It hardly needs to be said that what’s going on surrounding the one-year anniversary of the January 6, 2021 riot at the U.S. Capitol is an idiotic, dangerous farce. But for recent events, nothing else needed to be said about this week than what our publisher Melissa Mackenzie wrote about the anniversary and Nancy Pelosi’s attempts to politicize it…
Dana Bash interviewed Rep. Bennie Thompson Sunday, January 2nd, about the implications for their investigation. Thompson asserted to Bash that the insurrection was “not a comedy of errors.” It was planned, he believes, and he’s investigating the plan, the conspiracy to attack the Capitol.
Thompson’s uncomfortable comment as Bash pressed him may not sound like a big deal but it is. The select committee is on dangerous constitutional ground and Thompson knows it. They are not a criminal investigative body. Rep. Thompson just asserted that the select committee was investigating crimes — investigating a conspiracy.
How will the Supreme Court respond to this? There is Trump’s case before their court. There are cases before Federal courts arguing that this is the problem with the select committee: it’s acting as detectives and prosecutors (and they are, in fact, using former federal prosecutors to question witnesses) to build criminal cases. This is unconstitutional. This needs to be stopped.
The only purpose a committee such as this serves is to write better legislation for the future. Nancy Pelosi’s select committee is not interested in Capitol security or, apparently, legislating. She’s interested in proving a criminal conspiracy to form an insurrection. The idea itself is absurd. But more than that, it’s unconstitutional for Congress to be used in this way. It’s not their job. Democrats don’t care, though. By any means necessary. They proved their corruption with the Russia-collusion hoax. Hoaxes work and if Democrats and Never Trumpers can create another hoax narrative, they will.
Hopefully, Leader McCarthy now knows that up close and personal. Maybe he’ll get it in gear and stop the machinations of this political trial in search of witches to burn.
Then along came Sen. Ted Cruz, questioning the chief of the Capitol Police, Tom Manger, during a Senate Rules Committee oversight hearing on Wednesday.
There’s an old saw which has it that “everything before the ‘but’ is bulls–t.” That probably applies to Cruz’s questioning of Manger, which makes for some small excuse to the senator who has more than paid his dues as a populist conservative on Capitol Hill.
But not a large excuse. Because even though it was “before the but,” Cruz swung and missed at the times in his opening statement to Manger…
We are approaching a solemn anniversary this week, and it is an anniversary of a violent terrorist attack on the Capitol where we saw the men and women of law enforcement demonstrate incredible courage, incredible bravery, risked their lives to defend the men and women who serve in this Capitol.
Cruz then went on to decry anyone who assaults a cop and suggests such people deserve long jail sentences.
And he then queried Manger for several minutes about the Capitol Police’s lack of preparation for Jan. 6.
Here’s the entire exchange…
As you can see, what’s at play here is an attempt to have a respectful but productive dialogue about security at the U.S. Capitol, something nobody should get bent out of shape about, and Cruz is attempting to set the stage for that with Manger by placing himself in the camp opposed to the knuckleheads battling it out with cops under the Capitol rotunda.
But Ted Cruz has to be a whole lot smarter than this.
Because what happened at the Capitol on Jan. 6 was not a “violent terrorist attack.” It was a protest which got out of hand, for whatever reason (whether pushed that way by agents provocateurs under the employ of the feds or others, for example), and turned into a small riot.
For Ted Cruz to call it such feeds into the narrative Melissa correctly identified on Monday, to no viable purpose. It’s a stupid mistake on Cruz’s part, and he has rightly been pilloried for it.
“The minute you call it a ‘violent terrorist attack on the capitol,’ you lose most of your standing when complaining about the DOJ, Dems and Media because they have diff views than you how to handle a ‘violent terrorist attack on the capitol,'” said Twitter commentator Yossi Gestetner. “Cruz accepts the narrative that lawmakers were about to be lynched despite the fact that many hundreds calmly walked in the Capitol taking selfies and not moving rope lines. It was mostly calm where PD was not at hand. Bloodthirsty terrorists leaving things mostly neat? Haha.
“It’s very possible that Ted Cruz used this language to help bury Trump for 2024 since @tedcruz sees himself as next in line for the nomination.”
Is the accusation that all of this is about trying to kneecap Trump in advance of 2024 legitimate?
If so, it’s misplaced and counterproductive. And having been through this once already, Cruz should know better.
You are not going to displace Donald Trump as the leader of the new populist conservative Right. If Trump is to be replaced that will only happen organically. Attempts to actively replace him — especially using Jan. 6 as a tool to do so — will only get you branded, rightly or not, as an establishment RINO. Cruz is probably still shellshocked six years on at the fact despite having built a nearly pristine record as a conservative iconoclast within the GOP he’s still being tarred as a tool of Goldman Sachs and a functionary of the establishment by some in the MAGA crowd.
Cruz absolutely cannot fix that perception by calling the Jan. 6 protesters “terrorists.” It’s bad form when so many of those protesters are languishing in Washington’s version of the Chateau d’If prison from The Count of Monte Cristo — and not on charges of assaulting cops but for trespassing — a year on with neither bail nor trial on their horizons.
In nearly every single case of Jan. 6 imprisonment it would be more than reasonable if the lot of them were discharged for time served for whatever offenses they might be adjudged guilty. Were this ruling regime confident in its legitimacy, there would be attempts at clemency for the more sympathetic of the Jan. 6 prisoners. Instead, the stench of the response, and that of Cruz’s comments, only offends the nostrils more and more.
The public was lied to about the death of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick by the very people whose talking points about “terrorism” Ted Cruz is parroting. Evidence is beginning to mount that several other protesters who died that day were affected, perhaps fatally, by aggressive tactics used by law enforcement after the protest became unruly — and in fact, the protest turned violent only after those aggressive tactics were employed.
Which would indicate where the real terrorism came from.
And that doesn’t begin to address the question of the agents provocateur who were clearly embedded in the crowd. Why hasn’t Ray Epps, who is obviously a federal agent, been charged and imprisoned, after all? Epps is on video multiple times inciting protesters to go into the Capitol.
Most people who get their news from the legacy corporate media which has spun the “terrorism” angle Cruz acceded to have no idea who Ray Epps is.
Ted Cruz should know, though. Particularly if he wants to lead this populist conservative movement which it is very reasonable to conclude was not very well served by Trump on Jan. 6, 2021 when the latter marched those protesters into a trap.
A year ago, this column saw pretty clearly what the Jan. 6 protests became…
Whether somebody co-opted the protest or not, it’s awfully suspicious that such a thin line of security existed between Congress and the crowd. January 6th had been circled on the calendar for weeks as the date of a vigorous conservative protest in Washington; how the Capitol wasn’t a fortress with several lines of defense as it has repeatedly been for previous mass protests is more than a little peculiar.
Again, cui bono?
The protesters breached the Capitol and shut down a debate Republicans were winning just before the whole country got to see not just evidence of voter fraud but more importantly, evidence of lawbreaking by elections officials. While the fraud is important, it’s the failure to follow elections law which constitutionally invalidates the certification of the electors, and it’s the failure to follow elections law which (1) can be remedied in the future and (2) if fixed, will eliminate the kind of fraud we all think cost Trump his re-election.
And that breach was far, far too easy.
It didn’t happen when Congress was passing Obamacare, which was a devastating blow to the republic. Why did it happen Wednesday?
I’ll say it: I think a trap was laid. I think the Democrat leadership wanted exactly what they got at the Capitol. I think the security was lax so that something disruptive would happen and the national discussion about election mismanagement and fraud being had in that building, which the Democrat Party is wholly responsible for necessitating, would be washed out of the public’s consciousness.
Even worse, that the discussion itself would be discredited.
And Trump and his supporters fell right into that trap.
Trump did himself no favors inviting that crowd to march on the Capitol. They were going to do it anyway. They all knew why they were there on that day. By making the invitation Trump owned everything that was going to happen, even if it was driven by Antifa agents provocateur.
Now, deservedly or not — I would say undeservedly, but it really doesn’t matter — the entire MAGA movement bears the stink of what happened at the Capitol.
That stink makes it harder to grow the movement. MAGA alone isn’t enough. It wasn’t enough to save Trump in November. It wasn’t even enough to stop the Democrats in Georgia on Tuesday. MAGA has to grow. It has to convert those squishy Republicans and independents out there to its cause, which is doable given what an unfettered Biden administration will do over the next two to four years; and it has to build on the inroads it has made in the black, Asian and Hispanic communities. It has to become a majority movement, and it has to ultimately even bring the NeverTrumpers into the fold — not by giving them control over the GOP again, but by convincing them to stop being enemies.
It was bad enough when the entire MAGA movement fell into the Jan. 6 trap. It’s even worse that Cruz would march himself into the same narrative trap at a time when Nancy Pelosi and her happy gang of thugs are busily trying to criminalize dissent over the 2020 election.
The movement has to be better than this. Its leaders particularly have to be better than this.
I’d like to defend Cruz. I’ve happily defended him in the past. Not this time. He stepped in it, and he needs to learn from that mistake and never make it again.