of 6 January. Speaker Pelosi rejected those two, while approving the remaining three Republicans. Rather than naming replacements, Minority Leader McCarthy then picked up all his marbles and went home, announcing he would not appoint anyone on the committee unless all five of his original choices were approved. So much for "in consultation" as provided in the bill establishing the committee -- and so much for the Republicans getting to choose any of its members. They preferred not to. The Speaker did add Republican Adam Kinzinger of Illinois to the committee
The GOP had the opportunity to name five members to the Select Committee and rejected it.
But a Congressional committee hearing is not a trial
. It's got more in common with a Grand Jury or a Preliminary Hearing, which happen before a trial. Those don't determine guilt or innocence, only if there is enough evidence of wrongdoing to merit a trial. And a committee hearing simply hauls the evidence into the light, including sworn testimony.
Which gets us to the hearing having been, "...designed to impugn a man without having to go the the trouble or proving actual facts." "Or" is probably a typo for "of." I suppose it's hard to hit the right key in a fit of partisan rage. "Proving actual facts" is precisely the work of an Investigative Committee. It's why they have subpoena power and why witnesses testify under oath. Separation of Powers has created a certain tension between the Executive and Legislative Branches over this from the very first hearing, but a remarkable number
of high-ranking former members of the Trump Administration have dodged the Committee, refused to appear (often citing Executive Privilege), or taken the Fifth Amendment, even over questions as innocuous as "Do you believe in the peaceful transfer of power?"
If there's impugning going on, look to Mr. Trump's own Cabinet and staff, who are doing his reputation no favors by their behavior (including asking for Presidential pardons in the days after 6 January 2021). The Committee is, after all, just asking questions. I'm sure they'd welcome sworn testimony from Mr. Trump himself, who has yet to offer any.
Going into the hearings, I had expected Donald Trump's role to have been no more than a demagogue, heedless of the damage his words might cause and largely indifferent to the riot and attempted insurrection once it was underway. The facts -- sworn testimony, timeline, actual video and audio recordings -- are much darker, revealing a raging, emotionally-weak man unable to admit defeat despite honest counsel and willing to resort to violent, lawless means to retain power.
It is no surprise to me that such a man has attracted to his defense blustering bullies who threaten old women. Men like "Chris Adams," who I hereby invite to go piss up a rope._________________________* The first time was in August, 1814, when the British took Washington, D.C. for their King. They set Federal buildings on fire rather than try to keep it.