Pelosi’s Select Committee is a dog that won’t hunt
I could say that my anticipatory commentary was spot on. But modesty and discretion require that I not proclaim “I told you so” until the Pelosi’s production is over – at least this phase. Remember … this is only an interim report offered up to impact on the 2022 midterms elections. You will see more of this show until after the November election. In fact, it will be the second-longest bogus political narrative – right behind the Russian conspiracy accusations that run for several years until Special Counsel Robert Mueller debunk it.
My overall reaction to the primetime opening of the Democrats so-called public hearings is … zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. They were actually less impressive than I anticipated – and my expectations were not very high.
The first problem is that there was nothing new. We actually got to see snippets of the depositions of folks like former Attorney General William Barr, Ivanka Trump, and others saying that Trump was told he lost the election, but their testimony was reported widely previously.
Yes, there was unseen footage of the riot, but it was basically no different than the footage we have seen thousands and thousands of times in the past year and a half. It was a difference without a distinction.
The opening remarks by Chairman Bennie Thompson were sanctimonious, pompous, and self-praising – and too long in terms of content. Vice Chairman Liz Cheney was equally self-praising by separating herself from other Republicans, using the broad brush of slander to accuse them of being dishonorable.
Cheney was given the task of presenting what has been widely described in post-session reports as the opening statement of the prosecution. That was my pre-session point. This Select Committee was never undertaking a fair inquire, but rather pursuing a one-sided prosecution – and the opening session proved it.
Keep in mind that in America truth can only be determined and justice can only be served when both sides present their perspectives … their witnesses … their cross-examinations. A one-sided case is automatically unfair, uninformative – and unAmerican. It is partisan propaganda by definition.
A couple of analysts on CNN agreed with my assessment. They made note of the fact that the Committee provided no opportunity for an essential counter argument. There was no opportunity for the “other side” to call witnesses or present hard evidence. There was no opportunity to cross examine witnesses.
Not only did the Committee show only carefully selected snippets of hours of taped depositions, but … ponder this .. they refused to release the entire depositions. A prosecutor doing that in a court-of-law would be punished – could even lose his law license. It is called “withholding evidence.”
Even as the Committee claimed to be defending American democracy, they were abusing it – literally nullifying basic constitutional protections that would apply if this was not solely a partisan political process. If the Committee had irrefutable evidence and no exculpating evidence, they would not have needed to block the testimony of others and the cross examination by those proffering a defensive case. That is why I called it a “kangaroo Committee – and that is why it should be given no credibility.
For example, the prosecutorial Committee claimed that President Trump knew and believed that he lost the election – but that claim was never proven because there are counter arguments that have been reported to suggest that he truly believed the election was stolen. That is the most critical point for a real indictment.
He was told that by many people – none of whom were presented – that the election was stolen. And there was evidence of some vote fraud to be seen – although not sufficient to overturn the election as it turned out. Critically, that is key to any future prosecutions of Trump. If he can credibly show that he truly believed the election was stolen – that he had been so advised — there are no legal grounds for prosecution. That why so many – even on the left — believe that Trump will not be charged and prosecute by the Justice Department.
They can claim that Trump committed crimes on television, but even they are uncertain if it is sufficient to prevail in a real court-of-law, where the defense has constitutional rights and there are rules-of-evidence and where the prosecution must make its case beyond a reasonable doubt.
That is why Ivanka Trump should have been asked if she believed that her father really believed the election was stolen or whether she was aware of him receiving such information from others. That is a critical question that the Committee prevented from being asked – from being explored.
The Committee staged a highly emotional argument that Capitol Hill Officer Brian Sicknick died as a result of his participation in the riot. There were camera shots of the crying mother and later interviews with the brothers. Early on, the news media claimed that Sicknick was struck with a fire extinguisher. Video of the action and an official autopsy disproved that claim. The media then claimed that it was a consequence of being sprayed with protective bear spray – then pepper spray. Again, the video and the medical examiner’s report debunked those claims.
According to the official autopsy report, Sicknick died of “natural causes” – in his case a post-event serious of strokes. The medical examiner has never been interviewed or allowed to testify. Imagine that … they continue to proffer a false claim of the cause of death, just as they claim an officer who later died from suicide, was killed as a result of the riot. And again, the latter’s grieving mother was essentially put on the stand by focusing her on camera in the audience. Those is all the methods and manners of propagandists – forget the facts and play to the emotions.
The prosecutorial opening remarks presented by Cheney never dealt with the question as to why the Capital Building was left so poorly guarded at a time when intelligence reports were predicting potential violence. Why did both Speaker Pelosi and District Mayor Muriel Bowser reject hardening the target? It is arguable that so many of the Capitol Hill police were injured because they were insufficient in numbers and insufficient equipment to handle the crowd. It was a little like Benghazi, where pleas for help were ignored and rejected at a higher level. Even worse than Benghazi because of all the forewarnings.
Both Pelosi and Bowser bear legal responsibility for protecting the Capitol Building and those who work or visit the historic structure. And yet, they were never on the witness list.
The two witnesses for the prosecution were not key. The testimony of Capitol Hill Officer Caroline Edwards, elicits sympathy – as one would feel for any police officer attacked by an angry mob. That is the same feeling I have for all those police attacked by angry and violent rioters in major cities over the past half century. Folks on both sides agree that the rioters on Capitol Hill should be punished, but only one side feels the same about the rioters that attacked the most common of the common folks in their homes and businesses.
Photojournalist Nick Quested was embedded with the Proud Boys. He tracked the movements and their statements. The implication is that the Proud Boys were engaged in long-range planning to violently attack the Capitol Building in an effort to stop the counting of ballots AND to overthrow the government by force. Virtually every peaceful demonstrator and protestor on Capitol Hill that day wanted the count to be stopped under the banner “stop the steal.” To suggest that even the Proud Boys intended an actual coup to not only stop the certification but to disband the Congress and install Trump as el presidente is utter nonsense. I mean … who attempts a coup without some guns?
There are three central issues that the prosecution is proffering; that Trump lost the election fair and square and he knew it; that the actions on Capitol Hill were an attempted coup; and that the attempt to seize control of the government by force and chicanery is ongoing –threatening the legitimacy of the 2022 and 2024 elections.
I have repeatedly opined that Trump should stop whining about the 2020 election. If he is going to run again, he should focus on providing his vision of a Trump in America’s future. If he is not, he should just shut up about 2020. I have already stated my intention to NOT vote for Trump if he decides to run in 2024– just as I did not vote for him in the 2016 Republican primary. I am of the opinion that he will not run. If he does, I do not believe he will win the nomination for reasons I articulated in previous commentaries.
Trump’s fate in terms of criminality has nothing – as in nothing – to do with the deliberations or the trumped-up charges by the politically motivated and biased Select Committee. That is all up to the Department of Justice … period.
In fact, in terms of Trump’s legal culpability, there was no need for the Select Committee. As one formal federal prosecutor put it, the DOJ has a lot more authority and resources – including the FBI – to investigate any criminality by Trump and others – and they are doing just that. The Select Committee is merely a political side-show – a kangaroo Committee in the court-of-public-opinion. It is a political vehicle with a partisan purpose that has more to do with the future election than the past election.
Yes, the highly promoted presentation by the Committee is good theater – but that is all it is. A docudrama based on as much fiction as fact. We have seen this movie before. Despite the hopes and best efforts of Democrats and their media allies, this political production is not going to be a gamechanger in terms of the midterm elections.
So, there ‘tis.