On January 6th 2021, incumbent President Trump made an attempt to overturn the election result in favour of Joe Biden by assembling a mob to storm the Capitol. This, and Trump’s stalling and repeated claims of ‘stolen elections’ has been subject to a slow drip of investigations aimed at him. These reached a summit during the series of hearings at Congress, unveiling a sordid story – all too common in capitalist ‘democracy’. The hearings were co-chaired by Democrat Chairman Bennie Thompson, and Republican Liz Cheney. Even before the public hearings – a federal judge had ruled that:
“Trump was likely involved in at least two potential crimes: conspiracy to defraud the United States and obstruction of Congress.”
These hearings were skillfully orchestrated for a mass TV audience, and succeeded in capturing the attention of many:
“Nearly 20 million people watched the first hearing and 13 million tuned in on June 28 to catch Cassidy Hutchinson’s… testimony. CNN reports that almost six out of ten people in the United States are following the hearings, and CBS finds that nearly 70 percent believe it’s important to find out the truth. “
Both Trump allies, high appointees, family and aides poured out streams of damning evidence. In particular Attorney General Barr. Thus far perhaps the 6th session was most riveting with top former White House aide, 26-year old, Cassidy Hutchinson. The
What have we learnt from the hearings?
Assessments Before the Hearings
Before examining that, I summarise briefly a prior assessment which proposed that:
“There are some very strange elements… it is extremely difficult to believe that anyone could have been ‘surprised’ by the January 6th ‘event’.”
I argued that a very well choreographed movement had ‘stood down’ law enforcement, encouraging Trump to over-reach. Elements of the Republican party wished to get rid of the Trumpian ‘ghost’ they had called into existence.
But why should members of the Republican Party wish to participate in this? Because they are split between advocates of ‘dirty’ extraction industry (oil, gas, coal) and advocates for industrialists. The latter initially supported Trump to ‘re-shore’ industry, but then pulled back their support :
“the Republican Party is riven. .. they could not get rid of Trump without some form of public rejection of him…
As the ‘event’ was unfolding, The National Association of Manufacturers weighed in with condemnation quickly, and called for Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment – which disempowers the President and effectively removes him from office. “
Many progressives instinctively dismiss such views as ‘conspiracist’. But progressives often under-estimate the calculated deviousness and factionalism within the ruling class. Events at the on-going hearings confirm important pillars of my previous report.
Summary of Findings to Date
The US Secret Services destroyed messages January 5-6 and tried to remove Pence from the Capitol.
As Trump was trying to force Pence to refuse to ‘certify’ the elections results, the Secret Services were trying to whisk him away from the White House. But the Secret service has deleted key data:
“The House Select Committee… has subpoenaed the U.S. Secret Service for more information about text messages from January 5 and 6, 2021, that were reportedly erased or deleted.”
“the erasure took place shortly after oversight officials requested the agency’s electronic communications…. The Secret Service has emerged as a key player in the explosive congressional hearings … Vice President Mike Pence was at the Capitol … When rioters entered the building, the Secret Service tried to whisk Pence away from the scene. “I’m not getting in the car,” Pence reportedly told them. . Had Pence entered the vice-presidential limo, he would have been taken to a secure location where he would have been unable to certify the presidential election results… “ If Pence had listened to the Secret Service and fled the Capitol.. a congressional official .. told The Intercept. “It could’ve been a successful coup, not just an attempted one.”
One can reasonably ask what did the Secret Services remove from their files?
Trump and his family fully knew he had lost the election
Trump was advised by aides he had lost. Rather more pithily, Attorney general Barr advised in response to his wish to publicise a ‘stolen election, as follows: “I told the president it was bullshit.” [2 minutes 46 s; and Barr at 2 minutes 18 s; CNN Five minute Summary video 9 June]
Both Trump’s daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner, both illegitimately appointed to enormous powers by Trump, testified they knew that the election was lost by Trump. Ivanka cited Barr’s advice.
Trump attempted to pressure voting officials and ‘find’ votes
Previously Georgia’s Secretary State Brad Raffensberger had been vocal about Trump’s pressure. At the Hearings he confirmed:
“Trump sought to procure nonexistent votes, with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger testifying about Trump’s pressure to get him to “find 11,780 votes.”
But in addition Republican high officials substantiated:
“Trump’s direct involvement in procuring an alternate slate of fraudulent electors through the testimony of live witnesses like Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers and videotaped ones from Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel.”
Multiple evidences emerged that Trump actively planned the attempted coup with the right wing extremist groupings
When all that failed, Trump was in active planning mode with his supporters to storm the Capitol, amply confirmed by several strands of testimony including that of former aide Cassidy Hutchinson. She also confirmed that Trump has a mental age of approximately 3.75 years throwing tantrums where Trumps smashed plates of food against the wall and grabbed steering wheels of cars in motion:
“She said that Mr. Trump tried to grab the steering wheel of the presidential limousine and lunged for his Secret Service agent because he wanted to go to the Capitol, and added that at one point he hurled his plate of lunch at a wall in the White House.
“I grabbed a towel and started wiping the ketchup off of the wall to help the valet out,” Ms. Hutchinson testified.”
More disturbing was Trump’s support of mob calls to hang Pence for his defiance. The relevant section of the NPR transcript is worth reading:
“I overheard the President say… I don’t effing care that they (i.e. the mob) have weapons. … They’re not here to hurt me. Take that effing mags (i.e magnets to detect weapons that were screening the entry to an open-space meeting) away. Let my people in. They can march to the Capitol from here. Let the people in. Take the effing mags away.… ..I remember Pat (i.e. White House counsel Pat Cipollone) saying… “ Mark (President Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows) we need to do something more. They’re literally calling for the vice president to be f’ing hung. And Mark had responded something to the effect of, you heard him, Pat. He thinks Mike deserves it. ….
LIZ CHENEY: Let me pause here on this point. As rioters chanted hang Mike Pence, the president of the United States, Donald Trump, said that “Mike deserves it,” and that those rioters were not doing anything wrong. This is a sentiment that he has expressed at other times as well. In an interview with ABC News correspondent Jonathan Karl, President Trump was asked about the supporters chanting hang Mike Pence last year. Instead of condemning them, the former president defended them. [Begin videotape]…
JONATHAN KARL: Saying hang Mike Pence.
DONALD TRUMP: Because it’s — it’s common sense, Jon. It’s common sense that you’re supposed to protect — how can you — if you know a vote is fraudulent, right, how can you pass on a fraudulent vote to Congress?
What Should Progressives Understand?
Whether or not there are legal consequences for Trump, Rudy Giuliani, or any of the criminal crew surrounding Trump – is almost irrelevant. If there are, it helps the narrative that “democracy” has reasserted itself. Although what has happened is the latest manifestation of a battle within the divided capitalist class of the USA, first revealed to us in Watergate.
I think there are two main things leftists and progressives should consider.
Some, including leaders of the DSA, continue to have constitutional illusions. Even now, after the Supreme Court’s evident ‘politicisation’ on climate, electoral laws, and now rescinding Roe vs Wade, David Duhalde, chair of the Democratic Socialists of America Fund, and former deputy director of DSA suggests:
“One way to prevent this authoritarian slide is through engaging in public pressure to push Garland and other Justice Department officials to prosecute Trump and his allies….We cannot have a multi-racial working-class socialist society without first achieving a functioning democracy.”
While this is too naïve, we should not lurch to the other extreme and throw out the baby with the bath water. It is true the Republicans and the Democrats become ever more exposed to many as varieties of the same fruit cake.
But yet there remain differences and it is necessary to remind ourselves that we need to not only recognize them, but we need to utilize them. As V. I. Lenin wrote:
“A more powerful enemy can be vanquished only by exerting the utmost effort, and without fail, most thoroughly, carefully, attentively and skilfully using every, even the smallest, ‘rift’ among the enemies, every antagonism of interests among the bourgeoisie of the various countries and among the various groups or types of bourgeoisie within the various countries, and also by taking advantage of every, even the smallest, opportunity of gaining a mass ally, even though this ally be temporary, vacillating, unstable, unreliable and conditional. Those who fail to understand this, fail to understand even a particle of Marxism, or of scientific, modern socialism in general.”
“Left-Wing” Communism, an Infantile Disorder, Moscow 1952, p. 90.
Secondly, we are still woefully disunited. I will end with the same words as in my prior article:
“Until there is a real, organized mass movement of working people in the United States, we can expect nothing more than continued choreography.”