Open Thread: Rooting Out the Insurrectionists

In the coming months, members of the panel will start to reveal their findings against the backdrop of the former president and his allies’ persistent efforts to whitewash the riots and reject suggestions that he helped instigate them. The committee also faces the burden of trying to persuade the American public that their conclusions are fact-based and credible.

But the nine lawmakers — seven Democrats and two Republicans — are united in their commitment to tell the full story of Jan. 6, and they are planning televised hearings and reports that will bring their findings out into the open.

Their goal is not only to show the severity of the riot, but also to make a clear connection between the attack and Trump’s brazen pressure on the states and Congress to overturn Joe Biden’s legitimate election as president…

While the fundamental facts of Jan. 6 are known, the committee says the extraordinary trove of material they have collected — 35,000 pages of records so far, including texts, emails and phone records from people close to Trump — is fleshing out critical details of the worst attack on the Capitol in two centuries, which played out on live television.

They hope to fill in the blanks about the preparations before the attack, the financing behind the Jan. 6 rally that preceded it and the extensive White House campaign to overturn the 2020 election. They are also investigating what Trump himself was doing as his supporters fought their way into the Capitol.

True accountability may be fleeting. Congressional investigations are not criminal cases and lawmakers cannot dole out punishments. Even as the committee works, Trump and his allies continue to push lies about election fraud while working to place similarly minded officials at all levels of state and local government.

“I think that the challenge that we face is that the attacks on our democracy are continuing — they didn’t come to an end on Jan. 6,” said another panel member, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., also chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

Still, the lawmakers hope they can present the public with a thorough accounting that captures what could have been “an even more serious and deeper constitutional crisis,” as Cheney put it…

The panel also is focusing on the preparations for the Jan. 6 rally near the White House where Trump told his supporters to “fight like hell” — and how the rioters may have planned to block the electoral count if they had been able to get their hands on the electoral ballots.

They need to amplify to the public, Thompson said, “that it was an organized effort to change the outcome of the election by bringing people to Washington … and ultimately if all else failed, weaponize the people who came by sending them to the Capitol.”

About 90% of the witnesses called by the committee have cooperated, Thompson said, despite the defiance of high-profile Trump allies such as Steve Bannon and former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. Lawmakers said they have been effective at gathering information from other sources in part because they share a unity of purpose rarely seen in a congressional investigation…

Liz Cheney, and her fellow Never-Trumpists, have every reason to try and convince the rest of us that TFG was a one-off grifter who somehow, inexplicably, wormed his way into the too-trusting Republican party — that disposing the Trump crime family would cure the rot. This is pure self-interest, but I’m not going to reject her assistance in the defenestration:

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