The House select committee delivered impressive findings on the Jan. 6 riots, adding to its historic vote to bring four serious felony charges against former President Donald Trump to the Justice Department.
It is a sad but essential duty. Regardless of the politics, no American should be delighted at the prospect of our highest office becoming a gateway to criminal courts and possibly prisons. But the Constitution says so. The founders had no illusions about human nature.
If a deliberate plan to invalidate an election and overthrow our government is not worth prosecuting, nothing will.
The report detailed how Trump was the “central reason” for the attack on the Capitol and Capitol that “many others followed suit.” Importantly, it doesn’t stop there. It also makes specific recommendations to protect our country from being put in this danger again.
How seriously Congress takes the recommendations will depend on Republicans who will soon control the House of Representatives. It’s time for them to stop courting Trump and stand up for our country. With power comes responsibility. May it make a difference.
The most important of these recommendations has already been implemented. A massive appropriations bill approved by Congress embodies reforms to the 1887 electoral counting law. It is clear that the responsibility of the vice president to preside over the counting of electoral votes is limited to the ministerial level, and he has no right to refuse. It requires one fifth of each house to challenge a state’s electors, rather than just one member per person. It barred the legislature from choosing electors after Election Day, as Trump tried to get several to do it, and it established an expedited process to hear legal challenges before a three-judge panel.
Congress should create a system to enforce the Civil War-inspired 14th Amendment clause that bars anyone who joins an insurrection after taking an oath to support the Constitution from holding federal office, the report said.
The report refers to House Unanimous Resolution No. 93, sponsored by the House of Representatives. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D- Weston. The legislation declared that anyone involved in the Jan. 6 violence or otherwise tried to prevent electors from counting votes was in violation of the rule, but did not say who would enforce it. Logically, the federal courts could; the committee’s report would be persuasive evidence. HCR 93 was launched on November 1st and has not been heard of yet. Its fate is another measure of incoming Republican leadership.
The report also recommends tougher criminal penalties for threatening the peaceful transfer of power or the safety of election workers, clarifies the House’s power to enforce subpoenas, and elevates the Jan. 6 election count to the same “special national security” every four months. Events” as an inaugural address or State of the Union address, heightened oversight of Capitol Police, close attention to media company policies that “radicalize consumers,” and “discussion” of the risks of a future president trying to invoke the 1807 Insurrection Act to stay in power , as the leader of the extremist Pledge Keepers urged Trump to do the same.
Trump is out of office – he has to stay there – so he cannot be impeached again. It is necessary to put him on trial to complete the historical record, to stop any future president from trying to make himself a dictator, and to prove that no one is above the law.
At least 964 more people have been charged with crimes related to the January 6, 2021 Capitol insurrection, and nearly 500 have been convicted or pleaded guilty.
Abraham Lincoln lamented the need to execute Confederate deserters during the Civil War, asking rhetorically, “I must shoot a simple boy who deserts, but I must never touch a hair of a cunning demagogue who seduces him into deserting.” ?”
Today’s cunning demagogue is Donald J. Trump.
The conviction of aiding insurrection, the most serious charge, should also disqualify him from office under the Fourteenth Amendment and clear the way for Republicans to nominate a presidential candidate in 2024 who does not require a bail bond.
No one should expect a SWAT team to raid Mar-a-Lago. Whether to prosecute Trump, his adviser John Eastman and others named in the report is a decision entirely for the Justice Department, which should determine its own case.
It would certainly be better if Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer wanted the investigation to be conducted by an independent bipartisan committee. But Republican leaders have killed that, so they are in no position to discredit the select committee’s work.
The nation would like to thank every member of the committee, especially outgoing Republican members Liz Cheney and Adam Kinsinger. They were spurned in their party for their patriotism, but they were true to the words of another Republican president, Rutherford B. Hayes: “Whoever serves his country best , who will serve his party best.”
Another retiring committee member was Rep. Stephanie Murphy of Orlando, and her farewell address could not have been more valuable.
This is the first time a congressional investigation has led to a criminal handover of a former president. Trump will be the first to be charged. Richard Nixon’s crimes at Watergate did not extend to trying to overthrow the government.
Trump himself confirmed in his recent Truth Social post that this is what he thought – and still does – calling for an “termination” of anything standing in the way of his regaining power, including the Constitution. His state of mind before, during and after January 6, 2021 is flat. U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland should do something about it, too.
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