White Guys Pleading the Fifth
The J7 Committee — not a typo: the election is over, now what?
America presumably is anxious to receive the report from the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the Capitol except no one has committed to a release date except to say, “by the end of the year.”
The January 6 Committee’s lease on Congressional reckoning space expires December 31. Between then and now Congress has only two weeks left before its term expires. Committee members Cheney, Kitzinger, Luria and Murphy will be leaving Congress. There is no allocation for funding the Committee in the new budget which places in jeopardy Committee member Raskin’s proposal for a ‘House subcommittee to investigate criminal referrals,’ emanating from the Committee’s work. (1)
The appointment by AG Merrick Garland of a “Special Counsel” to investigate the possibility of criminal charges based on DOJ’s investigation of January 6 including testimony and documents culled from the J6 Committee’s investigation further obscures the plotting of January 6 from public view. Already legal pundits are ‘writing off’ deliberation of January 6, speaking to the Mar-a-Lago documents theft as potentially indictment-ready by the new year.
This means that in effect all that America may learn about accountability for J6 will come from the civil trials brought by the Capitol Police. A few nuggets may surface from the Oath Keepers’ insurrection trial and Stewart Rhodes, its leader, but this would require crawling over Rhodes’ perverted obfuscations. During his defense which ended last week, Rhodes sounded as if he dropped down January 6 from a different planet, and he couldn’t control the earthlings. (2)
When asked in March of 2021 what I thought about the impending public hearings by the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the Capitol I was skeptical:
Why would I waste time watching white men plead the fifth?
In retrospect, I wasn’t far off: save for Cassidy Hutchinson, the election guy from Nevada, the Capitol Police, and a few others, ‘white guys pleading the fifth,’ was pretty much what America got from the hearings. The brave souls who euphemistically ‘came forward,’ well, like some Committee members, are now removed from public space: Nevada voters sacked the election guy; Ms. Hutchinson still requires a security detail; and the DC Police are having a helluva’ time finding recruits.
The razor wire around the US Capitol is still in place.
An inopportune leak from the J6 Committee staff shortly before the election revealed discord — trouble in ‘reckoning paradise’ — and displeasure with the behind the scenes conduct of Vice Chair Liz Cheney.
Was the Vice Chair inappropriately focused on indicting Trump as opposed to appropriately weighing both participants in the attack — the attackers and the defenders? Where were the intelligence reports? Weren’t the attending groups being surveilled? Why did these efforts fail to contain the violence? Where was Antifa, the hydra headed monster conjured up by the Proud Boys?
So many rabbit holes, so little time.
Consider America did witness ‘white guys pleading the fifth.’
Now what, or rather, so what?
America is left with two channeling questions:
Will the ‘public’ and presumably this means the DC power purveyors view the January 6 Committee Report as a ‘colossal waste of time’? (3)
Has America’s tolerance of secrecy been tested and how does America move forward with a commitment to transparency? And who will be responsible? The Warren Commission Report, the 9–11 Commission Report, the Panama Papers Report: enough to make a librarian blush; America doesn’t know what came of these reports beyond the impressive volume of paper.
And this: the singular missing channeling question which IMO provides the ‘plausible denial’ sub-text, eg. “will we ever know,” is where is the Constitution, the instrument set up to defend? We witnessed “above the law” transgression… and we heard “fifth” sanctimoniously mumbled countless times… where does “upholding the Constitution” weigh in?
Behind a glass case on 701 Constitution Avenue, hard by the FBI building?
For the present, Cheney marches away, Benny Thomas snaps shut his briefcase, Raskin and Lofgren, senior lawyers and veterans of impeachment proceedings, entertain the “historical moment.”
For the America post-J6, the implications of the J6 Committee’s work, politically speaking are cloudy. The report will be released and will provide Ari Melber with best seller ‘author’ status.
For the rest of us, what we know is who will not be reading the report: forty percent of a historic and failed political party. The ‘forty percent’ who de facto sustain the insurrection attempt that the election of 2020 was … is … whatever… a fraud.
The select few who “get it:” Giuliani’s darlings. Stone’s cadres. Rhodes’ ‘Oathies.’
Let Trump skirt house arrest with a third-party attempt, we have to get back to work.
1–November 18, interview with Chris Hayes, “All In with Chirs Hayes,” MSNBC.
2-Update, November 29: Stewart Rhodes and one other Oath Keeper were found guilty of three counts of seditious conspiracy by a Federal grand jury.
“The jury, in Federal District Court in Washington foud three other defendants in the case not guilty of sedition and acquitted Mr. Rhodes of two seperate conspiracy charges.” Oath Keepers Leader Convicted of Sedition in a Key Jan. 6 Case,” New York Times, November 30.
3–I am sincerely indebted to a friend who shared recently a reflection of the flip side of ‘colossal waste of time:’ that in a ‘real’ sense the J6 Committee public hearings provided America with an image of what accountability could feel like, beyond witnessing the snarky white guys pleading the fifth: “an experience of the sheer freedom of movement and of journey, the exhilaration of exploring a landscape that was ever new, an experience not accessible (to me) in the so-called real world.”