Trumpism goes to trial

(CNN) — Trumpism is on trial this week.

Steve Bannon, one of the founding fathers of Donald Trump’s devastating anti-elite movement, will go to court starting Monday on charges of contempt of Congress after he refused to go to the House of Representatives committee investigating the events of 6 January 2021.

Meanwhile, the former president’s dereliction of duty that fateful day will be under minute-by-minute scrutiny in a prime-time hearing on Thursday that will focus on how he did nothing when the violent mob he incited stormed the US Capitol. .

These two moments of public accountability will serve as an example of the commission’s success in ensuring that Trump’s aura of impunity does not prevent what really happened during the worst attack on American democracy in modern times from emerging.

But they also come as Trump’s forces are mustering for a new assault on the truth as they seek to launch the former president on a path back to power that would herald an upheaval even more authoritarian than his previous tenure.

House Republicans, seeking a majority in the November midterm elections, are already drawing up plans to investigate and intimidate key members of the Jan. 6 panel and hold hearings designed to plant falsehoods about Trump’s true responsibility. in the events of that day, according to a new CNN report. This preview of how a possible Republican majority in the House would act as a weapon for the former president comes as pro-Trump candidates in states like Arizona and Pennsylvania seek to weaken state and local Democratic barriers ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.

And the twice-impeached former president, who tried to steal the 2020 election and launched a coup attempt when it didn’t go his way, said in an interview with New York Magazine that it’s a question of whether he will launch his 2024 campaign, but when.

Hutchinson: Trump approved of chants asking to hang Pence 2:57

This confluence of events underscores how the extremist political forces that rocked America under Trump are not dying out even as shocking new details emerge of their behavior when democracy was on the brink. It also shows that, even now, the truth about 2020 is not certain to triumph and suggests a possible second act for the Trump-Bannon insurgency.

These new fronts in the battle between accountability and efforts to cover up the true story of January 6 coincide with a series of developments in the investigation, including a growing firestorm over whether the Secret Service deleted text messages about one of the most notorious days in US history. Meanwhile, the commission appears to have corroborated key details of a wild scene in the presidential vehicle that day when Trump demanded to be taken to Capitol Hill.

Committee members say they are determined that new political maneuvering by the former president and attempts by House Republicans to corrupt them will not prevent the facts from being known, even if it is already clear that many pro-Trump voters do not want to know. the truth or they wouldn’t let it affect their votes.

“The bottom line is that no one is above the law, whether it’s a president, a former president or a potential future presidential candidate,” Democratic Rep. Elaine Luria, one of the leaders of Thursday’s audience, said on “State of the Union” on Sunday.

“We are going to investigate the facts and analyze them, provide recommendations and, if necessary, pass that information on to other people who will act appropriately to hold him accountable,” the Virginia Democrat said.

Bannon seeks a platform for the Trump movement

If there is an intellectual guru of Trumpism, it is Bannon.

The former investment banker quickly realized the appeal of Trump’s populist economic nationalism. The chaos and incompetence of Trump’s government played directly into his desire to see the power structures and systems of Washington elite regulations, taxes, alliances and trade deals implode, what he called the “deconstruction of the administrative state.”

Bannon was a key influence early in the Trump White House when he served as an adviser to the West Wing. Like many in Trump’s orbit, his relationship with the then-president frayed in the pit of competing power cabals in the White House and left.

But he also, like many former Trump associates, held Trump’s attention. Bannon spoke with Trump multiple times before and after Jan. 6, according to press reports and White House call records. Authors Bob Woodward and Robert Costa wrote in their book “Peril” that Bannon urged Trump to focus on January 6 as a last resort in his attempt to invalidate the 2020 election based on false claims of voter fraud. “We’re going to bury Biden on January 6th f**k bury him,” Bannon told Trump over the phone, according to the book.

Last week, the House select committee revealed at a hearing that when Bannon predicted on Jan. 5, 2021, that “hell” would break loose the next day, he did so after speaking with Trump. On his “War Room” podcast, Bannon, who was pardoned by the former president while facing federal fraud charges, has sought to perpetuate Trumpism, urging supporters of the former president to seize control of local GOP parties in congressional districts and run for school boards and local jurisdictions to spark the next “Make America Great Again” revolution from the bottom up.

But on Monday, Bannon will go on trial in federal court in Washington on charges of failing to testify and failing to provide documents to the House select committee. He has pleaded not guilty. The lead-up to the case, a rare trial on the issue of contempt of Congress, was dominated by arguments over his last-minute offer to speak to the commission, preferably publicly, and confusion over whether Trump had given up executive privilege for his former advisor or had once invoked him. Bannon had long since left the White House at the time of the Capitol insurrection, so it was hard to see how a doctrine that was seen as protecting the right of presidents to obtain the advice of government advisers could apply to him. .

But it has long been obvious that Bannon has seen the case as a broader political platform and an opportunity to take a stand for Trumpism, cause a disorienting media storm and twist the legal system into the kind of knots his employer caused in the political sphere. He livestreamed his arrival at an FBI field office to turn himself in. And then he promised: “We are taking down the Biden regime.” The judge has not yet said whether he will admit Bannon’s offer to speak to the commission as evidence, but he has dealt him a series of procedural blows in the run-up to the trial that have raised questions about the feasibility of his defense.

Prime-time session to delve into the Trump White House

Thursday’s hearing at the commission will present what Luria said was a “minute-by-minute” re-enactment of 187 minutes while the insurrection was at its height and Trump was unable to stop it. And while the televised hearing is the last in the series, he said Americans would hear back from the commission in hearings or in other ways when it finally produces its conclusions.

The commission has no power to bring charges. But he has struck an accusatory tone with his highly-produced, televised appearances exposing every aspect of Trump’s behavior after the 2020 election. He has argued that Trump knew he had fairly lost the election, but stepped up his attacks anyway. lies about fraud. He pressured local election officials in states like Georgia and Arizona to overturn Biden’s victories. Then, when that failed, the panel said it welcomed extraordinary and unconstitutional schemes by conservative lawyers and extremist supporters to try to force then-Vice President Mike Pence to hand over the congressional pick to it. The committee argued in recent hearings that Trump knew some of his supporters were armed but goaded them into marching on Capitol Hill anyway, and thought Pence deserved it when rioters called for him to be hanged, according to a witness.

USA: 200 sentenced for the insurrection of January 6 0:47

One of the key issues before the commission this week concerns the Secret Service text messages subpoenaed by the panel from Jan. 5 and 6, 2021, which two commission members said they expect to receive by Tuesday. According to a letter sent to the House and Senate Homeland Security committees by the Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General, obtained by CNN, the text messages were deleted as part of a device replacement program after the agency of control requested electronic records. The question of whether the messages can be recovered has not yet been answered publicly. The text messages have taken on added importance since former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson testified about how angry Trump had been when his security team refused to take him to Capitol Hill on Jan. 6.

Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger, one of the leaders of Thursday’s audience. He expressed his disbelief that the messages could have been deleted.

“At the very least, it’s insane that the Secret Service would end up deleting everything related to one of the most infamous days in American history, particularly when it comes to the role of the Secret Service,” he told CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday. .

Kinzinger, one of two Republicans on the committee, and one of the few House Republicans who is against Trump, may find that he is the one under scrutiny if his party wins back the chamber in the midterm elections. The Illinois Republican is not running for re-election. But Gabby Orr, Melanie Zanona and CNN’s Zachary Cohen reported Friday that Republican leaders are plotting revenge on the select committee. Kinzinger and the commission’s vice chair, Liz Cheney, a Republican from Wyoming, could even be subpoenaed to testify, according to CNN reports.

The glimpse of a possible Republican majority in the future shows that despite all attempts to hold the former president to account, a principle of Trumpism, using the power of government to punish his enemies, has not abated.

Source link