Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Jonathan Larsen

J6 panel ignored "Christian nationalism"

Just two weeks and one day from the second anniversary of the Jan. 6, 2021, attempt to oust Congress and steal the United States presidency, the select committee investigating those events released its full and final report revealing new information and explaining its unprecedented recommendation that a former U.S. president be prosecuted by the U.S. government.

The committee — seven Democrats and two Republicans — voted unanimously to refer Trump for criminal prosecution on four separate charges, including inciting insurrection, defrauding the American people, and attempting to obstruct Congress in the performance of its duties.

The panel has recommended contempt of Congress charges against former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows and former White House aide Dan Scavino, but DOJ declined to pursue charges against them. The committee reportedly has been sharing its findings for months with the DOJ.

The release of the report came after the panel held its final meeting this week knowing that Republicans will disband it when they take control of the House of Representatives on Jan. 3 of next year.

The 857-page document provided comprehensive details about Trump's actions and those of his allies based on testimony from several dozen witnesses—most of them Republicans—including White House officials, executive branch members, officers of the Republican National Committee, and many right-wing activists.

The two key contentions of the document are, first, that Trump and his closest advisers expected that he would lose his re-election bid and formulated a strategy beforehand to falsely claim victory before mail-in ballots (which were expected to favor Democrats) could be legally counted.

The second contention is that after Joe Biden had defeated Trump, the then-president and his top aides knew that there was no widespread fraud in the election and said as much privately, but decided to pretend otherwise to grassroots supporters in order to raise money and pursue any legal or illegal method to keep Trump in the White House.

"A lot of times [Trump will] tell me that he lost, but he wants to keep fighting it, and he thinks that there might be enough to overturn the election," Meadows said, according to testimony given by his former assistant Cassidy Hutchinson.

As part of his effort to leverage the power of his office to illegally remain president, Trump repeatedly asked Attorney General William Barr, a veteran far-right Catholic legal activist, to help. According to his deposition, Barr declined and told Trump he had seen no evidence of large-scale vote fraud. He did not, however, say as much publicly until weeks after the election.

Trump enlisted the Republican National Committee to make claims it knew to be false in order to support Trump and raise money, most of which would never be spent on lawsuits meant to delay or overturn Joe Biden's victory.

According to testimony of then-RNC staffer Ethan Katz, after the election, he was instructed to write fundraising emails demanding that legal vote counting stop in states in which Trump was ahead and continue in states where Trump was behind. He was also instructed to write a message claiming that Trump had "won" the state of Pennsylvania, before any news organization had made a data-based projection of the Keystone State.

In the two years since the Capitol attack, 964 people have been charged in connection with the attack. The DOJ reports that approximately 470 people have pleaded guilty to federal charges and 41 participants have been convicted. The Oath Keepers founder, Stewart Rhodes, was found guilty of seditious conspiracy, which carries a sentence of up to 20 years.

Details about the campaign to steal the presidency continue to emerge from the committee. Just hours before the report's release today, the Washington Post revealed that witness transcripts include specifics about the finances behind it. Publix heiress Julie Fancelli was prepared to give at least $3 million to individuals and groups backing the Big Lie, including supporting the Jan. 6 rally itself.

Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives soon after inciting the attempt to steal the presidency. Seven Senate Republicans joined the Democratic caucus in voting to convict Trump. The 57 votes to convict were not enough, however, to overcome a potential GOP filibuster.

The impeachment was based almost entirely on what Trump did publicly — on television and on Twitter. The committee's hearings and now its report, however, have revealed a wealth of detail about the false claims that Joe Biden stole the election, Trump and his team pushing state officials to give him their electors, and about organizations including the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers strategizing their actions on Jan. 6.

Five Republican House members, who were originally nominated to the select committee by House Min. Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., but withdrawn subsequently, released their own report earlier this week blaming the Capitol attack on law enforcement shortcomings.

The committee chair, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., reportedly said the committee will continue to release redacted witness transcripts between now and the end of the year.

The panel has not suggested, however, that it needs more time to unearth additional details. Notably, the panel didn't pursue all its legal means to obtain testimony from Trump or former Vice President Mike Pence.

Former Trump aide Steven Bannon was convicted of contempt of Congress for failing to testify and turn over documents. The committee also referred lawyer John Eastman to the Dept. of Justice (DOJ) for prosecution on charges of obstruction of Congress and conspiracy to commit fraud.

After the insurrection, Trump White House attorney Eric Herschmann told Eastman, "Get a great fucking criminal defense attorney, because you're going to need it." Eastman then emailed Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani requesting to be added to a list of potential pardon recipients.

Former Trump advisor, Peter Navarro, has also been indicted by the DOJ on contempt of Congress charges, but his trial has been postponed as of November.

After the executive summary of the report was released on Monday, the committee was criticized by extremism researchers and civil rights advocates for downplaying the ideological motivations behind the attack. The final report proved the critics right, with only 1 mention of the term "Christian nationalism" and 4 usages of the word "racist."

One committee member suggested to TYT that there was internal resistance to grappling with the racist and theocratic pillars of Trump's movement.

"I think it's clear from all the evidence that we advance that the rioters were operating under Donald Trump's big lie propaganda," Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., said. "Now, underneath that, you get to a level of sociological analysis that perhaps the whole committee might not agree upon."

In November, committee vice chair Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., was denounced by current and former staff members of the committee for discarding the work of various teams who had been assigned to focus on extremism, the money behind the protests that led to the Capitol invasion, and failures of law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

As TYT reported last year, MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, perhaps the best known Big Lie crusader, was radicalized both religiously and politically by the secretive Christian group that runs the National Prayer Breakfast. Multiple leaders of The Family, as the group is popularly known, backed the Big Lie and candidates who embraced it, TYT reported.

It is unclear whether the Jan. 6 probe will lead — as its predecessors have — to substantial reform.

Legislation to change the Electoral Count Act, which passed a critical Senate vote as part of an omnibus federal spending bill Thursday evening, is the most noteworthy attempt at reform. Paradoxically, however, that new legislation weakens the power of the vice president and Congress to reject state results — at a time when Trump supporters in multiple states are now in position to submit bogus results.

As Politico reports, few other reforms have hope of passing. Trump, for instance, used the Federal Vacancies Reform Act to plant loyalists throughout the DOJ and intelligence community. Neither the emoluments clause nor presidential pardon power have been revisited to prevent future abuses.

Although U.S. law consistently holds that government officials should be held to higher standards, Republicans haven't been alone in advocating for the opposite when it comes to Trump.

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., told The Hill, "I think it's OK to have a high bar when it comes to bringing charges against former chief executives."

Murphy's Democratic colleagues have noted the potential for violent attacks by Trump supporters, but many of the movement's leaders have been sidelined by legal woes and much of the movement itself appears to be demoralized and dissipating. That's been especially true since last month's elections, in which Trump's influence correlated more visibly with defeat than victory.

The bar for holding Trump accountable has historically been very high. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington tallied 56 credible accusations of separate incidents of criminal activity by Trump just since his 2015 campaign launch.

Trump has also been accused but not charged with rape and sexual assault. One such claim is still being litigated.

His business dealings are also rife with criminality. He repeatedly stiffs contractors and vendors and his namesake company was convicted of tax fraud just last month. In the 1980s, Trump's dealings with the Mafia and unions were steady fodder for tabloid reporting.

In fact, there has been no time in U.S. history when Trump's public profile was not tarred by criminal accusations. His very first appearance in the news came in 1973, when he and his father were sued by the DOJ for violating the Fair Housing Act by discriminating against Black people, telling them vacant apartments were not available and offering them less favorable rental terms than White tenants got.

Trump settled the charges without admitting guilt.

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.