Is Non-Accountability for the Crimes of January 6th at the Root of Chaos in Congress?
Sunlight and accountability are still the best disinfectants and America needs to close this ugly chapter in our history with a sense of both finality and justice…
Kevin McCarthy is humiliated, the first Speaker in history to have been thrown out of his office by his own party (or any party, for that matter), and the House has been thrown into chaos. By Matt Gaetz, a bizarre congressman under investigation by the House Ethics Committee for sex trafficking minor girls in Florida.
Putin, Xi, and MBS are loving this, as it freezes America’s ability to defend our democratic ally Ukraine, further destabilizing the international order and providing China with a model for their hoped-for attack on Taiwan.
And because Putin is loving it, Trump mandated it to his followers in Congress. Along with other actions that have taken a bite out of average Americans’ hide.
— This week student loan payments are back on after Republicans succeeded in their lawsuit to block President Biden’s student debt forgiveness.
— The child tax credit and support for daycare have both expired, doubling child poverty in America in one month and provoking the closure of as many as 70,000 preschool facilities.
— Aid to Ukraine is running out and Republicans in the House succeeded in getting it stripped, per Putin’s demand via Trump, from the continuing resolution to keep our government functioning.
America is in chaos, and it’s largely because neither Schumer in the Senate nor Garland at DOJ saw fit to investigate and prosecute Trump’s and Putin’s congressional allies who were also involved in January 6th.
Had they been properly investigated, outed, and even removed from Congress we would almost certainly not be here now.
But, instead, we ignored their crimes, and now they’re doubling down on ripping America to pieces in exchange for millions in cash and media support from neofascist rightwing billionaires and foreign governments.
During the two years Democrats controlled the House of Representatives they failed to be “tough on crime” and it’s hurting the entire world. Hopefully Attorney General Merrick Garland will soon wake the hell up and convene a serious investigation into elected Republicans’ involvement in January 6th and its related crimes.
Although it was LBJ who first declared a “war on crime,” it’s been Republicans who have been wagging fingers in our faces for decades, saying that if criminals don’t face “swift and certain” arrest, trial, and punishment for their crimes, it merely emboldens them.
In that, Republicans are right; even the most progressive Democrats don’t want criminals walking our streets with both immunity and impunity.
Given how bipartisan this consensus is — among the American public as well as among our political class — it’s startling to realize that multiple members of Congress appear to have been deeply engaged in helping Donald Trump try to overthrow our government and end our democratic republic.
And not only have these alleged criminals not been prosecuted; there’s no indication anywhere that any police agency has even bothered to look into their possible crimes.
— Senator Tommy Tuberville was in Trump’s private spaces at the Trump Hotel in DC the night before the January 6th attack and is now working to tear apart the morale and readiness of the US military, possibly per instructions from Putin via Trump.
— Congressman Barry Loudermilk gave a tour on January 5th to a group of people photographing exits and secret spaces; one of his “tourists” appears to be attacking police on January 6th and looking for Nancy Pelosi with a sharpened flagpole.
— Rand Paul traveled alone to Russia to hand a package of secret documents — given him personally by Trump — to Putin’s intelligence officers. Since then he has supported the insurrectionists and opposed aid to Ukraine, per Putin’s desires.
— Jared Kushner, according to multiple sources, gave MBS (after MBS had Khashoggi murdered) a list of people in the Kingdom who may not be reliable supporters; weeks later they were imprisoned in a Ritz Carlton hotel and tortured: one died. MBS then took over the government and reportedly extracted over $110 billion from his relatives held captive in that hotel; there’s speculation that Kushner’s $2 billion was merely a 2 percent “finders fee” for stealing the Presidential Daily Brief and carrying it to the Saudi prince.
— Whatever Matt Gaetz did around January 6th, it was bad enough that he begged Donald Trump for a preemptive pardon. As did multiple other Republicans, according to press reports, including Marjorie Taylor Greene, Paul Gosar, Mo Brooks, Andy Biggs, and Scott Perry.
According to reporting from Rolling Stone, multiple members of Congress were involved in Trump’s effort to end American democracy and turn our nation into an authoritarian strongman state like Russia. They include: Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), Madison Cawthorn (R-NC), Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), and Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.).
The title of a conversation between William J. Burns and James Fallows over at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace summarizes the situation right now: “Chaos Serves Putin’s Interest.”
And chaos is exactly what is happening in the GOP right now, in large part because Putin’s boy Trump has been stirring the pot as hard as he can. After all, he has suffered no punishment for trying to overthrow America, and neither have any of his allies in Congress. The only ones in prison right now are the “little people” who took up arms and sharpened flagpoles on Trump’s behalf.
Liz Cheney appears to have prevented the House committee investigating January 6th from looking into the actions and behaviors of Republican members of Congress; she succeeded in keeping the committee’s focus on Trump and a few people around him in the Oval Office.
It got so bad that 15 staffers of the Committee explicitly criticized Cheney for her hardball tactics keeping everything focused on Trump and diverting any attention away from his GOP colleagues who may also have been involved in the attempted coup. As three Washington Post reporters summarized on November 23, 2022, speaking of those staffers:
“They are angered and disillusioned by Cheney’s push to focus the report primarily on former president Donald Trump, and have bristled at the committee morphing into what they have come to view as the vehicle for the outgoing Wyoming lawmaker’s political future.
“Fifteen former and current staffers, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations, expressed concerns that important findings unrelated to Trump will not become available to the American public.”
The simple reality is that if Republicans in Congress who were willing to go along with Trump’s coup attempt had been investigated, outed, and prosecuted it’s very unlikely that today’s chaos in the House would be anything like it is because many of the troublemakers would no longer be there.
If Garland had done his law enforcement job “without fear or favor” and opened an FBI investigation into these politicians, many of the most problematic wouldn’t have survived the 2022 election or might even now be in jail along with the militia members they were supporting.
That said, it’s not too late to hold these politicians to account for one of the most infamous crimes in American history.
In the Senate, Chuck Schumer could appoint a committee to investigate Washington insiders who collaborated with Trump and gave “aid and comfort” to the rioters. At DOJ, Garland could either appoint a special prosecutor (like he should have over 2 years ago) or expand the scope of Jack Smith’s role.
Some argue that it’s too late, or that we should put these things behind us.
But even if the statute of limitations has already expired on many of these crimes, sunlight is still the best disinfectant and America needs to close this ugly chapter in our history with both finality and justice.