January 6 Hearings Day Two

Feel free to comment before, during, and after today’s hearings.

Update: I understand today’s hearing was on Fox News, although of course this is probably a different audience from those who tune in to the weeknight bobblehead lineup. But somewhere there must be MAGA-heads who caught the testimony in a waiting room or airport, and I’d love to ask them what they thought. Did you donate any money to the election defense to fight the fraud? Did you know that money mostly just went into Donald Trump’s pocket?

The MSNBC bobbleheads talked a lot about intent. Did Trump know he was lying when he continued to push election fraud claims, and if not, does that give him a legal excuse for continuing to push those claims? What I got out of the commentary is that most judges don’t accept willful denial of facts as a defense. If X has been explained to you (by several people whose job it is to know X) and yet you continue to claim Y in order to get something you want, you intended to deceive. Even if you continue to swear up and down that you believe Y to be true.

It’s probably the case that Trump’s understanding of “truth” was warped long ago. “Truth” is an abstraction that is meaningless to him. There is only what he wants, and any way to get to what he wants is legitimate, to him.

As all those people who testified today explained, over and over, that they told Trump clearly that his voter fraud claims were baseless, what I saw was the spoiled kid who was never told no. Trump learned long ago that if he throws a big enough temper tantrum he’ll get what he wants. And now that he’s become, in effect, a cult leader, he can always get his culties to throw his temper tantrums for him. That’s what January 6 was; a temper tantrum to get the grown ups to back down and let him have his way.

Note that the witness who couldn’t come because his wife is in labor, Bill Stepien, is working as an advisor/consultant to the campaign of Wyoming Republican Harriet Hageman. This is the woman running against Liz Cheney in the House primary in Wyoming. This may be why Cheney took a back seat today; it would not have been proper for her to question Stepien, obviously.

The testimony today painted the picture that everyone with Donald Trump on election night, watching the returns come in, told him that it was too early to declare victory and that he could lose. Here is what he did say on election night:

It was an “apparently inebriated” Rudy Giuliani who told Trump to declare victory, and so he more or less did, while calling for “all voting to stop.” “We will win this, and as far as I’m concerned, we already have,” Trump said.

He was told about the “red mirage,” the way early vote counts favor Republicans but the mail-in votes, counted later, are overwhelmingly Democratic. Nope; didn’t register. The facts got in the way of what he wanted.

And, of course, all these administration and campaign officials, especially Bill Barr, who knew the truth and said little in public at the time haven’t exactly crowned themselves in glory. This is true even though Barr did invite Michael Balsamo, a Justice Department beat reporter for the Associated Press, to a private lunch on December 1, 2020, and told him there was no evidence of enough fraud to overturn the election. That was Barr doing his due diligence, I guess. But according to this Atlantic article, Barr only talked to that reporter at the urging of Mitch McConnell, who was frantic to win the Senate runoff elections in Georgia and believed the GOP would have a better shot if it were clear that Joe Biden would be in the White House.

See also Tim Miller at The Bulwark, “No, Bill Stepien, You Weren’t On “Team Normal.” You Were On “Team Coup.” There was a lot of self-delusion going on, and it wasn’t just Trump. The people trying to explain to Trump that he had really, truly lost and tried to guide him toward being a gracious loser were just about as deluded as Trump.

Trump doesn’t do “gracious.” Surely everybody knew that already.

7 thoughts on “January 6 Hearings Day Two

  1. I didn't watch the hearing until this evening.  The first message was well-presented, drawing from Republican testimony at the highest levels of the Trump Administration. Simply, Trump planned to claim fraud if he lost – we all knew that. When it happened, Team Normal was replaced by Team Crazy, led by Rudy. The former mayor of NYC is disbarred in New York and DC because of frivolous election claims.

    Sidney Powell was forced in a defamation suit to defend her public statements about voter fraud (and I paraphrase) that no san person was supposed to take her claims literally! (Nobody has brought up yet that Sidney Powell & Lin Wood have been ordered to pay $175,000 in MI for frivolous suits they brought.) The curtain dropped on a selection of quotes from judges who slammed ON THE MERITS, the lack of evidence in about half the 60 cases brought by the inmates of the Trump Asylum. Team Normal was scathing in testimony that Trump was told repeatedly it's BS. Barr's appraisal was that Trump was increasingly detached from reality after the election.

    Barr is a toad. He's also a lawyer. Had Barr started down the road of presenting legal arguments for Trump in an attempted coup, his might be the first head to roll. )He's old enough to remember that Nixon's A/G got one of the harsh sentences while Nixon walked. I haven't seen that Barr know the plans of the J6 insurrection, but IMO, Barr quit to be completely clear when the stuff hit the fan. (And he never warned anyone.)

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  2. I'm a little reluctant to accept the idea that a drunken Giuliani was one one responsible for just declaring victory. That narrative makes it seem like it was a spur of the moment decision when a study of all the ground work of accusations of fraud that preceeded Trump's defeat would lead you to understand that it was destined to happen. Trump's red mirage strategy clearly shows what his intentions were.

     I'm also reluctant to blame or excuse alcohol for Rudy's thinking process. I suspect that Rudy's mind was saturated with good old fashioned common ass delusion. Either that or Rudy and Sidney Powell deduced from their conversations with Trump that the order of the day was…anything goes. Just keep that grift alive!

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    • The plan to take advantage of the “red mirage” and declare victory on election night predates election night. Before the election a lot of people had figured out that was the plan. I predicted it myself. It was pretty obvious. It was kind of fascinating that all these witnesses yesterday threw Rudy under the bus for it, when they must have known it was the plan. But perhaps they genuinely didn’t want to go along with the plan, and it was only Rudy on election night that told Trump to go for it.

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