'What a show it was!' Pelosi's Jan. 6 committee loved by media

Joe Biden shakes hands with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi after delivering his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress, Tuesday, March 1, 2022, in the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. (Official White House photo by Adam Schultz)
Joe Biden shakes hands with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi after delivering his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress, Tuesday, March 1, 2022, in the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. (Official White House photo by Adam Schultz)

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s partisan Jan. 6 committee assigned to “investigate” the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol put on a hastily assembled and urgent show this week, revealing a witness who purported that President Trump literally tried to commandeer the presidential limousine on that day to go to the Capitol.

The truthfulness of that testimony already has been challenged by no less than the Secret Service officers involved, and is doubted because the witness was relaying only hearsay – she hadn’t actually been a witness to anything.

But real purpose of the hearing now has been revealed, the Washington Examiner’s Byron York wrote.

He pointed out that the testimony of Pelosi’s latest witness “was not subject to the kind of basic scrutiny that witnesses receive in a normal congressional investigation.”

“In a normal investigation, there is an opposition party to ask questions. There is an opposition party to note when the majority is trying to hide something. There is an opposition party to compare what one witness has said to what another witness has said. There is, in other words, an adversarial system that is essential to fact-finding. And the Jan. 6 committee, with all its members, including two Republicans appointed by Pelosi and all in lockstep on the questions at hand, does not have that essential system.”

He said, “But no matter. Many in the press simply loved the show. And what a show it was! Credulous reporters swooned at the committee’s presentation – so unlike other, boring committee hearings. They knew they were being manipulated – and they liked it.”

York wrote, “Axios’s Mike Allen noted that the committee’s media consultant, former ABC News President James Goldston, ‘has been producing each hearing as if it were a ’20/20′ episode — raw enough to be credible, but scripted enough to sell the story in the allotted time.’ Allen marveled at the committee’s ”deep teases,’ as TV news calls it — hinting at future testimony and leaving the audience wanting more. Yesterday’s barnburner ended with a cliffhanger.’ So far, Allen concluded, the committee has ‘orchestrated a riveting six episodes — with the season finale still to come.'”

York’s conclusion?

“Well, how about that. By the way, the ‘cliffhanger’ to which Allen referred was Cheney’s tease about possible witness tampering. Moments before the hearing ended, Cheney read a couple of anonymous quotes that suggested somebody in Trumpworld had tried to intimidate witnesses. It was a self-evidently serious allegation. But there were no identities, no details, no context, no story. Cheney then signed off with a tease saying, in effect, that everyone should tune in for the next exciting episode.

“A cliffhanger! A barnburner! What a show!” he said.

But really, he said, “Jan. 6 was a serious event. The actions of Trump, along with the actions of the portion of the crowd that attacked the Capitol — the rioters — deserve serious, balanced scrutiny. They’re not getting it from the one-sided Jan. 6 committee.”

It was commentator Greta Van Susteren who revealed one of the key telling points of this week’s hearing: Trump prosecutor Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., hugging the witness.

Van Sustern suggested that probably should not have happened if Cheney wanted to maintain any semblance of impartiality or fairness:

York, whose publication also posted a number of editorials bashing Trump, apparently based on the witness accusations and disregarding the evidence that those statements were lies, called the Democrats’ “Jan. 6 show” “deeply flawed.”

It’s “greatest hit” on Tuesday, he said, revealed Pelosi’s “greatest weakness.”

“Democrats sold the hearing as an urgent matter. It had not been on the schedule, but committee leaders hastily announced the surprise session ‘to present recently obtained evidence.’ They did not say what that ‘recently obtained’ evidence was. We still don’t know for sure. The hearing featured Cassidy Hutchinson, a former top aide to White House chief of staff Mark Meadows who, as committee Vice Chairwoman Liz Cheney (R-WY) said, had ‘already sat for four videotaped interviews with committee investigators.'”

Her claims were that Trump “sought to lead” an “armed mob to the Capitol,” as the Washington Post wrote, and that Trump tried to commandeer the presidential limo.

That claim already has been debunked by Secret Service officers themselves.

York opined that Trump exercised “atrocious” judgment on that day.

“So what did Hutchinson add to that picture?” he wondered.

Actually, a number of detailed claims, including that a deputy chief of staff at the White House, Tony Ornato, had reported the crowd was armed.

And she claimed Trump said, “They’re not here to hurt me,” and that they should be allowed at his rally.

“What some observers called the ‘smoking gun’ of the hearing was this: Trump, Hutchinson testified, knew the crowd was armed and still wanted them to come to his rally. He wanted the Secret Service to shut down the magnetometers and just let everybody in. The president said ‘something to the effect of take the effing mags away,’ Hutchinson testified. ‘They’re not here to hurt me. Let them in. Let my people in. They can march to the Capitol after the rallies are over. They can march from — they can march from the Ellipse. Take the effing mags away. Then they can march to the Capitol.'”

But, he said, why Trump wanted crowds in was simply “Trumpian.”

“He wanted the crowd to be bigger. The rally space wasn’t full that morning. Trump — and this was classic Trump — worried that photos would show he had not attracted a sellout crowd. So he ordered agents to let everybody in.”

He pointed out the crowd might have been armed with skateboards and flagpoles, but police records show few had weapons.

“As we know, no rioter discharged a firearm at any time during the riot, even when the hand-to-hand combat, with rioters attacking the police, became very intense. Many of the weapons in the weapons charges were improvised, which does not suggest that those rioters came intent on armed violence,” he wrote.

And York noted the evidence the claims were staged for show.

“A Secret Service spokesperson told Alexander that agents who were inside Trump’s SUV are ‘available to testify under oath, responding to [Hutchinson’s] new allegations.’ Her new allegations? Remember that Hutchinson, by Cheney’s account, had spoken to the committee four times before Tuesday. Did she just now come up with the dramatic story of Trump trying to wrest the wheel of the SUV from the Secret Service? Did she withhold it until now?”

Further, Engel already had spoken to the committee, a fact that the committee ignored this week.

The Examiner, in an unsigned editorial, appeared to accept the witness’s words at face value, and didn’t acknowledge they might be wrong.

“Former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson’s Tuesday testimony ought to ring the death knell for former President Donald Trump’s political career. Trump is unfit to be anywhere near power ever again,” the writing claimed.

In yet another comment on the hearing, senior columnist Timothy Carney wrote, “The Jan. 6 commission and the news media, for some reason, decided to lean on hearsay instead of firsthand accounts that show clearly how unfit former President Donald Trump is for office.”

He described the political show staged this week as “speculations upon speculations.”

But he said Republicans should, in fact, “work to ensure Trump is not their nominee in 2024.”

Such advisories appear to be the goal of Pelosi’s committee, which has openly complained that they don’t like that possibility that Trump could be a nominee, or victorious candidate, in 2024.

In fact, the goal of Pelosi’s two failed impeach-and-remove attempts against Trump, one while he was in office and another after he left, appeared to be to disqualify him from being a candidate again.

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