The Jan. 6 committee’s zeal to impugn Trump is in danger of backfiring

Still, someone on the committee playing the role of skeptic could have perhaps challenged her on the details, as well as another episode wherein she said she personally heard Trump “say something to the effect of, ‘I don’t f-ing care that they have weapons. They’re not here to hurt me. Take the f-ing mags away.” Her habit of couching her recollected conversations in terms of people saying “something to the effect of” leaves plenty of wiggle room for later revision.

Everything Hutchinson said on Tuesday may well be true. But it’s more likely that she got some things wrong. By rushing her in front of the cameras without more fact-checking — or wiser heads determining to prune her testimony to only events she witnessed firsthand — the committee opened the door for her entire appearance to be summarily dismissed by critics. Such sloppiness doesn’t harm Trump nearly as much as it impugns both the committee investigating him and journalists too eagerly relaying its overscripted and faulty narrative as news.

The committee is anxious to prove that Trump knew the election wasn’t fraudulent and yet engaged in numerous unsavory tactics to engineer and encourage an attack on the U.S. Capitol in an effort to prevent Biden’s certification as president. It’s a misguided objective, and will likely never produce evidence that will be trial-worthy. It is clear that Trump acted irresponsibly on Jan. 6, but it remains highly unlikely that Trump was involved in actually planning the attack on the Capitol.