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Exclusive: The first January 6 hearing served up surprising revelations — that all point to Trump

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The first January 6 hearing served up surprising revelations — that all point to Trump

#January #hearing #served #surprising #revelations #point #Trump

The first hearing of the January 6 select committee lived up to the ample hype surrounding it, providing a cogent case — with compelling new details — for Donald Trump’s culpability in the violent effort to overturn the 2020 election.

The thesis of the committee’s case — that “January 6 was the culmination of an attempted coup” — was laid out by Chair Bennie Thompson (D-MS) at the very beginning of the hearing. It was bolstered with a somber presentation carried live across broadcast and most cable networks that previewed the seven additional hearings the committee will hold in the coming weeks.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, a committee staffer said ​​the goal was to present “new details showing that violence was a result of a coordinated, multi-step effort to overturn the 2020 election and stop the transfer of power and that Donald Trump was at the center of that effort.” Despite questions about whether the committee could deliver any new information — there’s been extensive reporting, not to mention an entire impeachment trial on this already — it did.

A brief recap

This was not your normal congressional hearing. There was minimal preening or grandstanding by members. In fact, only two, Thompson and Vice Chair Liz Cheney (R-WY), even spoke during the two hours of hearings. The others remained silent, seated on the dais.

Cheney, one of two Republicans on the committee, laid out a cold, prosecutorial case, weaving in video testimony that showed former President Trump was repeatedly told that he lost the election. It included former Attorney General Bill Barr testifying that he had explicitly told Trump that the former president’s claims of election fraud were “bullshit.”

The goal was to make clear that Trump did not genuinely believe his false claims of election fraud. Instead, Cheney said, “Donald Trump oversaw and coordinated a sophisticated seven-part plan to overturn the presidential election and prevent the transfer of presidential power.”

This was followed by a 10-minute video explicitly chronicling the events of January 6 with new footage, including from police body cameras, to show the brutality of the attack that day. Viewers in the hearing room — including a number of the members of Congress and police officers who responded to the attacks — appeared to struggle to contain their emotion. Afterward, Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-PA), who was in the House gallery when the Capitol was breached, told Vox, “It’s hard because it brings it very viscerally back, but much worse for me is my fear for our country.”

Using clips from the more than 1,000 depositions and interviews it conducted in the past year, compilation of footage from the attack on the Capitol, and live testimony from two witnesses, the committee outlined the case against the former president, culminating in a video presentation where rioter after rioter explicitly said they stormed the Capitol because Donald Trump told them to do so.

What was new?

The hearing was jam-packed with new information about the attack on the Capitol and the effort to overturn the 2020 election.

The most audible reaction in the room came when Cheney relayed testimony that Trump had said, “And maybe our supporters have the right idea, Mike Pence deserves it,” after hearing that the mob was chanting “hang Mike Pence.” It had previously been reported that Trump had reacted with approval to the chants, but not in such a stark statement.

Cheney also revealed that Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) explicitly sought a pardon from Trump after the events of January 6 in order to evade prosecution for his efforts to overturn the election. She added that multiple other unnamed members did the same.

In a taped deposition, Gen. Mark Milley, the chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, described an attempt by White House chief of staff Mark Meadows to try to cover for Trump as the former president let the chaos at the Capitol rage. “We have to kill the narrative that the vice president is making all the decisions,” Meadows told Milley. “We need to establish the narrative that, you know, that the president is still in charge and that things are steady or stable.”

The committee also used videos to outline the extraordinary level of planning and coordination by extremist groups, particularly the Proud Boys and the Oathkeepers, on January 6. Nick Quested, a documentary filmmaker embedded with the Proud Boys, testified that the group began marching to the Capitol even before Trump’s now-infamous rally on the Ellipse that day, indicating a deliberate plan to storm the building from the beginning.

What happens next?

The suspense in Washington was whether these hearings would be more like the ones into Watergate or Benghazi. The former became appointment viewing as Americans tuned in to the hearings in droves, making many of the participants household names. The latter was a damp squib that still served to motivate partisans but had little long-term consequential impact. So far, these are looking more like the former in terms of their substance and potential to resonate.

The committee offered up appetizers from the 1,000 depositions it recorded, showing brief clips of depositions from key Trump officials including Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump and snippets of text messages between Sean Hannity and White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany in the aftermath of the attack. And they made clear there was more to come as they outlined future hearings.

The next one, on Monday, will outline that Trump knew he had lost the election and was not proceeding from a sincere belief that he was somehow the victim of voter fraud. The second, on Wednesday, will outline Trump’s alleged plot to install Jeffrey Clark, a Justice Department official, as acting attorney general in an effort to leverage federal law enforcement to advance the efforts to overturn the election. The third will focus on efforts to pressure Pence to overturn the election. Later hearings will focus on Trump’s attempts to pressure state officials as well as how he “summoned a violent mob and directed them illegally to march on the United States Capitol.”

The question is what long-term impact these will have. Although Thursday’s hearing was carried across most major networks, Fox News did not carry it. Instead, Tucker Carlson featured guests like Darren Beattie, a former Trump White House staffer who spent January 6 tweeting that various prominent African Americans needed to “take a knee to MAGA.”

It’s unlikely that any revelation, no matter how shocking or grotesque, could break through to the right-wing echo chamber and pierce Trump’s support there. But it doesn’t need to, and that’s not really the aim. The goal is not just to look backward but also to reach those who were initially horrified by the attack and have since moved on and remind them that, as Thompson said, “the cause of our democracy remains in danger. The conspiracy to thwart the will of the people is not over.”

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It’s too early to tell if those people were watching and if that effort will be successful. But if the committee fails, it won’t be for lack of effort or preparation.


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Exclusive: Marjorie Taylor Greene Says Putin Just Wants To Be Our Friend And Ally – TalkOfNews.com

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#Marjorie #Taylor #Greene #Putin #Friend #Ally

This seems to be a good time to remind ourselves that MAGA has always been a Russian-backed operation to weaken every facet of classic Western liberalism in the United States, especially our adherence to democracy. Putin and his allies found a Republican party that doesn’t want to face the changing demographics and values in the modern United States. Trump can cite “No collusion” all he wants but it is a fact that the Russians dumped money straight into the NRA, fully backed Trump in 2016, surely did it again in 2020, still uses Tucker Carlson as propaganda on Russian television, and – as Marjorie Taylor-Greene becomes more influential than even John McCain might have been at his peak, Russia uses MTG to make Putin’s case here in the United States that it is Joe Biden who is responsible for all those Ukrainian deaths.

Had we just left Ukraine to its own defense, we could have had Russia as an ally, according to Marjorie but we blew it. We helped Ukraine and now Ukrainians are dying. It is Joe Biden’s fault.

Before you guffaw and say “No one will believe her,” just this morning there is a new YouGov poll out showing that 68% of Fox viewers believe that January 6th was primarily instigated by the Left to make Trump look bad.

So, despite the fact that Marjorie’s minute-long diatribe is self-contradicting and unprincipled, it represents the thinking of many MAGA voters. Putin has no agency in this at all. The United States is responsible for the horrors in Ukraine, according to Marjorie:

MAGA was born as an updated version of long-held KGB doctrine that America could be destroyed from within if the Russians could just obtain control of one American political party. From the 1950s to the 1970s, Russians focused on the American left. By the early 21st Century, Russia was dumping money into the NRA, and the control was near-cemented in the 2016 Republican party convention when the Trump team demanded only one change to the Republican platform, that portion that opposed the 2014 Russian invasion of a portion of Ukraine. MAGA was Russian-produced then, MAGA is Russian-produced now.

In 2020 the GOP didn’t have a platform. Autocrats don’t have “policy beliefs,” they believe in power.

We would all do well to accept the fact that the leaders of the Republican party look to the Russian government and see what they want. A one-party state, run by the right people, without time for your niceties, and classic liberalism. Fascism is a much better system when the primary goal is keeping wealthy conservative white men at the top. Despite yeoman’s work by the Select Committee, things continue to fall into place to ensure that we get there, even if Trump goes to prison, see our newly freed SCOTUS. Getting rid of stare decisis will be essential to instilling a new type of American government, one that is constitutional in name only.

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Marjorie Taylor-Greene doesn’t have the intellectual ability to set out her argument in any sort of believable way, but she’s giving us the main gist here. We should never have stood up for democracy. We could have been allies with Russia (wouldn’t that have been great) but now she worries we won’t be allies for a long time. We blew it. The United States could have been lucky and been Putin’s friend, instead we chose to destroy Ukraine.

Putin couldn’t tell the story better.

 


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Exclusive: The Long Path to Reclaim Abortion Rights – TalkOfNews.com

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#Long #Path #Reclaim #Abortion #Rights

New York Times: “Although abortion rights supporters say their strategy is promising, the path ahead is slow and not at all certain. Polls show that Americans overwhelmingly say that the decision to have an abortion should be made by women and their doctors rather than state legislatures. But Republican-controlled state legislatures have passed hundreds of restrictions on abortion over the last decade, and legislative districts are heavily gerrymandered to protect Republican incumbents. Litigation in state courts will be decided by judges who in many cases have been appointed by anti-abortion governors.”

“Abortion rights groups say their cases relying on state constitutions offer a viable path forward to establish Roe-like protections in states. Even in conservative states such as Oklahoma and Mississippi, they see an opportunity to overturn abortion bans and establish a constitutional backstop against further restriction.”

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Exclusive: For the love of books – TalkOfNews.com

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#love #books

While plenty of people read purely for entertainment, I truly believe books do incredible work in teaching us about others and about ourselves. In addition to the obvious exposure to folks who are not like us—learning about other cultures, religions, and lifestyles, for example—books can fundamentally teach us empathy, compassion, and critical thinking skills. Books can keep our attention beyond a clickbait headline. Books can remind us that we all possess a deep humanity that isn’t always at the forefront of, say, arguing with a stranger on the internet about mask mandates. 

Supporting authors is one of the obvious ways to keep books accessible for all. This can look like buying a book, sure. It can also look like requesting a book at your local library. It can also look like speaking out against censorship attempts at your local school board meeting. It can even include advocating on behalf of readers who aren’t like yourself—maybe your library system isn’t great about providing large-print books or audiobooks, for example. If you have the time to do some polite outreach and make requests, it could really help your overall community access free content. 

It’s also always valuable to make an effort to read books by marginalized writers. Yes, read what you want. And yes, take time to reflect on what you’re reading and where your dollars are going. When it comes to buying presents for a friend or family member, for example, considering supporting an author whose identity is historically or systemically under attack if you normally go for white, cisgender, heterosexual folks. 

There’s also a great joy to be found in community and family book events. As we’ve seen as of late, for instance, the far-right Proud Boys have taken to terrorizing kids and families at LGBTQ+ Pride Month book events. Pride Month is coming to a close, but these sorts of efforts should happen all year, and at no point do kids deserve to be screamed at or have their programming canceled.

Even if you don’t have kids, it can still be effective to reach out and show support for such programming. It can even make a positive impact to share such events on social media and drop a few words of encouragement for the staff creating them. 

I’d love to hear what you’re reading this summer or any reading challenges you’re doing. (And if you’re a writer yourself, please feel free to share your own work!) 


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