Finally: The January 6 Committee hearings kick off this week. Details inside.

This week the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol will commence its public hearings on Thursday, June 9 at 8 p.m. ET beginning what will be a month-long presentation of evidence that congressional investigators have compiled through extensive interviews with key witnesses to the violent insurrection incited by former President Donald Trump.

Hearings will be televised and streamed online and will feature live witness testimony, new and unseen video footage, and previously-recorded interviews with members of Trump’s innermost circle and reportedly, members of his family including his daughter Ivanka Trump, son-in-law-turned-White House adviser, Jared Kushner, and others.

On the path to this moment, investigators have amassed over 125,000 pages of records and hundreds of hours of deposition. Many records were obtained voluntarily, while others were only secured after hard-fought but critically victorious legal battles against Trump and his entourage of lawyers, campaign and administration staff, so-called “alternate electors,” and other allies like right-wing conspiracy theory peddlers and members of extremist hate groups like the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers.

Committee investigator, constitutional scholar, and Representative Jamie Raskin, a Maryland Democrat, described the probe’s findings to this Daily Kos reporter recently:

“This was a coup that was orchestrated by the president against the vice president and against the Congress,” he said.

“The insurrection is only comprehensible when you understand that it was unleashed as a way to assist this political coup, this inside political coup. Donald Trump and his entourage had been looking for ways to overthrow the 2020 presidential election results for months.”

RELATED STORY: Tick-tock: A timeline of the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol

The hearings begin June 9 at 8 p.m. ET. The next hearings will be held at 10 a.m. on June 13th, 15th, 16th, and 21st. The final anticipated session will unfold on June 23rd at 8 p.m. ET. Daily Kos will offer up-to-the-minute coverage of each hearing on its front page as well as on Twitter.

For the first hearing, the violence that exploded at the U.S. Capitol on January 6 will be put into whip-sharp relief as the committee is expected to introduce the broad strokes of a plot that its members say was orchestrated by the former president to stop the nation’s transfer of power after he lost the popular and Electoral College vote to Joe Biden in 2020.

Other hearings will zero in on how that plot was navigated including through the use of bogus electors in key battleground states. It is expected that the committee will explore the nuances behind the concerted pressure campaign foisted on then-Vice President Mike Pence to stop the counting of votes by Congress on Jan. 6 despite a lack of constitutional authority to do so.

On Jan. 6, many in the crowd hoisted banners and flags identifying membership or support for known extremist groups and movements like the anti-government, white supremacy drenched militia movement known as Three Percenters. 

Trump’s private conduct in the White House on the day of the insurrection, which reportedly included him vocalizing support for those clamoring to “Hang Mike Pence,” will also come under the magnifying glass.

RELATED STORY: Jan. 6 Committee: During Capitol attack, Trump reportedly approved of Hang Mike Pence chants

As a result of the Jan. 6 attack, five people died. Hundreds of police officers were assaulted. More than $1 million in damages were inflicted to the Capitol building alone. The committee, as it has made clear since its inception, does not have the power to prosecute anyone, It only has the power to investigate and legislate.

A final report with legislative recommendations will be issued this September.

What those recommendations will look like exactly is uncertain for now, but the committee has said repeatedly over the last 11 months that its plan is to beef up all available legislative firewalls against would-be usurpers of the nation’s peaceful, democratic process.

Important to note is that a criminal referral of Trump by the committee to the Department of Justice has not been ruled out as of yet.

The department has slogged through its own Jan. 6 investigation for more than a year, arresting over 800 people for a sprawling number of crimes including seditious conspiracy. It has also opened up a number of grand juries—special or otherwise—to weigh indictments for key Trump-tethered figures.

The DOJ recently refused to indict Trump’s former chief of staff Mark Meadows and aide Dan Scavino for contempt of congress following their respective defiance of initial subpoenas. The decision was announced late Friday and left committee chairman Bennie Thompson and vice-chair, Liz Cheney, “puzzled.”

“If the department’s position is that either or both of these men have absolute immunity, from appearing before Congress because of their former positions in the Trump administration, that question is the focus of pending litigation,” Thompson and Cheney said in a June 3 statement.

U.S. prosecutors did, however, indict Steve Bannon, Trump’s short-lived White House strategist as well as Trump’s trade adviser Peter Navarro.

Meadows cooperated in part, giving the committee a plethora of text messages and other correspondence, only some of which has been made public prior to the hearings. Those messages demonstrated how Meadows was at the center of a storm of election fraud conspiracy and legally dubious strategies proposed to keep Trump in office well after his defeat.

Meadows was also the touchstone for an onslaught of panicked presidential allies, who, records have revealed, begged for Trump to quell the violence during a staggering 187-minutes of silence from the Oval Office as the mob raged, lawmakers fled and blood was spilled.

Scavino cooperated with the committee in part, haggling for weeks over executive privilege concerns. Bannon and Navarro, however, flatly refused to cooperate. Bannon’s executive privilege claims started on shaky ground: at the time of the insurrection, he was years removed from Trump’s formal employ though he was still well embedded with the administration.

Navarro was officially-entrenched until the end and though he argues executive privilege should bar his compliance with the select committee, federal prosecutors disagree. Bannon goes to trial in July. Navarro’s next moves will be hashed out in court following his arrest last week.

How his case progresses will warrant close attention since prosecutors have taken the slightly unusual step of asking Navarro to not only produce records first meant for the committee but other specific communications from Trump, in particular. This could signify that Trump is under investigation by the department directly.  

The DOJ has reportedly requested transcripts of the committee’s interviews as well, a resource that could bolster the department’s collection of evidence for any possible ongoing civil or criminal cases.

RELATED STORY: Navarro indicted on two counts of contempt of congress

The witness list for the public hearings is evolving even now, as are the exact details of its presentations.

Members of Pence’s staff including counsel Greg Jacob and aide Marc Short have been invited to testify. So too has Michael Luttig and Luttig is expected to appear.

It was Luttig’s advice, as a former federal judge, that Pence relied on when Pence announced mere minutes before Congress was set to convene on Jan. 6 that he would not and could not “claim the unilateral authority to determine which electoral votes should be counted and which should not.”

Pence Letter Jan 6 2021 by Daily Kos on Scribd

Luttig is considered an expert on the Constitutional process and, crucially, the Electoral Count Act, the very legislation that his former clerk-turned-consigliere for Trump John Eastman sought to unwind when Eastman authored a memo proposing a six-point strategy to overturn the election.

Eastman Memo by Daily Kos

RELATED STORY: New memo offers look into Pence’s preparation for Jan. 6

As for the former vice president, he is not expected to testify.

Short and Jacob’s testimony will be useful to set the scene for the public: Both men were present for a Jan. 4, 2021 meeting when Eastman presented the strategy to have Pence stop the count.

Other possible witnesses include Cassidy Hutchinson, a senior aide to Meadows who sat with the committee privately on multiple occasions. Legal records revealed in April that Hutchinson told investigators Meadows was warned of violence looming over Washington prior to Jan. 6. 

Hutchinson testified too that several lawmakers, including Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio, Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Paul Gosar of Arizona, Mo Brooks, of Alabama and Matt Gaetz of Florida, among others were integral forces n the public and private pushes to advance the unconstitutional alternate elector scheme.

Former DOJ officials Jeffrey Rosen or Richard Donoghue may also testify.

Rosen, once the acting attorney general under Trump, told oversight and judiciary committees in both the House and Senate last summer that he was pressured by Trump’s allies at the DOJ—namely, Rosen’s subordinate, Jeffrey Clark—to issue a public statement saying the FBI found evidence of voter fraud in various states. The draft was proposed during a meeting just after Christmas 2020.

Richard Donoghue, Rosen’s deputy, took contemporaneous notes from that call with Trump.

“Just say that the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the R. congressman,” Donoghue wrote of Trump’s remarks.

Notes were taken by Richard Donoghue during a Dec. 27, 2020 call with Trump. 

When the committee’s held its first-ever public hearing last July, it heard visceral testimony from a handful of police officers who fought off the mob for hours.

Several officers injured have only recently made significant gains in their physical recovery efforts, like U.S. Capitol Police Staff Sergeant Aquilino Gonnell.

Still can’t even them out. Scar tissues prevent me from doing some range of motions. Nevertheless it’s Still progress. Three weeks ago I couldn’t do this.

— Staff Sergeant Gonell, Aquilino (@SergeantAqGo) March 25, 2022

Others are still working through the post-traumatic stress.

U.S. Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn, who dealt with a barrage of racial slurs and physical attacks on Jan. 6, has been vocal about the need for officers to receive therapy. A year after the attack, Dunn has kept up that messaging as well as demands for accountability and transparency as he continues to work on the Hill surrounded by the memories of that fateful day.

RELATED STORY: Exclusive: USCP Officer Harry Dunn shares notes, personal artifacts from Jan. 6

January 6 Committee members from left to right Reps. Zoe Lofgren, D-CA, Bennie Thompson, D-MS, and Liz Cheney, R-WY.

As the hearings get underway, there is counterprogramming expected from the committee’s most staunch opponents.

Axios reported an exclusive scoop in advance of the committee hearings that House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy and Republican Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio and Elise Stefanik of New York will lead the counterprogramming efforts publicly. Matt Schlapp, Trump’s onetime political director and now chairman of the powerful Conservative Political Action Committee, is reportedly in charge behind the scenes. 

Jordan, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, is one of Trump’s most loyal lapdogs in Congress. During the former president’s first impeachment inquiry, the congressman used every opportunity during proceedings to throw witness interviews off track or demean their testimony.

When McCarthy nominated Jordan to serve on one of the first iterations of the committee to investigate Jan. 6, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi—per rules of a founding resolution—refused to seat Jordan. The California Democrat also refused to seat another one of McCarthy’s picks, Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana.

Pelosi accepted other Republican nominees put forward by McCarthy but Jordan and Banks had a track record that proved too divisive to be seriously considered. Both legislators had promoted Trump’s claims of election fraud openly and vociferously. Both voted to overturn the results. Both vowed before the committee was even formed, that they would use the opportunity to explore how Democrats were to blame for security lapses on Jan. 6. They also sought to equate the violence of Jan. 6 with racial justice protests that dotted the nation after the police killing of George Floyd. 

Negotiations for the committee stretched for more than a month and included moderate Democrats and Republicans in the process. 

But when Jordan and Banks were skipped over for seats on what would have been a truly bipartisan committee with five Democrats and five Republicans sharing equal subpoena powers, McCarthy abruptly ended all negotiations.

The select committee was formed not long after. This time, its resolution established it would have nine members including seven Democrats and two Republicans. The only two Republicans that would participate on the committee were Cheney and Rep. Adam Kinzinger. Kinzinger is not seeking reelection. 

As for Stefanik, her rapid ascent in the GOP will undoubtedly be underlined this month. Since her effective anointment by GOP Leader McCarthy to replace Liz Cheney as the party’s conference chair, the New York Republican has tirelessly echoed Trump’s cries of “witch hunt” whenever his conduct comes up for review or the events of Jan. 6 are discussed. 

The counterprogramming will largely be a continuation of the meritless arguments and legal theories Trump’s allies have advanced in various court battles where they have sought to evade congressional subpoenas for their records and testimony. McCarthy, Jordan, Brooks, Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona, and Scott Perry of Pennsylvania have all received subpoenas from the select committee. 
Despite many of those same lawmakers admitting publicly to having conversations with Trump at critical times before, during, or after the insurrection, none agreed to come forward, either voluntarily or under force of subpoena. 
McCarthy and the rest will staunchly defend the former president by presenting the easily-debunked argument that the committee was not properly formed and its members, as such, illegally empowered. That is not so, according to the U.S. Supreme Court and lower courts that have ruled, again and again, in favor of the committee’s standing as well as its pursuit of information relevant to its probe.
The select committee has been recognized not only as a valid legislative body but also as a properly formed one thanks to its binding resolution that was afforded the protocols necessary before a final vote in the full House of Representatives was held.
 The House voted last June, 222-190, to establish the select committee. 
Last month, Vox obtained a copy of a strategy memo prepared by the Republican National Committee for its members and operatives to use as the Jan. 6 hearings are underway.
One goal allegedly listed was to push the message that “Democrats are the real election deniers” and that “Trump’s requests” this month to his “surrogates” should shape coverage on friendly media networks. 
Though the endgame for Republicans during the hearings will largely be to deflect and distract, the committee’s sessions will be followed by a long summer with the events of Jan. 6 still in focus: Bannon goes to trial in July to face his contempt charge and members of the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers facing seditious conspiracy charges (and other allegations) are slated to meet jurors in July and September, respectively.  
While Trump and his cohorts are spinning, President Joe Biden is expected to keep somewhat of a distance from the spectacle of the proceedings. 
He waived executive privilege over Trump’s presidential records related to Jan. 6 and on the record has been measured in his response to the select committee’s function and work. Politico reported Sunday that a former official suggested anonymously that Biden’s team would likely reconsider the hands-off approach if the counterprogramming billows out of control. 

At least one Republican,  the former Representative for Virginia, Denver Riggleman, has thrown his support behind the hearings and then some. Riggleman has been an adviser to the committee for several months. 

He told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Sunday that the hearings would be a refreshing and unique change from the typical congressional committee hearing setting where Republicans and Democrats are often locked into partisan bickering and waste valuable time trying to course-correct. 

“There’s not going to be a lot partisan whining and screaming,” Riggleman said. 

Rep. Raskin told Daily Kos in April that he believed the committee hearings would, at the very least, empower voters with “intellectual self-defense against the authoritarian and fascistic policies that have been unleashed in this country.”

Time, which is now running out, will tell. 

Protesters enter the Senate Chamber on Jan. 6 during a joint session to ratify President-elect Joe Biden's 306-232 Electoral College win over President Donald Trump, nearly the same exact margin that Trump had when he won over his opponent in the 2016 election, Hillary Clinton.

Guardian says House Jan. 6 committee to hold six public hearings in June, but is that enough?

The Guardian is reporting that the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol attack is planning to hold six public hearings in June on how Donald Trump and some allies broke the law in their efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. But Rick Wilson, a former top GOP strategist and the co-founder of The Lincoln Project, sounded alarm bells, saying the committee members are not putting enough effort into making their case to the public.

The British newspaper, citing sources familiar with the inquiry, said it had reviewed a draft schedule prepared by the House committee. The first hearing is scheduled for June 9 and the last hearing on June 23 will be televised in prime time.

The Guardian wrote:

We want to paint a picture as clear as possible as to what occurred,” the chairman of the select committee, Congressman Bennie Thompson, recently told reporters. “The public needs to know what to think. We just have to show clearly what happened on January 6.”

The select committee has already alleged that Trump violated multiple federal laws to overturn the 2020 election, including obstructing Congress and defrauding the United States. But the hearings are where the panel intends to show how they reached those conclusions.

According to the draft schedule, the June public hearings will explore Trump’s efforts to overturn the election, starting and ending with prime-time hearings at 8 pm on the 9th and the 23rd. In between, the panel will hold 10 am hearings on the 13th, 15th, 16th and 21st.

The Guardian said the schedule is still subject to change. The two prime-time hearings are scheduled to last between one-and-a-half and two hours, while the four other morning hearings will last between two and two-and-a-half hours.

Each hearing will be led by a select committee member, the sources told the newspaper, but the questioning of witnesses who have been subpoenaed to appear will be primarily conducted by the committee’s top investigative lawyers. The investigators also intend to use flash texts, photos, and videos to illustrate the testimony, the sources said.

The Guardian report added that the panel will lay out how the efforts to overturn the election results unfolded over a 65-day period from the time Trump falsely claimed victory until Jan. 6:

The select committee is expected, for instance, to run through how the Trump White House appeared to coordinate the illegal plan to send fake electors to Congress, the plot to seize voting machines, and the unlawful plan to delay the certification of Biden’s win.

The panel is also expected to chart the reactivation of the Stop the Steal movement by the Trump activist Ali Alexander and associates, and how he applied for a permit to protest near the Capitol on January 6 but never held the “Wild Protest” and instead went up the Capitol steps.

The select committee additionally intends to address the question of intent, such as why Trump deliberately misled the crowd that he would march with them to the Capitol, and why he resisted entreaties to call off the rioters from obstructing the joint session on January 6.

The sources said the current schedule calls for capping off the six hearings with a close examination of video footage of leaders of the extremist Oath Keepers and Proud Boys groups meeting in a parking lot on Jan. 5 and their activities at the Capitol.

The sources said the select committee wants to draw a connection between “Trump’s political plan for January 6 and the militia groups’ violence at the Capitol in what could form evidence that Trump oversaw an unlawful conspiracy.”

Wilson sharply criticized the committee’s plan to only hold six hearings in a Twitter thread:

“SIX HEARINGS? SIX? Are. You. F*cking. Kidding. Me?" before adding, "Does no one understand the ballgame here?"

2/ Does no one understand the ballgame here? The witnesses from the Trump world will filibuster, bullshit, evade and jerk themselves off on live TV for roughly 40% of the hearings. Everyone will have a long statement at the opening.

— Rick Wilson (@TheRickWilson) May 23, 2022

Wilson went on to say: "You have to create a spectacle. You have to make people care. You have to have drama. You have to drag and grind the people who tried to do this so long and so hard their knees bleed. A coup attempt that goes unpunished is a training exercise."

And he warned that should the GOP take control over Congress next year, they will hold months of hearings on Hunter Biden’s laptop, begin impeachment proceedings against President Joe Biden for failing to secure the border, and hold months of “show trials” on Afghanistan or antifa.

4/ I PROMISE you, if the GOP was in charge of this, the hearings would NEVER, EVER, EVER stop. cc: @kurtbardella @TaraSetmayer Six hearings means the GOP will try to disrupt them (see Gaetz et al previously) and the Democrats will mumble their objections.

— Rick Wilson (@TheRickWilson) May 23, 2022

Just for comparison’s sake, the Senate Watergate Committee headed by Democratic Sen. Sam Ervin of North Carolina began holding public hearings on May 17, 1973. In all, the committee held 51 days of public hearings, a total of 319 hours, before issuing its final report on June 27, 1974.

Here are highlights of that Senate committee’s hearings:

In May 1974, the House Judiciary Committee began holding formal impeachment hearings against President Richard M. Nixon, and in late July approved three articles of impeachment. Nixon resigned in August 1974 before he could be impeached in a House vote.

Of course, now we probably don’t have that amount of time to hold extended public hearings given the looming midterm elections, but the question is whether the House committee is allowing enough time to make its case to the American public.

Witness: Donald Trump watched the attack on the Capitol from the White House

Jan. 6 Committee vice-chair Liz Cheney publicly disclosed Sunday that a witness cooperating with the insurrection probe has privately testified that during the assault on the Capitol, former President Donald Trump sat by and watched it unfold on television as police were viciously beaten and his supporters overran the building.

This bit of information is something that has been widely suspected by those who have followed the committee’s investigation closely—and even by some who have not. Trump’s silence and inaction for 187 minutes on Jan. 6 were palpable as the riot exploded. But precisely what he was doing, who he spoke to, or what he said in that window remains, for now, a subject of some mystery.

The implications are unprecedented.

Cheney, a Wyoming Republican, divulged the firsthand witness testimony on Face the Nation this past weekend as she fielded questions from host Margaret Brennan about the criminal culpability of Trump’s abject failure to act that day.

Cheney said on Sunday:

“The committee is obviously going to follow the facts wherever they lead. We’ve made tremendous progress. If you think about, for example, what we know now about what the former president was doing on the 6th while the attack was underway. The committee has firsthand testimony that President Trump was sitting in the dining room next to the Oval Office, watching on television as the Capitol was assaulted as the violence occurred. We know that that is clearly a supreme dereliction of duty. One of the things that the committee is looking at from the perspective of our legislative purpose is whether we need enhanced penalties for that kind of dereliction of duty. But we’ve certainly never seen anything like that as a nation before.”

The @January6thCmte has first-hand testimony that former President Trump sat and watched the assault on the Capitol on live TV, rather than taking immediate action to tell his supporters to stand down and leave the Capitol.

— Rep. Liz Cheney (@RepLizCheney) January 2, 2022

During a separate appearance on Sunday with ABC News, Cheney further illuminated the committee’s findings. Cheney said a firsthand witness testified that Ivanka Trump, the former president’s daughter and then senior adviser, pleaded with Trump at least twice to do something to quell the violence.

Ivanka’s pleas have been reported elsewhere before. In Peril, a book on the Trump administration by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, the Washington Post reporters said that Ivanka tried to get Trump to step in no less than three times on Jan. 6.

“Let this thing go. Let it go,” Ivanka reportedly said.

“We know, as he was sitting there in the dining room next to the Oval Office, members of his staff were pleading with him to go on television, to tell people to stop,” Cheney said on ABC. “We know [House GOP] Leader [Kevin] McCarthy was pleading with him to do that.”

McCarthy has admitted openly to calling Trump on Jan. 6. During the former president’s second impeachment—this time for incitement of insurrection— Republican Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington shared McCarthy’s accounting of his tense phone call with Trump. McCarthy pleaded with the president to issue a statement that could calm the mob, and Trump effectively refused, insisting it wasn’t his supporters responsible for the melee but antifa.

McCarthy has been asked to voluntarily comply with the committee’s requests for his records and testimony. A threat of a formal subpoena looms. So far, just two other lawmakers have been hit with a voluntary compliance request, including Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio and Scott Perry of Pennsylvania. Neither Jordan nor Perry have said they will comply, queuing up a likely bitter legal showdown between Trump crony legislators and the probe. Committee chair Bennie Thompson has indicated uncertainty over the panel’s power to subpoena fellow legislators.

Representatives for Jordan and Perry have not returned multiple requests for comment.

Appearing on Meet the Press Sunday, Thompson also reiterated the committee’s findings—and concerns—about the 187 minutes that Trump went silent.

Just before Christmas, the Mississippi Democrat told The Washington Post that the select committee believes, based on the records, evidence, and testimony it has obtained thus far, that Trump may have recorded several videos on Jan. 6 addressing his supporters before finally releasing a bizarre one-minute clip.

He repeated lies about the election results in the video and told the rioters, “Go home. We love you. You’re very special.”

Thompson has said that Trump’s many reshoots of that clip, or one like it, were necessary because he “wouldn’t say the right thing.”

Thompson told Meet the Press this Sunday that the committee has already asked the National Archives to provide investigators with any related videos it might have that have yet to be remitted.

The anniversary of the attack falls this week, and with it, plans are underway on Capitol Hill to hold a solemn ceremony marking the day, including a moment of silence for lives lost. Trump has announced plans to hold a press conference at Mar-a-Lago.

“He’s doing this press conference on the sixth,” Cheney said on Sunday. “If he makes those same claims [of election fraud], he’s doing it with the complete understanding of what those claims have caused in the past.”

The committee’s work meanwhile continues unabated, with public hearings imminent. More than 300 witnesses have already testified, and the committee has obtained reams of documents from cooperative probe targets.

Appearing on CNN on Sunday, Thompson said the committee would determine “whether or not what occurred on Jan. 6 was a comedy of errors or a planned effort on the part of certain individuals.”

Adding to the bevy of witnesses already called, the committee also plans to haul in state and local election officials for testimony. They also will take statements from members of the National Guard. Much confusion and uncertainty still reign over why assistance to the Capitol was so long delayed.

Democracy came perilously close to being lost on Jan. 6, Thompson told CNN.

“Before we just run out with a story we can’t defend, we will get to what we believe is the truth, and that’s the charge that we have as a committee,” he added.

Thompson also urged that if, in the course of its probe, committee members unearth evidence that they think “warrants review or recommendation” to the Justice Department, then they will do just that.

“We’re not looking for it, but if we find it, we’ll absolutely make the referral,” Thompson said.

In an appeal to the Supreme Court, Trump has balked at the committee’s position to disclose evidence of criminal wrongdoing to the Justice Department if necessary. The former president alleges the committee is acting outside the scope of its authority by weighing such referrals and thus has no constitutionally protected purpose.

Lower courts, however, have said the “mere prospect that misconduct might be exposed” in the course of an investigation does not alter the committee’s authority.

Whether the committee issues a criminal referral for Trump or not, Cheney emphasized a profound need for legislative review, at the least.

“I think that there are a number, as the chairman said, of potential criminal statutes at issue here. But I think there’s absolutely no question that it was a dereliction of duty. I think one of the things the committee needs to look at as we’re looking at legislative purpose is whether we need enhanced penalties for that dereliction of duty,” she said.

Even though Trump is out of office, his influence in Washington and elsewhere in the U.S. is still being felt and has shown no sign of slowing down. His messaging about voter fraud, for example, has buoyed the Republican argument against the expansion of voting rights in the U.S.

In a letter to Senate colleagues on Monday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer highlighted this dynamic as the anniversary of the attempted overthrow approaches.

“It was attacked in a naked attempt to derail our Republic’s most sacred tradition: the peaceful transfer of power,” Schumer said.

Considering this and in reflection of a year that found Republicans rebuffing every bid by Democrats to expand voting rights legislatively, Schumer announced that the Senate would debate and later vote on changes to its own filibuster rules by Jan. 17 if Republicans don’t get out of the way.

“The Senate must advance systemic democracy reforms to repair our republic, or else the events of that day will not be an aberration— they will be the new norm. We as Senate Democrats must urge the public in a variety of different ways to impress upon their Senators the importance of acting and reforming the Senate rules if that becomes a prerequisite for action to save our democracy,” Schumer wrote.

Deal struck on Jan. 6 commission, with House vote scheduled next week

After months of foot-dragging and obstruction from Republicans to the forming an independent commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, a bipartisan deal has emerged. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had delegated Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson to work with ranking committee member John Katko of New York to find a solution. One, it should be noted, that has been greeted tepidly by Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

Thompson and Katko have crafted legislation to create a commission modeled after the 9/11 panel. It would have 10 members, half of them appointed by Democratic congressional leaders, who would also appoint the chair. Republicans would appoint the other half, including the vice chair. Critically, if the chair and vice chair agree, the panel would have the power to issue subpoenas. So, problematically, they can veto each other's efforts to subpoena witnesses or documents. On the other hand, the chair is given sole power to get information from federal agencies and to appoint staff.

That, New York University law professor Ryan Goodman tells Greg Sargent at The Washington Post, gives the forces of truth a chance to prevail. "Thanks to powers invested in the Chairperson alone, the Democratically-appointed members would have significant control over the direction of the investigation," Goodman said, helping to prevent Republican appointees from "engaging in mischief." He added that the "Chairperson would be able to move ahead quickly with getting information from the government without needing a vote," saying that the chair can "appoint staff" who would "shape how the investigation and hearings unfold."

The bill specifies that those members cannot be "an officer or employee of an instrumentality of government"—i.e. there can be no currently serving government officials on the panel. They must have "national recognition and significant depth of experience in at least two" areas: previous government service; law enforcement; civil rights, civil liberties, and privacy; experience in the armed forces or intelligence or counterrorism; and a background in cybersecurity or technology or law. A final report, including recommendations for preventing future attacks, would be due at the end of this calendar year.

McCarthy told reporters Friday morning that he hadn't looked at the text yet (he's been too busy installing Trump's toady in leadership to pay attention, I guess), but continues to have concerns about the scope. Namely that "you got to look at the buildup before, and what went on afterward," meaning the BLM and antifa straw men.

The House is voting on the bill next week, along with a supplemental funding bill to beef up Capitol security. It will pass, and should get at least a handful of Republican votes, if not a few dozen, including one from Rep. Liz Cheney, who got a coveted Wall Street Journal quote Friday (take that, Stefanik). "I hope we'll be able to really have the kind of investigation we need about what happened on Jan. 6," Cheney said.

"As I have called for since the days just after the attack, an independent, 9/11-style review is critical for getting answers our [Capitol Police] officers and all Americans deserve," Katko said in a statement announcing the agreement. "This is about facts, not partisan politics." Thompson said in his statement. "I am pleased that after many months of intensive discussion, Ranking Member Katko and I were able to reach a bipartisan agreement. […] Inaction—or just moving on—is simply not an option. The creation of this commission is our way of taking responsibility for protecting the U.S. Capitol."

As of this writing, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell hasn't reacted to the announcement that a deal has been struck, or that the legislation should advance in the House as soon as next week. In the past, he's been critical of the effort, casting it as "partisan" and demanding that the commission also encompass "the full scope of the political violence problem in this country," meaning those BLM and antifa straw men again.

One of the problems with McCarthy and McConnell potential foot-dragging is, of course, whether it would pass in the Senate with the filibuster. The other problem is that the two of them are responsible, along with Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, for appointing half of the commission members. That gives them more opportunity to delay, with the clock ticking on the still-unformed commission's deadline for the end of the year for a report and recommendations.

On the other hand, McConnell has no love for Trump. Here's a pretty much hands-off way for him to damage Trump and to fight the Big Lie. He could make sure that at least some of the five Republican appointees aren't Trumpers. There are plenty of former Republican officials who would relish the opportunity to serve as his proxy.

It's also incumbent on someone in Republican leadership to acknowledge reality, especially as the lunatic fringe of the House Republicans have taken over and are in full denial mode. There was the truly ugly revisionism on display in this week's House Oversight hearing, where Republican Rep. Paul Gosar called even investigating the events of Jan. 6 an assault by the "deep-state" on "law-abiding citizens," and GOP Rep. Andrew Clyde said that day in the Capitol looked like a "normal tourist visit." The nation's dumbest man (yes, dumber than Sen. Ron Johnson) Rep. Louie Gohmert took to the floor Friday to flat-out lie about the events of that day.

Here's McConnell's chance to counter what's happening in his party in the House, including the ouster of Cheney in deference to Trump and the Big Lie. After Trump's acquittal on his second impeachment, McConnell excoriated Trump. He said that Trump was "practically and morally responsible" for the attack. "This was an intensifying crescendo of conspiracy theories orchestrated by an outgoing president who seemed determined to either overturn the voters' decision or else torch our institutions on the way out," McConnell said. "A mob was assaulting the Capitol in his name," he said. "These criminals were carrying his banners, hanging his flags and screaming their loyalty to him."

Having said all that, it's now largely going to be up to McConnell to do something about it.

Eric Swalwell files second major lawsuit against Trump, allies for inciting deadly Capitol siege

Rep. Eric Swalwell filed a new lawsuit Friday in DC's federal District Court against Donald Trump and his closest allies for inspiring the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol that claimed five lives and injured more than 100 police officers. The second federal suit of its kind, it accuses Trump, Don Jr., Rudy Giuliani, and GOP Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama of violating federal civil rights and anti-terrorism laws by inciting the riot, aiding the rioters, and inflicting lasting emotional harms on members of Congress, according to CNN.

Last month, Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi filed a lawsuit against Trump, Giuliani, and the right-wing extremist groups the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys. Both lawsuits cite violations of a Reconstruction-era law designed to insulate Black Americans from intimidation by white supremacists. 

Swalwell, who was in the House chamber on Jan. 6 and later served as an impeachment manager, charges that the defendants incited the Capitol attack through their repeated claims that the election was stolen, their urging of supporters to attend the rally, and their specific encouragement of rally attendees to march to the Capitol and commit violence.

"Trump directly incited the violence at the Capitol that followed and then watched approvingly as the building was overrun," the lawsuit said. "The horrific events of January 6 were a direct and foreseeable consequence of the Defendants' unlawful actions. As such, the Defendants are responsible for the injury and destruction that followed."

Trump told rally attendees they must "show strength" and "fight like hell" and then directed them to "walk down Pennsylvania Avenue," while falsely telling his supporters that he would march with them to the Capitol.

Brooks told rally goers, "Today is the day American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass."

Giuliani famously declared, "Let's have trial by combat!"—a reference to settling disputes through a personal battle between two opposing sides.

Naturally, Don Jr. offered rally goers the most dismal slogan of them all, but also literally threatened anyone who failed to act. "You can be a hero, or you can be a zero," he said at the rally. "If you're gonna be the zero, and not the hero, we're coming for you, and we're gonna have a good time doing it." Nice touch.

The lawsuit alleges, "The Defendants, in short, convinced the mob that something was occurring that—if actually true—might indeed justify violence, and then sent that mob to the Capitol with violence-laced calls for immediate action."

The defendants are all named in their personal capacities, forcing them to hire private attorneys and depriving them of hiding behind their public offices. As CNN notes, if either lawsuit proceeds, Trump and his allies would have to go through the discovery process and be subject to depositions—all of which could turn up fresh evidence about their personal involvement in the event.