Jan 6: When is a blockbuster not a blockbuster?
The answer to the headline question is any time politicians report something as a blockbuster. And boy, was that true of the Pelosi Select Committee’s presentation of former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson.
This was Hollywood at its best (or worst?). Big build up. Coming attraction teasers. Last minute leaked information. And the promise that this movie is going to be big, BIG Big. The left-wing media outlets gave it more free pre-opening promo than they did for “Top Gun.”
Even FOX News got suckered into putting this super hyped session on gavel-to-gavel coverage – although I am pleased that they did. It is important that people actually saw the performance instead of relying on after-the-fact spin by a very biased media.
My one take away was that should Trump or any of his top aides wind up in court, Hutchinson will not be one of the prime witnesses. In a real court — where there is a rule-of-law and rules-of-evidence — she would be a disaster. Much of what she testified to as factually accurate was hearsay – totally inadmissible in a court-of-law. That did not prevent the left-wing newsies taking up her statements as if they were proven facts.
The most damage to her testimony was when she related what had allegedly occurred in the presidential limousine when President Trump wanted to make an appearance on Capitol Hill. When told by the Secret Service that they were heading back to the White House, Hutchinson testified that Trump became irate, grabbed the steering wheel and assaulted the driver.
Three individuals with direct knowledge of the event at that time have come forward to say the Hutchinson report was untrue – both as to what occurred in the limousine and what she alleges she was told. They all have offered to appear before the Committee under oath.
The real shocking part of that testimony is that when Hutchinson first reported her version of the events during a deposition, the Committee never contacted the others involved to corroborate Hutchinson’s story. Instead, they put her on the stand claiming that her unverified testimony was a blockbuster. That is a prime example of the problem with one-side tribunal.
They did not want her testimony refuted. Maybe the Committee had hoped that the others would not come forward – would not be willing to appear under oath.
That part of Hutchinson’s statements to the Committee alone casts doubt on the veracity of her entire testimony – especially when you consider that her entire testimony was her words without any supportive evidence in any case.
Most of Hutchinson’s testimony was rather insignificant in developing a criminal case – dealing mostly with bad behavior. Did Trump get angry in the limousine? Did he throw food against the wall in the White House when he learned that Attorney General William Barr publicly said there was no major election fraud? Those are all temperament traits. Good God … everyone knows that Trump has a pugnacious personality. Other Presidents have had temper tantrums – Lyndon Johnson was famous for them. George W. Bush was said to have gone off on a rage when the Secret Service would not return Air Force One to Washington on 9/11.
I would never defend Trump’s behavior, but what Hutchinson was reporting is a big nothing in terms of making a criminal case against the former President.
The most significant portion of her testimony was what she claims Trump demanded that the magnetometers put in place to check for weapons be removed so more people to be inside the perimeter to hear his speech.. Trump did not feel threatened by the crowd – noting that that they were not there to kill him.
The Committee stretched this information to mean that Trump wanted the rioter to have guns. They even stated that this is evidence that Trump wanted the rioters to kill Vice President Pence. That accusation will never hold up in a court-of-law.
The fact that virtually none of the protestors on Capitol Hill had guns – and the fact that Trump authorized the National Guard to protect the Capitol Building – suggests that Trump did not want the riot that took place. At least it is an arguable defense.
The Committee also showed what they said were messages that suggest witness tampering. They said things like “We know when you appear before the committee, you will say the right things,” “we know you are a team player.” The Committee, however, refused to reveal who had received such a calls – and who the callers were. This is what inquisitions do – not fair-minded congressional committee.
Take out the hearsay … take out the unsubstantiated claims … take out compromised evidence … and what do you have? Not much – nothing that will not be tossed out in a court-of-law.
What we know of Trump’s behavior on that day, we can say it was reprehensible in many ways, but the Committee is a long way from establishing criminality – and Hutchinson’s testimony was more of a dud than a blockbuster.
Democrats, their media allies, and the Committee really oversold this session in support of their case-for-the-prosecution – and they are still spinning the blockbuster narrative.
As a footnote, I would say that I do not have an inordinate interest in what happens to Trump or his aides. If they have committed crimes beyond a reasonable doubt, I think justice should apply. What does bother me a lot is how Democrats and the media cronies have attempted to use Trump to smear and malign the entire Republican Party as a campaign strategy to avoid losses in the November midterm elections. It is more about politics than justice.
So, There ‘tis