Fun Facts for the “controversial” January 6 Commission

Because, I perhaps foolishly, still believe that the facts are important for any intelligent discussion or debate, I’m going to try to pull together any publicly available information I find that could help the, eh, controversial January 6 Commission that Congressional Republicans are so dead set against, because, you know, the recent Party of Trump attempt to subvert democracy and forcefully impose a one-party cult of personality government is over.

It might be a different story, of course, if Trump was still insisting the 2020 election had been stolen from him, or if his party was changing election laws in numerous states to impose new hurdles to voters towards continued minority rule, or criminalizing many instances of the right of assembly, redefining “riot” to make a felony of various exercises of the first Amendment Right of Americans to peacefully dissent without infringement by the government.

So, according to reasonable Republican legislators there’s really no point, you see, in allowing nosy, partisan investigators in to look into the lead-up and execution of the MAGA riot that resulted in a violent breach of the Capitol, though admittedly 140 police officers were injured defending the Capitol and five died, of natural causes (trampling, heart attack and so on) in the course of the March for Trump that got a little too exuberant.

Even on January 6th (as the reporting below shows) we had a wealth of information about the lead up to the riot, the urging by Trump for patriots to attend the Stop the Steal rally, and the fiery speeches immediately before that incited the riot. We saw much of the violence on television, on January 6 and the days that followed. Much of the violence was so ugly and upsetting that YouTube requires viewers to swear they are adults before they can view it online.

The January 6 Commission would answer tricky questions like why federal forces were not immediately called in by Trump appointees to stop the riot, particularly once the mob attacked police, breached security and was inside the Capitol.

The riot, everyone knows, was set into motion by the constantly repeated Trump lie about massive voter fraud (he made the same claim when he won in 2016), and the infuriating idea that radical Democrats had stolen the presidency from the exemplar of all that is great in America. Here are two Republicans making their points very succinctly:

Republicans now urge bipartisanship and moving forward, and, for some reason, oppose any investigation into how close we came to a mass casualty event during the insurrection of January 6, 2021. As the recent Vice News video history of the riot shows, the pro-Trump crowd outside the Capitol as rioters overran police was HUGE. If all, or even 25% of them, had been hopped up enough to invade the Capitol, is it unlikely that Pence or Pelosi would have escaped alive. The riot would have likely killed many, many more.

The striking thing is how much solid information about this insurrection was out there in public, before, during and immediately after the MAGA riot. The second striking thing is how effective right wing propaganda has been since the riot in minimizing the seriousness of the far-right’s violent assault on democracy.

NOTE: all facts and quotations in this post are from January 3 and January 5, 2021 reporting from WUSA9, the Washington, D.C. CBS affiliate. I also refer you to two other reports, from right after the riot on January 6:

Highlights and analysis: Trump commits to ‘orderly transition’ after mob storms Capitol: Lawmakers were evacuated during the counting of Electoral College votes after supporters descended on the Capitol at Trump’s urging.

source

and:

Trump Told Crowd ‘You Will Never Take Back Our Country With Weakness’: As Congress prepared to certify the victory of his successor, President Trump railed against the election and helped set in motion hours of violence.

source

The facts that follow are from WUSA9’s January 5 article, the opinionated asides are, of course, my own.

The WUSA9’s headline the night before Trump’s “Stop the Steal Rally” read:

Here’s everything you need to know about the ‘March For Trump’ rally

source

This struck me, in light of the criminalization of First Amendment assembly (punishable as a felony with a 15 year prison sentence) enacted by Florida, and ready to be signed into law in other states:

Restricted vehicular traffic only allowed in the First Amendment Activity Zone for the January 6 ‘March for Trump’ rally

Presumably the organizers of the rally didn’t want any kind of Heather Heyer situation with people angrily driving cars into pro-Trump demonstrators, as is now permissible under several Republican state “anti-terrorism” laws, like Florida’s, that immunize drivers against presumably justifiable road rage (against demonstrators who are not white patriots).

The ‘March for Trump’ rally will not officially be a march for Trump

We kept hearing about the permit that Women for American Autocracy obtained for the march to the Capitol, making it perfectly legal. Here are a few details for the January 6 Commission to look into:

The March For Trump rally organized by the conservative women group, Women For America First, on Wednesday, Jan. 6 on the Ellipse Grounds is projecting about 5,000 Trump supporters to make their way to the nation’s capital…

The March For Trump rally will not be an organized march from the Ellipse, according to the permit approved by the Department of Interior. The organization stated in the permit that some participants may leave their rally to attend other rallies at the United States Capitol to hear the results of Congressional certification of the Electoral College count.

*Note: In accordance with the event permit approved and released by the Department of Interior, this event is not a march from the location of the rally.

source

As was openly and honestly stated in the permit that “some participants may leave their rally to attend OTHER rallies at the United States Capitol” such as the heavily armed (though not ‘fire-armed’) riot, for example.

We also note, surprisingly, that permission on the Public Gathering Permit for the First Amendment Rally at the Ellipse extended from 6:30 a.m. Saturday January 2 to 8 pm Friday, January 8th (see graphic below). Hell of a First Amendment Rally there, Brownie!

The President will address the March for Trump rally

The president tweeted Tuesday evening that he would be speaking at the Save America Rally on the Ellipse at 11 a.m.

Several pre-event rallies took place Tuesday, and DC Police said two arrests were made during the first day of demonstrations (as of the afternoon). Charges included carrying a pistol and rifle without a license, possession of high capacity feeding device, unregistered ammunition and firearms, no permit while driving an unauthorized van and possession of illegal fireworks  

Attendees rallying on Wednesday are holding the first amendment rally, “to demand transparency and protect election integrity” on the same day Congress is set to officially approve the 2020 election results. This event comes after President Trump warned via Twitter that there would be a “very big” and “wild” protest on Jan. 6 after he refuses to concede due to unfounded allegations of election fraud. 

I will be speaking at the SAVE AMERICA RALLY tomorrow on the Ellipse at 11AM Eastern. Arrive early — doors open at 7AM Eastern. BIG CROWDS! pic.twitter.com/k4blXESc0c

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 5, 2021

One of the former president’s last tweets before being permanently banned from the social media platform. His long, inspired speech to the fired up crowd on January 6 is worth a close read/listen by the January 6 Commission. He used the word “peace” once, proving he never meant to incite anything other than peace when he used the words “fight,” “fight like hell,” “stolen from you,” and “bullshit [election]” to great cheers from the crowd.

The president, in advertising the January 6 ‘March for Trump’ had tweeted “Be there, will be wild.” [1] For once Mr. Trump was telling the truth.

Speakers advertised for the Ellipse rally prior to the unofficial ‘March for Trump’ included Roger Stone and Diamond and Silk

Stone, architect of the 2000 “Brooks Brothers Riot” in Florida during the Bush/Gore recount, pardoned by Trump for felonies including lying to Mueller’s investigators, was apparently already down by the Capitol on January 6, with a contingent of Proud Boy Oath Keeper Bugaloos who provided personal security for the convicted felon and self-proclaimed “Political Dirty Trickster”. Members of the white supremacist militia who were Stone’s body guards in DC on January 5th and 6th are under indictment for violent actions during the MAGA riot.

Speakers at the Ellipse for the “March for Trump” rally (what I was originally looking for when I found the WUSA9 piece):

Congressman Mo Brooks (R-Alabama), 25 year-old Madison Cawthorn (R- N. Carolina), Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, campaign fundraiser/Don’s girlfriend Kimberly “The best … is … YET… to COME!!!” Guilfoyle and Eric’s wife, Lara, former campaign adviser Katrina Pierson; personal lawyer Rudy “Trial By Combat” Giuliani; “Women for America First” head Amy Kremer; law professor and conspiracy theorist John Eastman; former Georgia state Rep. Vernon Jones, who announced from the stage that he was becoming a Republican. and, the star of the show, Donald John Trump himself. source

Pardoned felons Mike “Lock her UP!” Flynn and Roger “I never met Paul Manafort” Stone, as far as I recall, gave stirring speeches to whip up the crowd at a rally the night before the ‘March for Trump’ that was not, officially, a march.

D.C. Police were on alert, and sought National Guard assistance for January 6, 2021 in expectation of further violence.

MPD reached out to D.C. National Guard to assist D.C. officers with crowd management and traffic control, MPD Police Chief Contee said during a Monday news conference. He said this will allow District officers to focus on individuals that may instigate or agitate violence in the city.

Firearms will not be allowed in the city, Contee said. The department has already posted signs across the city.

RELATED: DC prepares for Pro-Trump rallies, MPD places new signs reminding people no guns allowed at protests

“We will not allow people to incite violence or intimidate our residence and cause destruction in our city. We are asking residents to avoid confrontations with people that may incite a fight,” Mayor Muriel Bowser said. “So we are asking people to avoid the areas.”

As a smirking Roger Stone might quip “I got your non-States’ Rights right here, Muriel Bowser”. Because D.C. is not a state, it had no authority to mobilize the D.C. National Guard. The March for Trump rioters attacked and overran the Capitol Police, broke into the Capitol and the MAGA riot raged unchecked by federal authorities for more than three hours.

The long delay of the National Guard’s intervention, after the riot was raging, was recently pooh-poohed by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Milley who concluded there was nothing deliberate about the three hour delay in mobilizing troops that were waiting less than 20 minutes away from the Capitol. The January 6 Commission should make the general repeat his credulity-straining claim under oath, and back it up with some kind of factual basis for his “opinion”.

As rioters ran amok inside, after the breach and before federal intervention, as bands roamed the halls of the Capitol taunting those they threatened to execute, frantic calls to Trump from Republicans locked down in the Capitol were not put through to him. The president was reportedly transfixed by the live television feed of the riot, admiring his handiwork. When House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy finally got through to him, eye witnesses say, the following tense exchange took place, as reported by the ultraliberal Rupert Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal:

“He’s getting reports of what is happening. He did not accept people doing this type of the behavior. I know he’s getting reports as well. I wanted to give him a first-hand report,” Mr. McCarthy told Fox News on Jan. 6.

But Mr. Trump initially claimed the protesters were linked to antifa, Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R., Wash.) said in a statement Friday night, referring to the loose network of antiracist, antifascist protesters.

When Mr. McCarthy pushed back, saying that the protesters were Trump supporters, Mr. Trump fired back, “Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are,” Ms. Herrera Beutler said in her statement, recounting the the conversation as described to her by Mr. McCarthy.

The call got heated and at one point, Mr. McCarthy angrily retorted, “Who the f—- do you think you’re talking to?” according to a person familiar with the discussion.

Mr. McCarthy’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In the aftermath of the call, Mr. McCarthy wrestled with whether Mr. Trump was fit for office. He asked some GOP lawmakers whether he should press Mr. Trump to resign, according to someone familiar with the discussions.

One week after the riot, when the House voted to impeach Mr. Trump, Mr. McCarthy said Mr. Trump bore responsibility for the events of Jan. 6.

“The president bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack by mob rioters,” Mr. McCarthy said in a speech on the House floor, although he voted against impeaching [the vindictive, all-powerful party leader].

source

Of course, Trump and McCarthy worked things out a few days later during McCarthy’s visit to Mar-a-largo. McCarthy’s current position is that he and Trump, who he now claims knew nothing about the riot while it was going on — until his call– had a private conversation that is nobody’s business. And, as we continue to hear from Republicans like Ron Johnson from Wisconsin, those rioters probably were antifa, just posing as thousands of Trump supporters. You understand, like the actual outcome of the possibly rigged and jiggered 2020 election, we’ll never know!

As you can plainly see, there is nothing whatsoever to see here.

part of the MAGA crowd as Capitol was being stormed source

If you click on the link above, and scroll to 22:28 in the video, you will be as alarmed (or happily excited, if you love Trump) as I was when a MAGA rally participant, who had climbed a scaffolding outside the Capitol during the breach, panned to show the enormous crowd of Trump supporters who had rallied to “Stop the Steal”. Maybe Trump wasn’t lying when he said there were over 100,000 at the Ellipse and dared the lying media to show the size of the crowd, which I’d read was about 5,000, the number the permit for the First Amendment Rally cited.

Nothing to see here. No reason to investigate anything but Black Lives Matter and the radical left antifa, which is short for anti-fascist– unAmerican! No reason to think this was a serious attempt, by an unhinged maniac, on behalf of his fellow right wing billionaires, to overturn a legitimate high-turnout election by violence and install himself as an authoritarian who would certainly have invoked martial law to settle the matter of who rules this land, once and for all. Nothing to investigate!

Outside of the striking fact that even the pugnaciously partisan Bill Barr tendered his resignation prior to this scheduled, well-planned attempt to violently block the peaceful transfer of power.

Some charitably saw Barr’s resignation as related to Trump finally crossing a moral, ethical and constitutional line by refusing to accept the results of the election that Barr’s DOJ had certified as fair, after repeatedly sowing doubts about the fairness of the election and launching numerous investigations to support that doubt. I saw Barr’s well-timed skitter away from Trump as a strictly practical move to avoid potential prosecution as a key part of a conspiracy to commit insurrection.

The latest polls have the ex-president’s popularity among Republicans at 44%, though 69% believe, for unknown reasons, that the election was stolen from him. Most Republicans, of course, oppose the formation of a January 6 Commission. Why wouldn’t they? Joe Manchin himself probably opposes it. After all, how can you have bipartisan cooperation in the Senate if you accuse the other party of supporting a violent insurrection just because they held things up in the Senate on January 6, calling for a commission to investigate a possibly rigged, stolen election?

America’s greatest winner

[1] WUSA9’s January 3, 2021 reporting begins:

WASHINGTON — Trump supporters are planning a rally on Jan. 6, the same day Congress is set to officially approve the 2020 election results, according to a flyer on the Trump March website.

The organization’s website said they plan to “demand transparency and protect the election integrity” after President Trump warned via Twitter that there would be a “very big” and “wild” protest on Jan. 6 after he refuses to concede due to unfounded allegations of election fraud.

source

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