On January 6, 2021, an event occurred in the nation’s capital that — forgive the well-worn cliché — will go down in infamy. I won’t write a treatise about it here because multiple books will be written about it. September 11-style commissions will be formed to prevent future occurrences. Robert Mueller-style special counsels will be appointed to investigate the perpetrators and make criminal referrals.
But in a nutshell:
On Wednesday, during the constitutionally required congressional session to certify the Electoral College presidential winner — in this case, Joe Biden — a pro-Trump crowd estimated to number between 8,000 and 40,000 mounted a well-planned insurrection. Far-right internet sites had been trading information for months on Jan. 6 occupation planning, illegal gun movement, avoiding authorities, and breaking into secure buildings. Much of the mob overwhelmed police and breached the Capitol building, for the first time since British troops torched it in 1814.
“We will never give up. We will never concede. … We will not take it anymore. … [W]e will stop the steal. … And we’re going to have to fight much harder. … Because you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength, and you have to be strong. We have come to demand that Congress do the right thing. … If you don’t do that … you will have an illegitimate president … and we can’t let that happen. … The radical left knows exactly what they were doing. They are ruthless, and it’s time that somebody did something about it. … Make no mistake, this election was stolen from you, from me, and from the country. … This is a criminal enterprise. … So I hope Mike [Pence] has the courage to do what he has to do. … [I]f you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore. … So we are going to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue … to the Capitol! … and give [Congress] the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country!”
(Trump, Donald, R-Fla., U.S. president; speech to “protesters” gathered at Washington, D.C., “Stop the Steal” rally; 1/6/2021.) (shortly before the protesters-turned-rioters walked the 16 blocks to the Capitol building, then surrounded and breached it)
[EDITOR’S NOTE:] The “radical left” nor any other entity stole the election. Joe Biden is the legitimate president-elect.
Rioters smashed windows and broke down doors to enter, holding the building for about four hours. Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (R-Calif.) were interrupted midsentence by security officials ordering the evacuation of their respective chambers. Vice President Mike Pence, presiding over the Senate, was rushed to safety by Secret Service agents to a secure bunker. Not long after that, rioters crashed into the empty Senate chamber.
The MAGA mob terrorized lawmakers and staff, forcing them into hiding and gas masks, for hours in some cases, causing many to call loved ones to say goodbye just in case. Insurrectionists replaced American flags with “Trump” flags; took photos of themselves occupying the Senate dais and sitting back with their feet atop House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s desk; ransacked many other congressional offices, leaving floors covered in piles of strewn documents; destroyed furniture and media equipment; stole and vandalized historical artifacts; and discharged firearms inside the building. Rioters were reported yelling “Where’s Nancy?” and chanting “Hang Mike Pence.”
Let me say that again: Pro-Trump insurrectionist thugs smashed into the U.S. Capitol building to find the United States vice president and speaker of the House of Representatives — to kill them and stop the certification of Electoral College votes, thinking this would keep President Trump in office after Jan. 20.
“Let’s have trial by combat!”
(Giuliani, Rudy, R-N.Y., top Trump attorney; speech to “protesters” gathered at Washington, D.C., “Stop the Steal” rally; 1/6/2021.) (shortly before the protesters-turned-rioters breached the Capitol building)
During the insurrection, even Trump allies and congressional supporters became frightened. Many called on the president to speak publicly, to quell passions. He refused. President-elect Joe Biden went on national television urging peace and calm, but obviously he lacks sway over MAGA supporters. Ultimately, Mr. Trump did send a few tweets and issued one video, wishy-washingly calling on his rioting supporters to “Stay peaceful,” while forcefully perpetuating his greatest hits of election-fraud lies. He rounded out his message with, “Go home,” “We can’t play into their hands,” “I feel your pain,” “We love you,” “You’re very special.”
Twitter and Facebook took down the president’s video almost immediately for “promoting disinformation” and “inciting violence.” Within hours, they blocked his accounts temporarily — a first in social media company reactions to Trump tweets and posts.
“This gathering should send a message to [the GOP in Washington]: This isn’t their Republican Party anymore. This is Donald Trump’s Republican Party. … If you’re gonna be the zero and not the hero, we’re coming for you and we’re going to have a good time doing it!”
(Trump, Donald, Jr., R-N.Y., president’s son; speech to “protesters” gathered at Washington, D.C., “Stop the Steal” rally; 1/6/2021.) (shortly before the protesters-turned-rioters breached the Capitol building)
Capitol Finally Secured
Ultimately, the National Guard was deployed, though woefully late by many security experts’ accounts. And President Trump didn’t even want to do it — apparently Vice President Mike Pence had to persuade him forcefully. The Capitol was retaken and secured at about 5:40 p.m. After a brief security sweep of the building, Congress resumed Electoral College vote certification shortly after 8 p.m.
That evening and the next morning, condemnation of the president grew deafening. He had been egging on his supporters for many weeks, urging them to “protest” the Electoral Vote count at the Capitol on Jan.6, issuing multiple tweets and statements such as “Be there, it’s going to be wild.” It’s widely believed that he got exactly the result he wanted: violence.
Many generals and admirals began calling for his ouster through the 25th Amendment or impeachment, as impractical as those two remedies would be within the 13 days left in Trump’s presidency. Many lawmakers, including some Republicans, began calling on the president to resign.
As of Thursday morning, Donald Trump is still president, rage-bingeing on cable news in the White House, plotting his next move. He did, however, issue a statement overnight intended to keep the 25th Amendment wolves at bay. Though not a concession, it was his first acknowledgement that his presidency would be ending Jan. 20, 2021:
“Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th. I have always said we would continue our fight to ensure that only legal votes were counted. While this represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history, it’s only the beginning of our fight to Make America Great Again.”
(Trump, Donald, R-Fla., U.S. president; statement from White House; 1/7/2021.)
“It’s only the beginning of our fight.” Crazy, right?
The strong determination by an increasing number of experts and pundits is that Mr. Trump’s psychological incapacity to accept his election loss leaves the country in grave danger — even graver danger than an insurrection and attempted coup — over the next 13 days.
“There’s no question the president formed the mob, the president incited the mob, the president addressed the mob. He lit the flame. …
“What he has done and what he has caused here is something that we’ve never seen before in our history. It’s been 245 years, and no president has ever failed to concede or agree to leave office after the Electoral College has voted. And I think what we are seeing today is the result of that, the result of convincing people that somehow Congress was going to overturn the results of this election, the results of suggesting that he wouldn’t leave office.”
(Cheney, Liz, R-Wyo., U.S. representative, third-highest-ranking House Republican; Fox News; 1/6/2021.)
Drowned out by the Insurrection: Georgia Senate Run-Offs
There was an election Tuesday. Two Georgia U.S. Senate run-offs should have been sleepy foregone conclusions: both Republicans should have won easily in this traditionally conservative state. (These contests were warranted because neither Nov. 3 general election race produced a winner with over 50% of the vote, as required in Georgia.) But things are changing. In 2020 a Democrat (Joe Biden) won the state’s presidential race for the first time since 1992 (when Bill Clinton won it).
Things are changing. Instead of Republicans keeping their suffocating hold on the U.S. Senate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) must turn over the gavel to Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). With the two new Georgia Democratic senators, the body now is split 50-50, which means Vice President-elect Kamala Harris becomes the tie-breaking vote. This throws control of the Senate — with its inherent powers of choosing legislation to consider, appointing committee chairmanships, conducting hearings, and launching investigations — back to the Democrats.
This is monumental.
Things are changing. Granted, Biden won Georgia by only 11,779 votes (out of nearly 5 million cast). And the two Senate-vote winning margins were only 1.2% and 2.0%. But even slim Democratic victories are a testament to changing demographics and the voter-suppression-fighting efforts of Stacey Abrams (who narrowly lost the state’s 2018 gubernatorial race) and other get-out-the-vote activists.
Lost in the Insurrection: Another Trump Mob-Boss Phone Call
How do we know the exact victory margin for Biden? Besides being readily available on the internet (I hear that internet thing is really set to take off), President Trump has memorialized the number in one of his final impeachable, criminal acts (notwithstanding inciting an insurrection, a coup attempt, and other MAGA shenanigans arising before Jan. 20, 12:01 p.m.). An hourlong-plus secret recording has been released in which Mr. Trump called the Georgia secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger (R), to cajole, pressure, and ultimately threaten him, to find “11,780 votes, one more than we need.” The number 11,779 was mentioned on the call by (mostly) Trump and his lawyers 55 times, I kid you not.
Everyone should listen to the entire call. The highlights in the media don’t do it justice. Despite the tendency of succumbing to Trump-outrage fatigue, it exposes some of the most damning criminal evidence ever seen against an American president (notwithstanding inciting insurrection), far outpacing President Richard Nixon’s suite of Watergate depravity. As always, the simple question hanging in the air for Republicans and all other MAGA supporters: “What if (former president) Obama had done this?”
“We only lost the state by that number: 11,000 votes, and 779. … So what are we gonna do here, folks? I only need 11,000 votes. Fellas, I need 11,000 votes. Give me a break! … What’s wrong with you, Brad? Why don’t you want to find this? Why do you keep fighting this thing. … I think you’re gonna have to say you want to reexamine it. … There’s nothing wrong with saying, you know, that you’ve recalculated. … [Not reporting fraud is] a criminal offense. And you can’t let that happen. That’s a big risk to you and to Ryan, your lawyer. … And it’s going to be very costly in many ways … very dangerous.”
(Trump, Donald, R-Fla., U.S. president; phone call to Brad Raffensperger, R-Ga., Georgia secretary of state; 1/2/2021; as cited in Gardner, Amy & Firozi, Paulina; “Here’s the Full Transcript and Audio of the Call Between Trump and Raffensperger”; The Washington Post; 1/5/2021.)
But Trump supporters hang on. Trump Republicans still thought they could help themselves politically by disrupting yesterday’s pro forma tabulation of each state’s Electoral College votes. At their planned symbolic, bothersome act of congressional “drama” (as in drama-queen drama), over 140 GOP House representatives and 12 Republican senators had expected to display their disdain for American democracy and the Constitution by objecting to several swing-states’ electors. This move would do nothing but drama-queen delay for several hours the inevitable: President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory certification.
To their credit, several representatives and four senators reversed their plan after the weight of the insurgency mere hours before changed their minds. Astonishingly, 139 GOP representatives and eight senators decided to retain their membership in Tom Nichol’s aptly named Sedition Caucus.
Blame to Go ‘Round
The Republicans’ loss of Senate control was put into motion Tuesday (Georgia’s election day) and confirmed Wednesday — during the pro-Trump rioters’ occupation.
The blame game started even before the second winner was called. Republican luminaries and lawmakers — some publicly, many privately — are blaming the president. And it’s true: Mr. Trump’s constant attacks on general election legitimacy and specific attacks on Georgia’s GOP governor and secretary of state likely stifled Republican turnout — even though the overall turnout rate shattered previous records for that state’s run-off elections. Many pundits are noting the global ignominy with which Donald is leaving office: He lost the House, the White House, and now the Senate, and has split his party possibly irreparably. In other words, he leaves as a yooge loser. A corrupt, incompetent, amoral joke of a loser.
But who put Mr. Trump in power? Who enabled him for five years? Who allowed the recalcitrant man-child of a president to empower himself more with each tantrum and outrage? Who made the deal with Beelzebub and created a Frankenstein monster they long ago lost control of?
Who has dragged out their faux objections to a legitimate presidential election, solely for perceived future political advantage? Who turned off their own voters in Georgia, causing the colossal dual senatorial election upset and loss of Senate control? GOP lawmakers: 139 U.S. representatives and eight U.S. Senators.
Remember these senators’ names. They have been named as part of the “Sedition Caucus” by prominent (reasonable) Republican Tom Nichols in his The Atlantic article “Worse Than Treason: No amount of rationalizing can change the fact that the majority of the Republican Party is advocating for the overthrow of an American election.”
Remember these senators’ names.
Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.)
Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.)
Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.)
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.)
Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.)
Sen. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.)
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas)
Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.)
Never vote for them again. Never watch an interview with any of them again. Never buy a used car from any of them. Erase them from American consciousness.
“We need to look infinitely harder at who we elect to any office in our land — at the office-seeker’s character, at their morals, at their ethical record, their integrity, their honesty, their flaws, what they have said about women, and minorities, why they are seeking office in the first place, and only then consider the policies they espouse.”
(Kelly, John, General, former [Trump] White House chief of staff, former [Trump] Department of Homeland Security secretary; statement issued to CNN reporter Jim Acosta; 1/7/2021.)
02/06/2020 — U.S.: 1 | World: 620
12/31/2020 — U.S.: 342,414 | World: 1,807,866
01/07/2021 — U.S.: 361,297 | World: 1,885,689
Conservatively estimated Trump malfeasance deaths: 180,649 (50% of total U.S. deaths)*
The United States accounts for 4.2% of Earth’s population, 19% of world COVID-19 deaths.*
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“ELECTION: Federal Judge Dismisses Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) Suit to Force VP Mike Pence to Discount Swing State Votes in Jan. 6 Pro Forma Senate Electoral College Vote Certification” (1/1/2021)
“ELECTION: 12 GOP Sens., 140+ GOP Reps. Will Oppose Pro Forma Count of E- C- Presidential Electors; all Know It Won’t Change Outcome; all Believe It Helps Them Politically in Future” (1/2/2020)
“ELECTION: All 10 Living Fmr. DOD Secys. (Including 2 of Trump’s): ‘The time for questioning the results has passed; the time for the formal counting of the E- C- votes … has arrived. … Efforts to involve the U.S. armed forces … would take us into dangerous, unlawful and unconstitutional territory’” (1/3/2021)
“ELECTION: SECRET 1-HR. RECORDING RELEASED OF TRUMP CALL TO GA. GOP SOS; TRUMP COMMITTED IMPEACHABLE, LIKELY CRIMINAL, OFFENSE: PRESSURING SOS TO ‘FIND’ VOTES TO OVERTURN ELECTION: ‘Fellas, I need 11,000 votes. Give me a break! … What’s wrong with you, Brad?’” (1/3/2021)
“PANDEMIC: Trump Calls COVID-19 Death, Hospitalization Numbers ‘Fake News’” (1/3/2021)
“Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) Reelected Speaker of the House of 117th Congress” (1/3/2021)
“Trump Has Been Supporting, Tacitly Urging Violence at D.C. E- C- Count Protests Jan. 6” (1/4/2021)
“PANDEMIC: New 1-Day U.S. Record: Total Hospitalizations” (1/4/2021)
“PANDEMIC: New 1-Day U.S. Record: Deaths (3,775); Post-Holiday Surge Setting In” (1/5/2021)
“ELECTION: Trump Attacks Results of Georgia Special Senate Run-Offs as ‘rigged election!’” (1/6/2021)
“Joe Biden Chooses AG, Merrick Garland, Obama SCOTUS Nominee Ignored by Senate” (1/6/2021)
“ELECTION: VP Pence Says He Won’t Intervene in Congressional E- C- Count, Defying Trump” (1/6/2021)
“ELECTION: 1:00 p.m.: Congress Meets to Certify Electoral College Vote Count” (1/6/2021)
“RIOT: 2:15 p.m.: PRO-TRUMP MOB STORMS U.S. CAPITOL, BREAKS WINDOWS, BREAKS DOWN DOORS; VP Pence Rushed From Chamber; E- C- Vote Halted; Rioters Confront, Threaten Police; Tear Gas, Shots Fired Inside Building by Rioters and Police; Many Lawmakers Hide Out, Call Loved Ones” (1/6/2021)
“RIOT: 2:15 p.m.: CAPITOL BUILDING BREACHED 1ST TIME SINCE BRITISH ATTACK IN 1814” (1/6/2021)
“RIOT: 2:20 p.m.: Both Houses of Congress Adjourn, Begin Evacuating, as Rioters Advance” (1/6/2021)
“RIOT: 2:24 p.m.: Trump Tweet-Slams Disloyal, ‘didn’t have the courage’ Vice President Mike Pence While Pence Is Sheltered in Security Bunker, as Rioters Are Chanting ‘Hang Mike Pence!’” (1/6/2021)
“RIOT: Security Orders Lawmakers, Staff to Lie on Floor, Don Gas Masks; Capitol Police Have Guns Drawn Inside Chamber as Rioters in Hall Bang on Chamber Door; Rioters Are Trashing Offices” (1/6/2021)
“RIOT: Ivanka Trump, in Absence of Any Communication to Rioters From Father, Tweets for ‘American Patriots’ to Cease all Violence; Minutes Later Deletes Tweet” (1/6/2021)
“RIOT: Half Dozen State Capitols, Offices Are Evacuated as ‘Protesters’ Gather at Those Sites” (1/6/2021)
“RIOT: 3:30 p.m.: Most Trump Staff, Allies Calling for Pro-Trump Mob to Stop Destruction at Capitol and Disperse; Trump Remains Quiet Except for Few Meek Tweets” (1/6/2021)
“RIOT: 3:40 p.m.: VP Pence, Va. Gov. Finally Order Nat’l Guard Deployed to U.S. Capitol” (1/6/2021)
“RIOT: 4:05 p.m.: Pres.-Elect Biden Calls Pro-Trump Mob Actions ‘insurrection bordering on sedition’; Calls on Trump to Go on TV, Tell Supporters to Disperse, Stand Down; Trump Does Not” (1/6/2021)
“RIOT: 4:17 p.m.: Trump Tweet-Releases Video, Repeats Numerous Stolen-Election Claims, Tells Supporters-Rioters to ‘Go home,’ ‘We can’t play into their hands,’ ‘I feel your pain,’ ‘We love you,’ ‘You’re very special’; Facebook, Twitter Take Video Down for Inciting Violence, Disinformation” (1/6/2021)
“ELECTION: 4:18 p.m.: DEMOCRATS CONFIRM 2nd WIN OF GA. U.S. SENATE RUN-OFF ELECTIONS, DEFYING ALL ODDS, TAKE BACK CONTROL OF SENATE; Republicans Quick to Blame Trump” (1/5/2021)
“RIOT: Flash Grenades, Tear Gas Being Used In-, Outside Capitol Bldg. to Disperse Rioters” (1/6/2021)
“RIOT: 5:40 p.m.: SECURITY OFFICIALS SAY CAPITOL BLDG. SECURED, CONTROL REGAINED” (1/6/2021)
“ELECTION: 8:06 p.m.: Congress Returns to Capitol, Resumes Certifying Biden Victory; Many Give Impassioned Speeches Following Pro-Trump Insurrection; Some Reverse Plan to Object to E- C- Count; 8 GOP Sens., 139 Reps. Maintain Objections, Delaying Certification Until Fri. Morn.” (1/6/2021)
“RIOT: 1 Pro-Trump Rioter, Woman, Was Shot, Killed; 3 Others Dead, Unknown Causes” (1/6/2021)
“RIOT: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram all Block Trump’s Accounts for ‘inciting violence’” (1/6/2021)
“ELECTION: 3:42 a.m.: CONGRESS CONFIRMS JOE BIDEN’S E- C- PRESIDENTIAL VICTORY” (1/7/2021)
“RIOT: Loud Calls for Trump’s Removal, Some From GOP; Trump Blamed for Pro-Trump Insurrection, Had Been Tweeting to Supporters for Many Weeks: “Be there Jan. 6, it will be wild’” (1/7/2021)
“RIOT: Lawmakers, Security Experts Denounce Colossal Security Failure to Protect Capitol” (1/7/2021)
“RIOT: WH Top Aides Discussing 25th Amend.; GOP Rep., Sen. Schumer Call for Removal” (1/7/2021)
“RIOT: Trump Denounced by Fmr. AG Barr, DHS Secy. Wolf, Fmr. WH COS Mick Mulvaney” (1/7/2021)
“Facebook Will Block Trump at Least Until End of His Presidential Term” (1/7/2021)
“PANDEMIC: U.S. Has 4.2% of World Population, 19% of World COVID-19 Deaths” (1/7/2021)
“PANDEMIC: U.S./World: 21.3M/87.3M Cases; 361.3K/1.9M Deaths; 7:42 a.m. ET” (1/7/2021)
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