Last night, the House Select Committee investigating Trump and Co.'s attempted coup held its first hearing. It aimed to educate. It did that in spades. Jennifer Rubin writes:
The challenge for the committee is to tell a coherent story of the entire plot and to dispel the myth that the coup attempt was only about the Capitol assault. The committee has so far succeeded. Its initial telling of the far-flung plot — peppered with new, damning tidbits of Trump’s willful pursuit of power — was breathtaking.
And make no mistake. They're taking direct aim at Trump:
If Trump is ever to be held criminally accountable for the coup attempt, prosecutors will have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he knew what he was doing was wrong and unjustified. Here, the committee demonstrated there may be ample evidence of that.
Trump was repeatedly told his claims of voter fraud were bogus. New video of former attorney general William P. Barr’s testimony to the committee showed that he told Trump his fraud claims were “bulls--t” and “complete nonsense.” In addition, a sample of testimony from other Trump officials showed claims of fraud were repeatedly debunked and ridiculed. Justice Department officials and the White House counsel threatened to quit if Trump persisted in deploying the lie to retain power. Officials told Trump it was illegal to pressure former vice president Mike Pence to throw the election to him.
Other anecdotes solidified the image of a president fixated on remaining in power. Trump reportedly declared of calls to hang Pence: “Maybe our supporters have the right idea. Mike Pence deserves it.” Cheney’s retelling was bone-chilling — an indication of a dangerous character bent on overthrowing an election.
It was Pence who gave the orders that day to get the National Guard to the capital, while Trump sat in the dining room watching TV and enjoying the show. But most riveting was the video of the violence from that day. Trump claimed that there was "love" in that crowd. The video shows that these thugs had murder on their minds:
Seeing new video, and hearing audio of desperate police describing the attack, was nothing short of terrifying. The cruelty and lawlessness of the mob are indisputable. Trump’s words insisting that “love was in the air” was a powerful reminder of his capacity to lie.
Testimony from Capitol Police Officer Carolyn Edwards, who was abused and injured on that day, made clear that no reasonable person could doubt the crowd’s viciousness and anger. Filmmaker Nick Quested testified that the mob appeared well organized. This was no spontaneous uprising.
It was a good beginning. Let's hope the rest of the hearings are as equally instructive.
Image: The Washington Post