Bits n’ pieces from east, west and beyond
| July 29, 2022 7:00 AM
East, west or beyond, sooner or later events elsewhere may have a local impact.
A recent sampling: Nine Senate Republicans and six Democrats are tightening up the 135-year-old Electoral Count Act, a response to the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol that sought to undo the voters’ choice via exploiting the existing electoral count laws.
Goal of the legislation is to foster a peaceful presidential transition, The New York Times said. A vote on the new ECA is expected later this year.
It’s not over ‘til it’s over: The Jan. 6 House Committee hearings are not over, as once predicted. More information about that day’s rioting is pouring in and more hearings are planned for September.
Committee member Rep. Liz Cheney, a Republican, told July 21 watchers, “Doors have opened, new subpoenas have been issued, and the dam has begun to break.”
Highlights from that hearing (from various sources), which focused on the 187 minutes between then-President Donald Trump’s pre-riot speech and when he was finally convinced to tell the rioters to go home: Within 15 minutes of that pre-riot speech, when he urged an angry armed mob to march on the Capitol, Trump was informed that the Capitol was under attack. (Historian Heather Cox Richardson said she still wonders why Secret Service agents, who knew weapons were near the president, didn’t “lock the place down.”)
Rather than call the appropriate officials to quell the violence, from the White House Trump watched it unfold on Fox News. (Trump had wanted to walk to the Capitol with the crowd that became rioters, but according to testimony from an unnamed official, played at the hearing, there was awareness that Trump’s presence would immediately turn the event into an insurrection and a coup - it would no longer be a rally.)
During the 187 minutes no official White House records were kept. The White House photographer was not allowed to take pictures. Witnesses said advisors, Congressional members, media people and family members begged Trump to call off the mob.
Trump chose not to act on their pleas; instead of calling others about restoring order, he tried to urge senators to slow down counting of electoral votes. At 2:24 p.m. he tweeted that the Vice President was a coward (for not reversing the election results). Escalation of violence followed.
As a result Pence was evacuated to a safer location at 2:26 p.m. Pence was within 40 feet of the rioters, and his Secret Service agents were so alarmed about dying that they were calling their families to say goodbye. (The House Committee previously subpoenaed the Secret Service for all Jan. 5 and 6 text communications, which the agency claimed had been “wiped.”
They had only one to share. That has become a hearing side mess, with some Secret Service agents hiring their own attorneys. Because of the 2:24
p.m. tweet staunch Trump supporters, his deputy national security advisor and deputy press secretary, resigned.
At 2:38 p.m., per urgings from his advisors, Trump tweeted a plea to the rioters to support law enforcement. Rioters noticed he did not say to respect lawmakers. At that point, gas-masked lawmakers were hiding in the House chambers.
The battle continued until 4:17 p.m. when Trump released a short video that said the election had been a landslide for him, but “go home, we love you, you’re very special.”
The House Committee contrasted Trump’s behavior to that of Senate leaders (one Republican, one Democrat) who were determined to go forward with the
electoral vote process after the violence had subsided.
A segment of the hearings that provided levity involved Republican Sen. Josh Hawley, who was shown raising a solidarity fist with the rioters the morning of Jan. 6, then running away from them “at top speed” when the rioters broke into the Capitol.
At 6:01 p.m., when things were far less fractious, Trump tweeted that the attackers were “great patriots.” The House Committee established that it was
not until the next day, when Trump realized there would be prosecutions, that he issued a video statement saying he was “outraged by the violence.” Nine deaths have been linked to the Jan. 6 riot, which includes officers who
later committed suicide. Close to 900 rioters have been charged; some of those charges include seditious conspiracy.
As to charges against Trump, that’s up to the Justice Department.
Will the Jan. 6 House Committee explore Big Money connections to the attempted coup? Since the riot, corporations have donated $21.5 million to Republican members who aligned with or outright sided with those attempting to overthrow the electoral vote, The Hill reports.
Blast from the past, a bit of deja vu: In 1933, wealthy businessmen, the Ku Klux Klan and the American Liberty League joined forces to launch a fascist coup against President Franklin D. Roosevelt, champion of the un-rich.
They aimed to get the highly regarded retired General Smedley Butler to lead 500,000 right-wing World War I veterans to the Capitol for a total takeover. Butler was offered what would be $6.8 billion today. Those backing that amount included JP Morgan, a DuPont, and CEOs at General Motors, Birdseye and General Foods.
When recruited, the General was appalled, but played along so he could gather information, which was turned over to authorities. The plan, also called “The Wall Street Putsch,” was derailed.
Extensive details are found in the intriguing book “The Plot to Seize the White House, the Shocking True Story of the Conspiracy to Overthrow FDR.”