On Wednesday morning, former acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller and former acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen appeared before the House Oversight Committee to discuss events connected to the Jan. 6 insurrection and assault on the Capitol. In terms of actual facts about the events of that day, the hearing generated little that wasn’t already known. But as a display of the willingness of Republicans to erase history that is only four months gone, it was a showcase.
Over the course of questioning, Republicans did their best not just to paper over obvious delays in response by Miller and others in authorizing the use of the D.C. National Guard, but also slapped coat after coat of happy paint onto the actual events of Jan. 6. What happened at the Capitol was absolutely not an insurrection, insisted Georgia Rep. Andrew Clyde, who said the only insurrection in America was “the Russia investigation” and said of the video of the insurrection, that if it hadn’t been labeled by the media, you “would actually think it was a normal tourist visit.” Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs scoffed at the idea that anything out of the ordinary had occurred, saying the worst that happened was “disorderly conduct” in a federal building.
But none may have gone so far as Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar, who declared that not only was it ridiculous to call what happened on Jan. 6 an insurrection, just investigating the events constituted “harassing peaceful patriots.” Gosar then went on to decry the “execution” of Q-Anon supporter Ashli Babbitt who, he declared, was unarmed and “wrapped in the American flag.” In this case, the American flag is apparently a blue banner bearing the word “Trump.”
Georgia Rep. Jody Hice backed up Gosar by saying, “It was Trump supporters who lost their lives that day, not Trump supporters who were taking the lives of others,” though apparently Hice forgot that the death of 34-year-old Rosanne Boyland came when she was crushed under the feet of her fellow Trump supporters. None of them wanted to discuss the Capitol police who committed suicide two days after the event.
Overall, Republicans made it clear they were there to show that Jan. 6 was simply a peaceful protest carried out by patriotic Americans who were hugging and kissing police, and also not inspired by the morning rally because people planned weeks in advance to bring guns and bombs to that event. But most importantly, none of it was influenced in any way by Donald Trump. Unless it was good. And then it was.
Republicans also spent some time claiming that the people who battered their way into the Capitol building were not really Trump supporters, and then made sure to get in claims that the rally and speeches that morning weren’t connected to the insurgency, because there was evidence that people had planned violent action weeks earlier. In other words, they brought in every excuse to show that Trump wasn’t to blame—even when those excuses were contradictory.
In the midst of all this, there actually was some testimony —of a sort—from Miller and Rosen. Though that testimony was often far from informative.
In the written version of his opening statement, Miller included this line to describe his beliefs about what happened on Jan. 6 which connected events in the Capitol building to the speech given that morning by Donald Trump.
“I stand by my prior observation that I personally believe his comments encouraged the protesters that day,”
However, when it came time for Miller to actually read the statement, he dropped any mention of Trump contributing to the action of the peaceful, patriotic Americans who smashed their way into the Capitol after battering police and spraying them with bear spray. When Miller was asked about it, it appeared that he had … reassessed his position. Since he turned in his statement. Last night.
This led to a frustrated exchange between Miller and Democratic Rep. Stephen Lynch.
However, that’s not to say that Miller’s reassessment didn’t turn up a real villain behind the insurgency. According to Miller, he couldn’t do a thing to protect the Capitol because the media had made “irresponsible commentary” about a “military coup.” Except, what the media was actually reporting were the very real calls from Trump supporters like disgraced former Gen. Michael Flynn who, as reported in The Military Times, called on Trump to suspend the Constitution and call in the military to conduct a second election.
So, Miller couldn’t send the National Guard to protect the Capitol, because the media was accurately reporting a plan put forward by someone who had presented that plan to Trump, in the White House, in a meeting that included Trump attorney Sidney Powell.
In Miller terms, “irresponsible commentary” would be reporting the facts. But then … you could kind of get that from Miller’s testimony, which was filled with enough holes to start a Swiss cheese factory.
When Miller says that the media was generating fears that Trump would call for martial law, what he really means is that the media was accurately reporting on a scheme that was under consideration at the White House by Trump, his legal team, and his top advisers. If Miller wants to blame his inability to respond promptly on fears of martial law, that blame falls solidly on Trump.
Miller also tried to make a point of saying that Trump wasn’t responsible for the delays in deploying the National Guard on Jan. 6, because Trump never even called him on Jan. 6 … which may not quite be as exonerating as Miller believes. After all, Miller did talk to Pence. Why didn’t he talk to Trump that day?
As far as Rosen, there was an understandable interest in his connection to a scheme that would have seen Rosen replaced by DOJ attorney Jeffrey Clark, who had already met with Trump to ensure him that—as soon as Clark was installed as AG—he would halt the vote count, sue the states, and see that Trump remained on the throne. On this subject, Rosen would admit only that he had a White House meeting with Trump on Jan. 3, but would not give any details, or even the subject, of that meeting.
Asked if Trump urged him to reverse the election results, Rosen told the committee that he wouldn’t answer, and complained that he came there under an agreement to discuss only certain topics. Still, Democrats made multiple attempts to come at the questions from different angles that allowed chipping off a precious few facts. While Rosen claimed the Jan. 3 meeting “was not about Jan. 6,” he would not say if Jan. 6 was mentioned at the meeting, or if Trump had tried to replace him as attorney general.
Rosen would also not answer a direct question about whether Trump asked him to overturn the 2020 election. Or questions about whether Trump asked him to take any action that would advance claims of election fraud. In each case, Rosen retreated behind what he claimed were “ground rules” about the topics he was willing to discuss.
To say those moments led to considerable frustration is underselling it.
However, Rosen also refused to answer some Republican questions about Jan. 6 because he maintained that there were still DOJ investigations underway and arrests still coming. Which wasn’t what Republicans, and in particular Gosar, wanted to hear.
But if the questioning of Rosen was frustrating, dealing with Miller often became downright infuriating, especially as he threw up one excuse after another to dismiss an extended delay in actually deploying the Guard.
While Democrats tried to wrangle anything like a fact from Miller and Rosen, Republicans clearly had today down as the day when they would complete the turn from being embarrassed about Jan. 6, to being proud of those events.
Overall, not only did Miller and Rosen refuse to answer enough questions to warrant further action to collect their full and truthful testimony, Miller made multiple statements that directly contradicted those of D.C. National Guard commander Major General William Walker. Getting Walker and Miller on the same stage on the same day to thrash out the actual timeline of events seems mandatory.
Somewhere in there, Miller stated that there was no evidence of widespread election fraud. Not that anyone was listening.
From Daily Kos at Read More. This article is republished from DailyKos under an open content license. Read the original article at DailyKos.