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January 6, 2021 pro-Trump storming of the Capitol

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Two Senate committees on Tuesday released a report about security failures leading up to the violent and deadly insurrection at the Capitol on January 6. The report concluded that law enforcement departments and intelligence agencies were woefully unprepared to stop the mob of Donald Trump supporters that forced their way into the building in an effort to block certification of President Joe Biden's victory.

The report also details the brutal injuries law enforcement officers suffered as they sought to fight back against the Trump supporters who breached the building.

The accounts in the report from law enforcement officers on the scene rebut the alternative reality that a number of GOP lawmakers have attempted to create around the attack as they tried to absolve Trump and his supporters of culpability, including a false assertion from Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-GA), who said Jan. 6 was not an insurrection but merely a "normal tourist visit."

One officer recalled to Senate investigators:

[We] did what we could against impossible odds and a volatile crowd which many times threatened us with phrases like 'We're gonna kill you!', 'We're gonna murder you and then them!', 'You guys are traitors and should be killed!' ... I felt at this time a tangible fear that maybe I or some of my colleagues might not make it home alive.

The report said that roughly 140 officers were injured in the attack, including one who lost an eye and another who was stabbed with a "metal fence stake."

According to the report:

Many officers have recounted repeated attacks with chemical irritants from the crowd, including bear spray and insecticide. One officer stated that he was 'sprayed in the eyes with some kind of chemical irritant that was far stronger than any pepper spray I have ever had used against me in training.' Other officers reported burns, breathing and lung complications, and their eyes sealing shut from irritation due to repeated exposure to the chemical irritants. Captain Carneysha Mendoza testified to the Committees that she received chemical burns to her face, which had not healed nearly two months after the attack

The report, however, did not examine what caused the attack, nor did it look into Trump's role specifically in inciting the mob that ransacked the Capitol.

For those reasons, Democrats have been demanding an outside commission to look into the origins of the insurrection and make recommendations to prevent similar attacks in the future.

Yet GOP leaders — including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy — are against the commission because they fear it will imperil their party's chances in the 2022 midterm elections.

In fact, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) — who was booted from House GOP leadership because she blamed Trump and his lies about a stolen 2020 election for the vicious attack on the Capitol — said she believes some Republicans don't want an investigation because they fear they'll be implicated.

Some Capitol Police officers have publicly said they are angry that Republicansare blocking the commission.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

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Mark Meadows

Donald Trump’s White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows wanted a presidential pardon. He had facilitated key stages of Trump’s attempted 2020 coup, linking the insurrectionists to the highest reaches of the White House and Congress.

But ultimately, Meadows failed to deliver what Trump most wanted, which was convincing others in government to overturn the 2020 election. And then his subordinates, White House security staff, thwarted Trump’s plan to march with a mob into the Capitol.

Meadows’ role has become clearer with each January 6 hearing. Earlier hearings traced how his attempted Justice Department takeover failed. The fake Electoral College slates that Meadows had pushed were not accepted by Congress. The calls by Trump to state officials that he had orchestrated to “find votes” did not work. Nor could Meadows convince Vice-President Mike Pence to ignore the official Electoral College results and count pro-Trump forgeries.

And as January 6 approached and the insurrection began, new and riveting details emerged about Meadow’s pivotal role at the eye of this storm, according to testimony on Tuesday by his top White House aide, Cassidy Hutchinson.

Meadows had been repeatedly told that threats of violence were real. Yet he repeatedly ignored calls from the Secret Service, Capitol police, White House lawyers and military chiefs to protect the Capitol, Hutchinson told the committee under oath. And then Meadows, or, at least White House staff under him, failed Trump a final time – although in a surprising way.

After Trump told supporters at a January 6 rally that he would walk with them to the Capitol, Meadows’ staff, which oversaw Trump’s transportation, refused to drive him there. Trump was furious. He grabbed at the limousine’s steering wheel. He assaulted the Secret Service deputy, who was in the car, and had told Trump that it was not safe to go, Hutchinson testified.

“He said, ‘I’m the f-ing president. Take me up to the Capitol now,’” she said, describing what was told to her a short while later by those in the limousine. And Trump blamed Meadows.

“Later in the day, it had been relayed to me via Mark that the president wasn’t happy that Bobby [Engel, the driver] didn’t pull it off for him, and that Mark didn’t work hard enough to get the movement on the books [Trump’s schedule].”

Hutchinson’s testimony was the latest revelations to emerge from hearings that have traced in great detail how Trump and his allies plotted and intended to overturn the election. Her eye-witness account provided an unprecedented view of a raging president.

Hutchinson’s testimony was compared to John Dean, the star witness of the Watergate hearings a half-century ago that led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon for his aides’ efforts to spy on and smear Democrats during the 1972 presidential campaign.

“She IS the John Dean of the hearings,” tweeted the Brooking Institution’s Norman Eisen, who has written legal analyses on prosecuting Trump. “Trump fighting with his security, throwing plates at the wall, but above all the WH knowing that violence was coming on 1/6. The plates & the fighting are not crimes, but they will color the prosecution devastatingly.”

Meadows’ presence has hovered over the coup plot and insurrection. Though he has refused to testify before the January 6 committee, his pivotal role increasingly has come into view.

Under oath, Hutchinson described links between Meadows and communication channels to the armed mob that had assembled. She was backstage at the Trump’s midday January 6 rally and described Trump’s anger that the crowd was not big enough. The Secret Service told him that many people were armed and did not want to go through security and give up their weapons.

Trump, she recounted, said “something to the effect of, ‘I don’t f-ing care that they have weapons. They’re not here to hurt me. Take the mags [metal detectors] away. Let the people in. They can march to the Capitol from here.

As the day progressed and the Capitol was breached, Hutchison described the scene at the White House from her cubicle outside the Oval Office. She repeatedly went into Meadows’ office, where he had isolated himself. When Secret Service officials urged her to get Meadows to urge Trump to tell his supporters to stand down and leave, he sat listless.

“He [Meadows] needs to snap out of it,” she said that she told others who pressed her to get Meadows to act. Later, she heard Meadows repeatedly tell other White House officials that Trump “doesn’t think they [insurrectionists] are doing anything wrong.” Trump said Pence deserved to be hung as a traitor, she said.

Immediately after January 6, Hutchinson said that Trump’s cabinet discussed invoking the 25th Amendment to remove a sitting president but did not do so. She also said that Meadows sought a pardon for his January 6-related actions.

Today, Meadows is championing many of the same election falsehoods that he pushed for Trump as a senior partner at the Conservative Partnership Institute (CPI), a right-wing think tank whose 2021 annual report boasts of “changing the way conservatives fight.”

His colleagues include Cleta Mitchell, a lawyer who pushed for Trump to use every means to overturn the election and leads CPI’s “election integrity network,” and other Republicans who have been attacking elections as illegitimate where their candidates lose.

Hutchinson’s testimony may impede Meadows’ future political role, as it exposes him to possible criminal prosecution. But the election-denying movement that he nurtured has not gone away. CPI said it is targeting elections in national battleground states for 2022’s midterms, including Arizona, Georgia, Florida, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.

Trump did not give Meadows a pardon. But in July 2021, Trump’s “Save America” PAC gave CPI $1 million.

Steven Rosenfeld is the editor and chief correspondent of Voting Booth, a project of the Independent Media Institute. He has reported for National Public Radio, Marketplace, and Christian Science Monitor Radio, as well as a wide range of progressive publications including Salon, AlterNet, The American Prospect, and many others.

Tina Peters

YouTube Screenshot

A right-wing conspiracy theorist who was indicted in March on criminal charges of tampering with voting machines to try to prove former President Donald Trump's lies of a stolen 2020 presidential election on Tuesday lost the Republican primary to run for secretary of state of Colorado, the person who oversees its elections.

With 95 percent of the vote counted, Tina Peters, the clerk and recorder of Mesa County, Colorado, was in third place, trailing the winner, fellow Republican Pam Anderson, 43.2 percent to 28.3 percent.

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