Why the Jan. 6 hearings should be nothing like the Mueller report: conservative

Why the Jan. 6 hearings should be nothing like the Mueller report: conservative
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Although former President Donald Trump has often been compared unfavorably to former President Richard Nixon, there are some crucial differences between the two. Nixon, in August 1974, resigned for the good of the United States; Trump, after losing the 2020 election, went to horrifying extremes in the hope of remaining in the White House — and crossed lines that Nixon wouldn’t have dared to cross.

Sen. Barry Goldwater of Arizona and other prominent conservatives of 1974 made it abundantly clear that they would be voting “guilty” if Nixon faced an impeachment trial; in 2022, countless Republicans are terrified of offending Trump. Even though Trump was voted out of office, his iron grip on the GOP remains — even after the Mueller report, two impeachments, the January 6, 2021 insurrection and multiple ongoing investigations.

The Mueller report wasn’t Trump’s undoing the way that so many Democrats and Never Trump conservatives hoped it would be. But Never Trumper Jennifer Rubin, in an opinion column published by the Washington Post on June 6, argues that the forthcoming hearings from the January 6 select committee can have a greater impact than the Mueller report if committee members play their cards right.

“Democracy defenders know what the January 6 committee hearings due to begin Thursday, (June 9) must not do: follow the example of the Mueller report,” Rubin stresses. “That report and its author’s testimony were long, confusing and inconclusive. The January 6 hearings and final report should aim to be the anti-Mueller report.”

Rubin continues, “Punchy hearings with plenty of visual aids, bullet-point summaries and concise testimony must deliver the definitive account of defeated President Donald Trump’s coup starting well before January 6, 2021; a conclusion as to his criminality; and a compelling explanation for why prosecuting Trump and officials involved in the plot to overthrow the government is essential.”

The January 6 select committee, Rubin writes, needs to make a damning — and very understandable — case against not only Trump, but also, against his many “enablers” in the Republican Party.

“The evidence must be so compelling that Republicans’ ongoing efforts to perpetrate the ‘Big Lie’ and to rationalize or downplay the insurrection make them look foolish, dishonest and malicious,” Rubin advises. “Perhaps that will encourage the media to stop treating Trump enablers as normal politicians and confront them at every opportunity about their betrayal of the country.”

According to Rubin, the hearings scheduled to begin on June 9 need to win over two audiences: (1) “the public at large,” and (2) the U.S. Department of Justice and Attorney General Merrick Garland.

“With those two audiences in mind,” Rubin writes, “the hearings should meet five requirements of a successful investigation.” And those requirements, according to Rubin, are: (1) “solidify its own credibility, debunking Republicans’ baseless attacks on its legitimacy,” (2) “Concisely define what this is all about: a conspiracy by the then-president and his enablers to steal an election and thereby subvert our democracy,” (3) convince viewers that “Trump was at the center of a nonviolent coup underway even before the election,” (4) show viewers “which officials enabled the coup,” and (5) “reach a clear conclusion and make recommendations.”

“The committee must determine Trump’s criminal liability, make an urgent plea to fix the Electoral Count Act to foreclose future nonviolent coups, and convince the public that the threat is not behind us,” Rubin recommends. “The committee should be blunt: If these plotters are not punished, other politicians will do the same. A scheme to subvert election results by a combination of intimidation, disinformation and specious fraud claims is already underway. Our democracy hangs in the balance…. Tell the complete story.”

Rubin adds, “Identify those engaged in criminal activity. Recommend action essential to defend our democracy. If they do that, they will fulfill their oaths and secure their historical legacy.”

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