If you’re going to sacrifice your career to serve on this panel, you might as well come to play.
We cannot leave the violence of January 6th — and its causes — uninvestigated. The American people deserve the full and open testimony of every person with knowledge of the planning and preparation for January 6th. We must know what happened here at the Capitol. We must also know what happened every minute of that day in the White House — every phone call, every conversation, every meeting leading up to, during, and after the attack. Honorable men and women have an obligation to step forward. If those responsible are not held accountable, and if Congress does not act responsibly, this will remain a cancer on our Constitutional Republic, undermining the peaceful transfer of power at the heart of our democratic system. We will face the threat of more violence in the months to come, and another January 6th every four years.
Here’s video of her full opening statement as the de facto ranking Republican member on the panel. Watch, then read on:
We cannot leave the violence of January 6th – and its causes – uninvestigated. We must know what happened at the Capitol and the White House on that day.
— Rep. Liz Cheney (@RepLizCheney) July 27, 2021
Democrats wanted to begin the committee’s public work with high drama for two reasons. One was to get people interested in the hearings to come, the other was to shame Republicans for their various expressions of anti-anti-insurrectionism. They called in four of the cops who were on duty that day to testify about whether Trump’s minimization of the violence comports with what they experienced. It did not.
Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell on Trump saying MAGA rioters were "hugging and kissing" the police: "I’m still recovering from those hugs and kisses that day… If that was hugs and kisses, then we should all go to his house and do the same thing to him." pic.twitter.com/CuhRxdULnj
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) July 27, 2021
Harry Dunn was abused racially:
Officer Dunn testifies that Capitol rioters yelled racial slurs at him on Jan. 6:
— NBC News (@NBCNews) July 27, 2021
Michael Fanone, the most well-known officer from the riot and possibly the one who was closest to being killed, focused on anti-anti propaganda:
Searing moment from MPD Ofc. Michael Fanone:
"I feel like I went to hell and back … but now too many people are telling me hell that doesn't exist or that hell actually wasn't that bad. The indifference shown to my colleagues is disgraceful." pic.twitter.com/O2hl6I3ZNU
— Mike DeBonis (@mikedebonis) July 27, 2021
Daniel Hodges is the cop seen in a now-famous video wedged against a door and screaming in pain as a crowd tried to push past him. He described his surprise at being attacked by people waving the “thin blue line” flag:
DC MPD Officer Daniel Hodges describing the pervasiveness of Christian symbols among those who attacked him and other police officers during the January 6 insurrection.
"It was clear the terrorists perceived themselves to be Christians." pic.twitter.com/Eq71WSf9tR
— Jack Jenkins (@jackmjenkins) July 27, 2021
He shouldn’t have been surprised. The flag is only nominally about support for law enforcement. It became popular last year, particularly at Trump rallies, as a symbol of opposition to Black Lives Matter and riots. The left stands for chaos and lawless violence, the right stands for law and order and cracking heads if need be to keep the peace — that’s the political subtext for the flag. Go figure that people who believed Democrats were about to steal an election and were prepared to use force to prevent them from doing it would fly the “thin blue line” banned on January 6 and be shocked when the cops didn’t rally to their side. They don’t care about police as police, as the denigration online today of the four cops who testified this morning proves. They care about order and their own tribe’s authority to maintain it. “When these people talk about ‘backing the Blue’ what they really mean is that they support violence against their enemies,” wrote Jonathan Last earlier. The cops who tried to stop them from “stopping the steal” turned out to be enemies of “order,” just like the Democrats and Mike Pence.
House Republicans are trying to figure out a way to counterprogram the committee. This morning the leadership held a press conference to push the anti-anti talking point that the real scandal on January 6 is why Nancy Pelosi (and Mitch McConnell?) didn’t better prepare the Capitol Police for what was to come:
House GOP conference chair Elise Stefanik: “The American people deserve to know the truth. That Nancy Pelosi bears responsibility, as speaker of the House, for the tragedy that occurred on Jan. 6.” pic.twitter.com/24IXfoMPrI
— Andrew Solender (@AndrewSolender) July 27, 2021
The MAGA wing of the caucus is holding a presser too today to complain about the treatment of rioters, a.k.a. “January 6th prisoners,” which makes them sound like political dissidents. That’s less an anti-anti-insurrection view than a pro-insurrection one:
Inbox: “Reps. Gaetz, Gohmert, Gosar, and Greene to Hold Press Conference at DOJ Demanding Answers on Treatment of January 6th Prisoners” pic.twitter.com/OjN2LVh1kG
— Grace Panetta (@grace_panetta) July 26, 2021
Ideally, I think, McCarthy would prefer to ignore the hearings and the committee altogether since nothing that comes out of it will be good for the GOP or its midterm chances. Case in point:
In other NEWS: Biggs tried to a move a resolution this a.m. to expel members from the GOP conference who accept committee seats from Pelosi, per sources in room — an indirect shot at Kinzinger & Cheney.
But it'll be referred to internal committee, where GOP leaders can kill it.
— Melanie Zanona (@MZanona) July 27, 2021
If they try to expel Cheney and Kinzinger, that just focuses more attention on why it bothers the party so much to have two of its members assisting in an effort to investigate January 6. Better to pretend like the hearings aren’t happening and count on voters to have short memories. But there’s a wrinkle. “Do you think McCarthy’s complaints about Pelosi will mollify Donald Trump when he turns on his TV and sees no Republicans on the dais defending him?” asked Politico today. Without a doubt, Trump’s going to start complaining about the committee and will be furious to see Republicans doing nothing to punish Cheney and Kinzinger for investigating him. It’s disloyal. Why aren’t they trying to kick them out of the caucus?
Once we reach that point, and we will, the House GOP may be forced into a no-win vote. If you oppose booting Cheney and Kinzinger then you’re a traitor to MAGA. If you support it then you’re anti-anti-insurrection. McCarthy wants to avoid that vote but Trump doesn’t care about anything except loyalty to him personally. He loves litmus tests, the more frequent, the better.
Here’s Kinzinger getting choked up today after hearing the cops testify about what they went through.
GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger tears up in statement thanking officers who defended the Capitol, and condemning members of his party who treat the probe as a "partisan fight"
"I'm a conservative. But in order to heal from the damage caused that day, we need to call out the facts" pic.twitter.com/yzOEZKUnWb
— CBS News (@CBSNews) July 27, 2021