An expert on the Constitution is warning that Democrats in Congress are attempting to “weaponize” the Jan. 6 events at the U.S. Capitol in order to advance their political agenda.
Jonathan Turley, the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University, wrote online about the dispute after it was reported that Democrats are preparing a “tsunami” of court demands for information from “hundreds of targets.”
On that day, thousands of supporters of President Trump rallied in Washington, then hundreds marched to the Capitol, where Congress was in the process of adopting the 2020 presidential election results giving the White House to Joe Biden. Dozens got violent, vandalizing various rooms.
The election results were suspect, and while lawsuits challenging them were rejected, sometimes by judges who didn’t even review the evidence, they remain under challenge in several states where audits are being considered or are underway.
What is without dispute is that sometimes local or state elections officials arbitrarily changed state law to accommodate the voting procedures demanded by Democrats, even though the Constitution allows only state lawmakers to do that.
Further, there’s little doubt there was outside influence on the results since leftist Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook megawealth handed over $350 million to mostly leftist local election officials for them to “run” their operations.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi later appointed a partisan congressional team to “investigate” the events that day, which included vandalism but to date, no charges of conspiracy or insurrection, as Democrats repeatedly have alleged.
The committee now is demanding information about “hundreds of targets [to] include not only GOP members of Congress but demands for secrecy from these companies on the identity of targets,” Turley explained.
“Just two months ago, the Democrats denounced such secret orders by the Justice Department as a threat to our civil liberties,” he pointed out.
The “exhaustive list” of targets was confirmed by Rep. Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat who did not reveal the targets.
The “subpoena storm” apparently includes House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, who have already been told to preserve their phone records to be surrendered to the committee, he reported.
“The Democrats’ move to investigate members of the opposing party is a dangerous precedent in an institution that has always protected the privacy and confidentiality of phone and office records,” Turley explained.
And it was only weeks back when House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff, D-Calif., was on television denouncing one of “the most dangerous assaults on our democracy” — “meaning the Trump administration’s search of phone log information related to Schiff and Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., while looking for leakers. For his part, Swalwell publicly fretted about this ‘fragile time for our democracy’ if members could have their phone logs seized through secret surveillance orders issued to telephone companies,” he said.
Now, however, Thompson apparently is doing what his fellow Democrats condemned, he said.
“Reports indicate that among the ‘hundreds’ will be Trump family members and leading Republicans. The House has decided to subpoena them all and let God (and the courts) sort them out,” he wrote.
And he noted a few years ago, Schiff unleashed a “secret surveillance order” that not only demanded information but banned companies from notifying targets, in apparent violation of federal law.
“It is not clear that Congress has such enforcement authority for secret subpoenas. What’s more, the Democratic House Judiciary Chairman denounced such secrecy demands just last month, saying ‘they deny American citizens, companies, and institutions their basic day in court and, instead, they gather their evidence entirely in secret,'” he said.
The Department of Justice reportedly has not found evidence of any “planned insurrection” that day, and almost all of the 570 people charged face only minor counts of trespassing and the like.
Turley said Congress has authority to “acquire records,” but there needs to be a legislative purpose, and it appears now that “Democratic leaders, it seems, clearly do not like the fact that the FBI did not establish a conspiracy to overthrow the country or identify co-conspirators among their Republican colleagues.”
Such “fishing expeditions” are dangerous because it means the majority is using the legal processes “to try to embarrass or label members of the minority.”
“It would seem the point here is to establish that key figures of the opposing party are un-American or ‘insurrectionists,'” Turley wrote, “Indeed, Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) even sought to censure members who refused to call the riot an ‘insurrection.'”
While the events of that day were wrong, he said, “That is no license to weaponize a national tragedy for political purposes.”
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